If you asked me about Fairy Gardening just a couple of months ago, I’m sure I would have responded, “Fairy what?!” Even my husband and his family, who for over fifty years have owned and operated Stockslager’s Greenhouse and Garden Center just west of Dayton, OH, would have looked at you with quizzical stares.
But that was September. By October 2011, we were in the throes of introducing our customers to an aspect of the greenhouse industry that has barely touched Ohio, but by all accounts is rapidly making its way from the West into the Midwest and on to the East. And, oh, the joy it is creating along the way!
Why Fairy Gardening?
If you asked me, “Why Fairy Gardening?” I would now say it’s because of that very joy! There is a magic, a quality about Fairy Gardening that seems to speak to our “inner child, ” asking our imagination to “come out and play.” I can’t help but wonder who amongst us, as a child, did not believe in fairies? Or at least, in the depths of the heart, wanted to believe in the possibility of fairies?
For myself, I vividly remember watching the black-and-white movie version of Peter Pan in my grandparents’ living room, circa 1950’s. Poor Tinkerbell was in the glass jar, slowly dying after drinking the poison Captain Hook had intended for Peter. As Tink’s light was fading, Mary Martin, the pixie-like actress who played Peter, looked directly at the television audience and implored us to save Tinkerbell! All we had to do was say we believed in fairies! I’m not ashamed to say that I fervently vowed my belief…and consequently basked in relief as I watched Tinkerbell’s life force glow stronger and stronger!
Tinkerbell didn’t die that day, but truthfully, somewhere through the years, the part of me that believed in magic forgot the thrill of my imagination transporting me to worlds unknown, worlds where anything is possible. The nearest I ever allowed myself to that magical realm was when I looked at life through my children’s eyes when they were young – or when I immersed myself in the beauty of the ocean or the majesty of the mountains. And then, right before me was Fairy Gardening, combining both nature and the opportunity to feel childlike. I experienced a tug in my heart and a sense of joy that only magic can create. What could be better, I ask myself? Based on the numerous entries I found when I Googled the topic, I believe many others have found the same joy, making Fairy Gardening a new and worthwhile pursuit in the garden center industry.
Besides the joy inherent in Fairy Gardening, its versatility makes it a good choice for novice as well as accomplished gardeners. The preference to create a Fairy Yard Garden in a delightful outdoor spot allows perennials to spring up amidst whimsical elements of choice, such as mushrooms, cathedral-like lantern, fairy-sized arbor and bench (see picture Yard Garden). Of course, colorful annuals can be added to enhance the charm of this undersized, yet captivating world.
Miniature Fairy Gardens
I have a personal fondness, however, for Miniature Fairy Gardens. Planted in containers (some as small as teacups!), these fanciful worlds can be taken indoors during cold weather, which means that gardening can be enjoyed year round! Visit www.fairygardening.com, and you will find the main line of items we carry in our garden center (see picture FG Kit). Selected by Jeff and Emily Sorenson of Rabbit Shadow Greenhouse in Northern Colorado, the kits and individual items are perfect for all gardeners, especially because Jeff and Emily have developed a diminutive line of “Fairy Flowers.” Each flower tag identifies more than care instructions; the gardener is introduced to the fairy – Zachary, KayKay, and Viola, to mention a few – who purportedly oversee the growth and care of the plant (see picture Tags). Using these flowers and kits, Stockslager’s employees and customers are creating a range of gardens, from elegantly simple to more elaborate (see picture simple). No matter, each and every Fairy Garden is magical because of course, Fairy Dust is included as well!
Mencius, a Chinese, philosopher and follower of Confucius, once said, “A great man is one who does not lose his child’s heart.” Fairy Gardening has allowed the heart of my inner child to once again play in the world of nature. While doing so by no means makes me great, this pastime most definitely makes me grateful. If nothing else, life has taught me it is in gratitude that the seeds of joy have the best chance to grow, and like Tinkerbell, our life force has the opportunity to glow strong.
So why Fairy Gardening, you ask? Because creating a space for magic in our lives is beneficial beyond measure, and quite simply, it makes me smile!