Fairy Gardens: Preparing Them for Winter plus Book Giveaway

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25 comments
Winter Fairyland Miniature Garden

A few key accessories can evoke the winter season. photo credit: Xuong Do, Happy Photos

They may look delicate with their dainty wings and ephemeral personalities, but don’t let fairies and their gardens fool you. With some weatherizing and a winter vacation indoors, you can tap into the fairy garden craze and enjoy your own miniature landscape no matter where you live.

Container preparation

Make your fairy’s home as sturdy as possible by protecting the container. Spray basket containers and those made of metal with several thin coats of spray paint. The paint helps baskets from cracking in the cold and the metal from rusting. To strengthen clay pots against the elements, spray with clay pot sealer.

Basket-spray can

A little protection from the elements will help your container last longer. credit: Ted Mayeda, Fairy Garden Expert

Plant choice

While it is certainly possible to use all annuals in your fairy garden each growing season and restart again the following spring, you lose the opportunity to experience the look and feel of an established fairy garden by doing so. Mini “trees” and “shrub” like English boxwood and dwarf Hinoki cypress need time to mature and develop character.
When choosing plants for your fairy garden, keep in mind that some plants do better overwintering indoors than others. Conifers are a nice addition to the fairy garden, but they don’t always thrive indoors. Some easier plant selections for overwintering include Cuphea ‘La Chiquita’, houseplants like pink polka dot plant (Hypoestes `Pink Splash’), mini succulents and herbs like the many varieties of thyme.

Planting Succulents in a miniature garden

These mini-succulents overwinter well. photo credit: Xuong Do, Happy Photos

Securing fairies and their accessories

The resin fairy figurines on the market are fairly weather resistant when it comes to cool, damp conditions, but it’s important to protect them from the wind, as they are breakable. In order to make sure that your fairy garden stays in place, use fast-acting glue to secure items such as tiny teacups to furniture and fairies to accessories like bicycles.

miniature fairy Boy glued on Bike

You don’t want that fairy falling off his bike! photo credit: Xuong Do, Happy Photos

To keep the fairies in place within the garden, affix them to golf tees or nails with glue, and then insert the tee or nail into the soil.

Nails glued on tiny fairy accessories

The nails will be pushed into the soil to secure these accessories. credit: Xuong Do, Happy Photos

Overwintering indoors

To preserve your fairy garden until the weather thaws in spring, keep a few things in mind.

  • Mimic perpetual spring indoors by locating the fairy garden in a cool area of the home, such as a basement or an unheated sunroom.
  • Provide full-spectrum lighting, which can be found in tube and regular light bulbs. Place the plants within two to three inches of the lights for maximum effectiveness, but don’t let the plants touch the bulb.
fairy garden under lights

This garden is thriving indoors under lights. photo credit: Julie Bawden Davis

  • Proper watering is also critical to successful overwintering. Overly moist soil during the winter months will quickly lead to root rot. Water when the fairy garden plants are just about ready to go dry.

Hardening off

Come spring, place overwintered plants out into the natural sunlight as soon as possible. Harden the plants off slowly, putting them out for a short time starting at midday and then lengthening the time out each day, as weather permits. The plants can stay out once the danger of frost has passed and you’ve finished hardening them off.
As you can see, there’s really no magic involved in overwintering fairy gardens-although it’s best not to tell the fairies that.

Fairy-Boy with Bunny

Ready for Easter photo credit: Xuong Do, Happy Photos

Guest author Julie Bawden Davis is giving away one copy of her new book Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden to a randomly selected commenter. If you would like to learn more about the miniature world of fairy gardening, leave a comment or question on this post to be entered into a drawing to win this book. One copy to be given away. Winner will be chosen randomly using Random.org. A valid email address is required for notification and recipient must have a valid U.S. or Canadian mailing address.The giveaway ends Monday, March 25 at midnight Eastern time and the winner will be notified the following day.Giveaway is over, sorry.

Want another chance to win? Visit Garden Therapy tomorrow, when the authors of Fairy Gardening will demonstrate how to make a Fairy Easter Basket. And be sure to visit Fairy Gardens for lots of miniature accessories and fairy gardening tips!

About the Author

Julie Bawden-Davis developed her green thumb at the same time she started writing. Since graduating from California State University, Long Beach, in 1985 with a BA in journalism, she has authored several gardening books and written over 1,500 articles for a wide variety of publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, Organic Gardening, and the Los Angeles Times. She is a member of the Garden Writer’s Association of America and a University of California Certified Master Gardener.

