Alright. These are not fairies.
But they are delightful. And they are some of my favorite people.
And looking oh so adorably Fall-ish.
I have a good reason for talking about Fall, even though it is hardly Fall in the Smokies. It still feels like Summer. I found this great DIY from Espoma for a Fall Fairy Garden and it talks about a product I’ve never heard of, but I am definitely going to be using. ShapeCrete – “Plays like clay, works like concrete..” Intrigued? Read on!
“Fairy gardens do better when in an area protected from the elements. When thinking about where to create or place your fairy garden, think about the environmental factors like wind and rain that can ruin the garden. When Laura is done creating her fairy garden, she will place it on her covered porch where it will be protected!
Before we begin, there are a few things to note:
- There is no drainage in this miniature garden, so water lightly and only when the plants need it. Laura suggests using a syringe to get the right amount of water exactly where it’s needed.
- If using shapecrete, it may still be soft after 30 minutes of curing, so don’t put too much weight on it. It will continue to cure for 24 hours.
- This is a seasonal project, so before winter comes find a new home for the plants, either in a greenhouse or indoors, in order to preserve them.
Watch Laura dive into this fun autumn fairy garden! Here is a list of supplies she uses.
Heavy Black Plastic
Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix
Tree Figurines with LED lights
Putka Pods (Look like Miniature Pumpkins)
Autumn Themed Fairy Figurines and Décor
Plants Laura Used:
Tiny Tim Euphorbia
How to Create an Autumn Fairy Garden:
- Line an old suitcase with heavy plastic in order to preserve it and keep the soil in one place.
- Fill with Espoma’s Organic Potting Mix and trim the excess plastic from the container to make it look clean and precise.
- Add plants. Remember to work from back to front adding height and texture to the miniature landscape. Use plants that will stay small, so they don’t outgrow your garden.
- Add tree figurines. If they light up, keep them near the sides so the cords don’t get wet.
- Create a road or pathway for your fairies. Cut photo paper to make a guide where you want the road to go. Mix water with shapecrete and pour between the photo paper. Let dry 30 minutes before removing the paper. It’ll continue to cure for 24 hours.
- Now is the time to set the autumn scene and add in your fairy garden figurines. Laura used putka pods, miniature straw bales, apples in a barrel, a Farmer’s Market stand, a worker and a truck full of pumpkins! Feel free to add some mulch and native soil to give it an authentic field feel.
- Decorate the lid of your suitcase with fall themed embellishments. Laura added a bunting banner in fall colors.
Enjoy your new fairy garden!
Use Espoma’s organic potting mix in your fairy garden.”
We’ve been spending a lot of time in the evening and on weekends creating mini garden accessories for our shoppe. This is fun and relaxing for us, and we would much rather be crafting than all the other things we should be doing.
My mini mushrooms are made of clay, and they start out looking like this. They have to dry for 24 hours.
The next evening, we paint. Red is the most popular, but I love turquoise and I feature turquoise in many of my fairy gardens.
They aren’t spotted… that’s just my kitchen lights 🙂 This coat of paint dries for 24 hours and then comes the next step.
Polka-dots! These little guys are so much fun to make. We sell them in packages of three. Super cute!
I keep saying “we” and I should give some credit to my trusty assistant, who thinks I keep some strange hours.
… And How To Avoid Them
Right Plant – Right Place
This is key. Remember “Right Plant – Right Place” if nothing else! Plants are free spirits. They like different soils and temperatures and varied amounts of light and water. So first you have to consider where you are going to plant or place your mini garden when choosing your plants. Then you need to make sure that the plants you choose will play nicely together. Similar requirements for light and water are essential, especially in a container.
You Can’t Fool Mother Nature
Your local garden center is going to display sweet baby plants and herbs in adorable tiny pots and call them “Fairy Garden Plants.” You can use them, but keep this in mind:
- They are usually not true “dwarf” plants and will grow like crazy, taking over your miniature garden. You can keep them cut back or repot later.
- Many need full sun. Watch for this if you are planting an indoor container garden.
- Slower growing dwarf and true miniature plants work best.
If your garden will be outside, choose dwarf and miniature plants based on the amount of light your garden or porch gets and appropriate for your planting zone. For indoors, plants that require shade or low light are best. These are some of my favorites for indoor mini gardens:
Variegated English Boxwood
Dwarf Mondo Grass
Variegated Fairy Vine
The Dirt on Dirt
Dirt is a four-letter word at Just Gardens Supplies. Dirt is dead. Organic Potting Soil or Planting Mix is what you want for your Miniature Garden containers. It has everything your plants need. When choosing soil, notice that there are different mixes for indoor and outdoor containers. Many mixes will have a mild, time released fertilizer added so be aware of this. You do not want to over fertilize your plants or encourage rampant growth in your tiny garden. A moisture retaining polymer may be added as well. This can be beneficial for an outdoor container.
Tips on Watering
- All. Pots. Need. Drainage.
- Before you water, check the soil with your finger at least an inch deep. If it feels wet, wait a day or two. If it is barely damp, you can water.
- If you travel often or tend to forget your plants occasionally… consider succulents.
Have No Fear
Plants die sometimes. They just do. But it’s no reason to give up on mini gardening, and it’s certainly no reason to be afraid to try! Get another plant to replace it and try again. I can’t keep Irish Moss healthy all Summer to save my life. But I know when I see it for sale this Spring I’ll get some more and give it my best. I just love it!
Adapted from an article by Janit Calvo, best-selling author of Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World.
The entrance to our new building.
Our New Shoppe
We told you way last summer that we were going to be moving. SO MUCH has happened between then and now! It’s just the two of us running this business, so when things get crazy, we really have to scramble. But, the remodeling and moving is done, and we’re pretty well settled in. We have some projects to do outside when Spring arrives, such as a beautiful outdoor patio area and something to make our entrance warm and inviting. We’re looking forward to those improvements.
Amidst all of the chaos, Len and I each welcomed a new grandbaby. For Len an absolutely beautiful little girl, and for me an upside down, unexpectedly early little boy, who is also positively perfect.
The Heart of It
What you see above is part of our new, expanded mini garden department. So exciting! It’s so much fun because it will always be an ever-changing work in progress. We plan to add a year-round Christmas section, many more locally handcrafted items, and as always, we do our best to find quality Fairy Garden accessories you won’t see in the chain stores.
Our beautiful new retail space naturally features our primary product lines, professional quality outdoor lighting and water feature components, as well as home and garden decor. Like these guys. They’re my favorite. Don’t they just make you smile?
Leaps of Faith
And last, but certainly not least, is some really big news. We’re nearly ready to open our online store! This has been a huge undertaking… I had NO IDEA! It’s not there yet, but we’re well on our way. You’ll be the first to know when we launch!
And, you can now follow us on Instagram!