Fairy gardens are all the rage and local garden centers and online stores are certainly profiting from the craze. But creating a whimsical fairy garden doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, creating a fairy garden tree stump using natural and upcycled materials is a fun DIY project you can do in an afternoon to delight your children (and yourself!).
Get Children Involved
Fairies love children, and children love the magical world of fairies. Between children and adults, who has the best innate imagination? Children, of course! Therefore, the best partners to help with this project are little ones. Ask them how they would build a garden for fairies from the tree stump and incorporate their ideas into a design.
Create a Plan
Every house must have a foundation. Do you have an eyesore in your garden? Like an old tree stump sticking out of the ground? Before you start raising pigs in order to remove it, an easier solution could be to transform it into a lovely, inexpensive little fairy garden to delight the eye.
Before setting to work building the house and decorating it, first decide how you want it to look. Think about the color scheme (fairies love brightly colored and shimmery things), or if there is a theme you want to build off, like a woodland theme, or Baba Yaga’s house. You can also base the design on a child’s favorite fairy tale or book.
Look online to find inspiration: Pinterest is always a great place to start.
Since this is a small-scale venture, it’s important to remember to think small. Miniature flowers and foliage work best here. Maybe you’d like the stump to be covered in moss to give it an ancient forest effect.
It’s important to decide on the scale for your fairy garden tree stump. If you have a particular item that has inspired the project, then make sure the other items you gather are also on the same scale.
Doodle or sketch your plan on paper (get the kids to make their own sketches, too) before you get to work building the fairy house and garden. This makes it easy to then make a list of supplies you will need for the project.
Fairies, elves, and gnomes love the natural world, so building and decorating a home for them out of old or broken materials is what makes them the happiest.
Ask your children to go on a treasure hunt in their toy box and find small items that they no longer play with to add to the fairy garden. Dollhouse furniture works great in fairy homes, too.
Broken tiles or flower pots can be used to create stepping stones to the home, and old children’s shoes or broken teacups make great flower pots to decorate the grounds.
Go on a nature scavenger hunt to find materials to decorate your fairy garden tree stump. Look for unusual rocks, acorns, and other nuts; special twigs and sticks can also add a nice touch. You can easily make your fairy house from entirely natural materials.
Use the Right Tools
The most important tool you need to create a fairy garden tree stump is your imagination. Have fun plotting the design and unleash your creativity. Yes, it’s handy to have a mini tool set for gardening but hardly necessary. Little fingers work just as well.
Create the Fairy House
It’s said that this latest trend in miniature gardens, the fairy garden, began in the US when “fairy doors” were produced a few years ago. These doors were placed on the bottoms of tree trunks to spark imagination and whimsy. Children loved the fairy doors so much that they would leave presents at the doors, or talk to the fairies that lived within the trees. People began creating fairy homes and gardens to accompany the doors.
Fairy gardens have become so popular that local garden centers have entire displays dedicated to fairy gardens, so finding supplies from miniature plants to already built fairy homes is very easy to do. All of this can cost a pretty penny, however, so there are many ways to make a beautiful fairy garden tree stump without emptying your wallet.
The best fairy houses are made by natural materials like sticks, twigs, bark, leaves, pine cones, acorns, and rocks. You can also make the house using leftover popsicle sticks and some glue. Then paint it to look the way you want.
Make windows and doors by painting them on or using hand tools to carve them into the stump. This, that and everything in between is a wonderful resource for how to use natural materials to create fairy homes.
The Gnome’s Home shows how to transform an old tree stump into a beautiful home for a gnome. It includes instructions on how to make doors and windows for the fairy home as well.
Decorate the Fairy House
The best part is decorating the fairy home’s house and gardens. This is where you can really let your imagination shine.
Some of the most popular decorations for a fairy house are mini mushrooms, cute bugs, like ladybugs, butterflies, and dragonflies. You can make your own with polymer clay, salt dough or natural materials. You can also find inexpensive decorations at craft stores like Michael’s.
Plant Your Garden
Potting mix is the best soil to use for planting as it allows for good drainage, and you don’t want your fairy garden to turn into a bog.Since the scale is small in a fairy garden you need to keep your plants in check too, so they don’t run rampant. There are several ways to do this.
For one, you can keep your plants in their original pots, and then plant the pots in the ground. This will stunt the plants’ growth by restricting their roots. Another way to manage it is by tending the garden often and pruning plants back.
You can also use a small decorative pot, and plant annuals in it. This way you can switch out the plants when one is no longer blooming, or if you want to change things up to celebrate various holidays throughout the year.
Many common plants for fairy gardens are miniature juniper or cypress trees, miniature daisy, miniature ivy, stonecrop, Scotch moss and Irish moss. Here are some thematic planting ideas that are budget-friendly and two-fold so you get the bang for your buck.
Fairies love herbs, so you can focus your plantings on herbs that fit well with a fairy garden and its small scale. The best part about it is that you can eat these plants too, so they serve as double duty. Here are some plants to consider:
Corsican mint makes a soft carpet for your fairy inhabitants. It also produces little purple flowers in the spring.
Woolly or creeping thyme will blanket the grounds of your fairy garden. You will need to prune them back so they don’t overgrow the garden.
Rosemary can be shaped into a lovely topiary in the shape of a tree.
Flowers are beautiful in a fairy garden. You can also cut them to decorate your home, or use them in recipes. All these flowers are edible and can be candied to decorate pastries and cakes, can be dried and brewed as tea, or frozen in ice cubes for a fairy tea party.
Miniature roses are edible and they come in all different colors, which makes them a must-have for your fairy garden.
Primroses don’t have a lot of flavor, but they look beautiful in salads. Try them in a traditional fruit salad to brighten it up.
Violets or Johnny Jump Ups are purple in color and look beautiful adorning drinks and soft cheeses.
Succulents can grow almost anywhere, and they tend to stay small. They provide a lot of texture and color to the greenery in your garden. Sedum varieties are the most popular and are varied.
Anacampseros rufescens is a beautiful miniature succulent variety that looks like small green and pink rosebuds. You can even order miniature succulents specifically selected for fairy gardens. Like this collection from Mountain Crest Gardens, for example.
Creating a berry border is a nice way to “fence in” your fairy garden. Fairies have long been associated with the elder plant. It’s said if you make wine from the berries and drink it, it enables you to see fairies.
The most auspicious time to encounter fairies was under an elder bush on Midsummer’s Eve, when the King and Queen of Fairy and their train could be seen passing.
In mythology, it is a plant of transformation, so it makes a wonderful, edible and whimsical border between our realm and the fairy world you have created.
An easy way to keep decor at scale is to use bonsai plants to decorate your fairy garden tree stump. That said, not only are true bonsai plants expensive (a single bonsai plant can cost up to $30 and as high as $3,00), but they also require a lot of care and specialized pruning.
Lil Blue Boo demonstrates how to take a small holly bush and create your own bonsai-like tree for a fairy garden.
Decide Who Will Live There
Now once your fairy garden tree stump is built, outfitted and decorated it is time to invite the fair folk to reside there. Place figurines of fairies, elves, or gnomes in and around the house and garden can encourage others to come and live there.
If your kids are really into fairies and the magic that comes with them, you might invite them to leave small presents for the fairies who are said to enjoy cream, butter and honey, as well as anything the glimmers and shines.