In its own way, frost may be one of the most beautiful things to happen in your garden all year . . . Don’t miss it. Like all true beauty, it is fleeting. It will grace your garden for but a short while this morning. . . . For this moment, embrace frost as the beautiful gift that it is.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

25 Comments… add one

Julie Bawden-Davis July 24, 2014, 1:23 am

Hi Barb, Congrats on your new house with trees and granddaughter! Are the lamp post and woodpile you mentioned removable? If so, I would store them indoors for the winter. The door you attached to the tree may overwinter, depending on what it is made of and how well it is sealed. Is it wood? If so, you can try painting it with outdoor paint. If it is plastic, it may hold up under winter snow–it just depends on how good a quality it is. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

Barb July 21, 2014, 10:41 pm

I’m in a new house with trees!! New granddaughter too,so started creating! made fairy door and glued it to a tree. Made lamppost with tee and marble. Made woodpile too. Glued door to tree but will get buried under snow this winter. Any ideas? Or should I start over next year?

theresa June 24, 2014, 7:22 am

I love the ideas here. Thank you. Many are ones I can incorporate and actually have a fairy garden that will invite the fairies in! Again, thank you.

Solducky March 25, 2013, 11:48 am

I’ve just started a fairy garden for my daughters. I spent a lot of time transplanting moss, and can’t wait to find more ways to pretty it up!

Christine March 25, 2013, 8:52 am

I would love this book. I only recently heard of fairy gardens, I think they’re a great idea and a beautiful creative outlet!

Nelson March 25, 2013, 2:48 am

It is so cuuuteee.. I really love the idea.

Nicky March 24, 2013, 7:35 pm

I love the little fairy gardens!

Heather March 24, 2013, 5:31 pm

This is great! I have a home daycare, and having a winter fairy garden would have been wonderful for the kids when it was dreary out. Next year!

Julie Bawden-Davis March 24, 2013, 6:30 pm

Kids love fairy gardens, and it really encourages them to be imaginative!

fern March 24, 2013, 3:55 pm

Wow…this is just magical. I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.

Julie Bawden-Davis March 24, 2013, 6:30 pm

Thanks! Hope your fairy gardening is sprinkled with pixie dust!

Josie B. April 10, 2014, 11:16 pm

I’ve started putting together fairy gardens now for 3 months. I’m having so much fun. I wish I didn’t have to go to work so I can just create. Because I also make my own cement pathways, stones, furniture and houses. The possibilities are endless! Where can I find more miniature flower pots and accessories ?

Julie Bawden-Davis April 11, 2014, 12:42 pm

Hi Josie, So glad to hear that you’re enjoying fairy gardening! It is an addicting hobby, as you’ve found out. You can find more miniature flower pots and accessories at FairyGardenExpert.net. Here’s the accessories page: http://www.fairygardenexpert.net/category/fairy-accessories. And if you don’t see something on the site that you want, send an email. Happy Fairy Gardening!

commonweeder March 21, 2013, 9:08 am

What a helpful post. I really appreciated the advice about appropriate plants for a fairy garden.

Jackie Isler March 20, 2013, 4:22 pm

I love the idea of recreating a scene for inside during the cold months….

Julie Bawden-Davis March 24, 2013, 6:28 pm

It sure livens up the indoors!

Heidi Karkoski March 20, 2013, 7:16 am

Beautifully done! Thanks for sharing these great ideas.

Julie Bawden-Davis March 20, 2013, 3:39 pm

Thanks! You’re welcome!

Julie Bawden Davis March 19, 2013, 12:43 pm

Please do try again and overwinter this time! The golf tee/nail idea is one of those simple “why-didn’t-I-think of that before!” tips that works really well. No more searching for that cute little bunny that you know you set in the grass!

Stephanie Evert March 19, 2013, 12:37 pm

Thank you for sharing your winterizing basket idea! You have inspired me to try. I love this Fairy Book it has a menagerie of idea’s and thoughts to ponder of creativity!

Julie Bawden Davis March 19, 2013, 12:40 pm

Glad that you like the book and that you are inspired!

Julie Bawden-Davis March 24, 2013, 6:27 pm

You’re welcome! Happy Fairy Gardening!

Leslie March 19, 2013, 8:32 am

What a great idea about the spray paint or sealant for baskets. I plant in them often but have to accept them falling apart. This will help extend their lives!

Julie Bawden Davis March 19, 2013, 12:41 pm

Yes, the spray paint help considerably!

Karen McAuliffe March 19, 2013, 6:55 am

I had a fairy garden last year that I didn’t overwinter. I’ll try again. I like the tip to glue small items to a golf tee or nail. Thanks for the tips.

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