One of the latest trends in gardening is a broken pot fairy garden. These make excellent use of any broken pots you may have lying around. The pots are used to create lovely miniature gardens are absolutely perfect homes for a fairy or two. This trend is also a great option for those of you who have little to no space to garden in. Read on to learn how to create your own!
If you have a broken pot already, then you can go ahead and use that. Depending on how it broke, however, you may want to use it in conjunction with another pot. Alternatively, you may need to make some minor modifications.
If you don’t have any old pots, but are interested in making your own broken pot fairy garden, no worries! You can just crack a new-ish pot and get started.
Just make sure that the pot retains enough of its shape so it can hold enough earth for planting in. I’ve included some examples throughout the article to give you an idea of what is required for this project.
What Type of Pot Works Best?
Before we go over how to break the pots, let’s take a look at which type of pots will give you the best results.
Unglazed terracotta pots are ideal when designing fairy gardens. This is because they can be broken fairly easily, and in a more controlled manor. You can use shattered glazed terracotta pots too: you just need keep in mind that the glaze may have an effect on how the pot breaks.
Using glazed and unglazed pots together can make for some really nice aesthetic designs though. Ultimately, it comes down to a mix of what’s available, and personal aesthetic preferences.
Breaking the Pot(s)
If you’re looking to break a pot that you already have, be sure to soak the pot for at least 1 hour beforehand. Actually, it’s best to leave it soaking overnight, if possible. You can also use a craft drill to create a weakened area if you would like to be more exact about how the pot breaks.
Soaking the pot will make the drilling easier. It keeps the drill bit from overheating, and stops the pot from shattering at the drilling point. Be sure to wear eye protection and gloves as well so you don’t maim yourself in the process. Do your drilling outside or in a well-ventilated area. Furthermore, if you’re going to do a fair bit of drilling, a dusk mask isn’t a bad idea either.
Use chalk or a pencil to mark out where you’d like the pot to break. This gives you a better idea of where to drill, and offers solid guidelines to follow. I suggest using something that won’t leave a permanent mark: as I mentioned earlier, the pot may not break exactly as you want it to. As a result, you may end up with permanent marks in a highly visible area. Use chalk or a pencil instead.
Ideal Breaks Aren’t Absolutely Necessary
If you’re ok with the breaks not being too precise, you can put a blanket over the pot and give it a good whack. A rawhide mallet or even a chunk of wood would be better than a traditional hammer head, though. A metal hammer has a much higher chance of shattering the pot. You may not end up with the pot breaking exactly as you want it to, but sometimes it’s the imperfections that can add real charm to these gardening projects.
Break the pot in such a way that about half to three quarters of the post remains unbroken. Also, try to leave about half of the sides and the entire bottom intact. Of course this is just a suggestion: use your own intuition and creativity, here. You can even cluster several broken pots together for really cool effects.
Once you’re happy with the pieces, make sure to file the edges of the pot and the broken pieces. This is so that you, as well as little people or animals that might be around, don’t cut themselves. A clay pot’s broken edges can be unbelievably sharp. Soaking the pot will make the filing easier and will reduce the amount of dust produced during filing.
Putting Your Broken Pot Fairy Garden Together
Once you’re ready, you can start filling the pot.
Standard potting soil should do fine for this project. Depending on your design, you may want to insert the broken shards as you go, or you can wait to place them until the pot is full. I suggest filling the post very slowly with a small hand trowel or simply with your hands. This will help to pack the earth down a bit as you go.
By doing this, soil won’t spill out the open side as much as you’re filling. Don’t worry too much if you have to start over a couple of times before you get a shape that you really like.
I also suggest putting down several sheets of newspaper before you start working. If you have a spill, it’ll be easier to scoop up the dirt without any other matter that might be lying about getting mixed in with the clean soil. You can even lift up the sheets of newspaper and tip the soil back into the bag or pot.
What Kind of Plants Can You Add?
Are you wondering what kind of plants would work best in your fairy garden, and where to get them? Well, lucky for you, even if you live in the city, you should be able to find quite a lot of suitable plants just by taking a walk in some of the wilder areas where you live. The ones I’ve listed below are just suggestions of course, and really you can add most anything you like.
One thing to consider when clustering a number of different plants together in the same pot is taking into account the amount of water and light they require. You don’t want to put a shade-loving plant that doesn’t like to be overwatered with one that needs a lot of water and light.
Moss—which can be found just about anywhere—can be carefully removed and re-homed. Just make sure not to disturb the surrounding plant life when removing pieces. In addition, be sure to take a bit of the soil or matter under the moss for easier transplantation. Moss will make a lovely “ground” covering that you can nest stepping stones into, or use it as filler for empty spots and cracks.
Mosses, Saplings, and Succulents—Oh My!
While you’re out collecting your moss, consider picking up a small sapling while you are at it. You probably wouldn’t want anything over 6 inches, and you’ll need to be prune it to keep its growth check. If done right, it will add a really nice element to your garden.
Succulents would also make a nice addition to any fairy garden and they come in so many varieties, you could spend days drooling over the many choices. Most succulents will need to be purchased, but if you are looking to be frugal, hen and chicks is a cute little succulent that you can find growing in the same damp, shady areas as moss. It’s worth taking a look around when you are out gathering your other materials.
Some of the prettiest varieties you can include are:
- “Little Missy” Sedum
- Crassula rupestris v. monticola
- Sedum dasyphyllum
- Crassula ovata “Baby Jade”
- Rosularia platyphylla
Go On, Get Creative!
You can use the smaller shards in your fairy garden to create stairs, ledges, and other fun details. Just don’t be afraid to go out and look for other natural elements that you can use as well! Consider pebbles for stepping stones, sculpted mushroom, maybe a cute little decorative house.
You could even consider adding a small water feature with the broken pieces of a tea cup. I wouldn’t recommend this if you live in an area with a known mosquito population, however. Those probably aren’t the kind of faeries you’re looking to attract.
In regards to decorative items, with the amount of doll furniture, various crafting supplies and do it yourself instructions available online, your options are virtually limitless. Check out Pinterest for inspiration if you get stuck, and browse online shops for miniature figurines. The kinds used for model train sets are ideal, and come in every shape and size, from classic to fantasy inspired.
Hopefully reading this guide will have you feeling excited about the many possibilities available to you! When it comes to making your very own broken pot fairy garden, the sky really is the limit. Just remember not to stress too much about it: this is meant to be a fun project, so have a good time, let your creativity flow, and enjoy yourself!