How to get kids interested in gardening

This is the perfect time of year to decorate your garden. You might want to get your children or grandchildren involved. Spring, How about a fairy garden with small accessories for small plants? All garden shops should be well stocked. My grandchildren are always on the lookout for the perfect addition to our next spring’s fairy garden.

Here are a few necessary steps for a perfect fairy garden. Start by developing a theme such as Camping, Farming, Backyard Playground, Victorian, Birdhouse, Gazebo, Party, Water Feature, Fairy, Churchyard – the themes can go on endlessly – they are endless. Depending on their interests, the children change the topic from year to year.

So let’s pick a focus. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, grandest, or most expensive focal point, but it will tell the story of your fairy garden. It should draw the eye to the most visual angle. It might be the biggest ingredient to discover first. Start with something you love.

Have a tape measure handy when shopping

1:12 is recommended, which means that one inch in fairyland is equal to one foot in the real garden. Keep a tape measure handy when shopping or looking for your little treasures. Let your little ones go through their toy chest so they can offer their little treasures for the fairy garden. This will definitely make you proud to show off and keep it weed free.

Fairy garden and cheeky garden hat contests were held at the Garden Market in downtown Fremont a few years ago.

Design around the focal point that complements the surroundings. Perhaps you want winding paths, waterways, courtyards, camping scenes, backyard scenarios, or maybe a water feature for your theme. You might consider an architectural feature. It tends to form a strong focal point.

When adding an archway, apply the rule of symmetry – what you plant on one side, you mirror on the other side. You don’t want to be overloaded with your adorable miniatures. You could create two fairy gardens instead. It would be wise to position your fairy garden near a busy path such as a porch, patio or favorite sitting area, especially if you have incorporated a water feature. This would be doubly so, you and everyone else would enjoy the beautiful sight of the fairy garden and listen to the soothing sound of the water feature. It would be a popular place to relax at the end of the day.

You can find a variety of miniature fairy garden trees at your local nursery or novelty store. Place them strategically along paths, around lakes, next to a building for added color and depth. Your local library is a good source of inspiration. There’s probably a whole section just about “fairy gardens.” They will provide pruning instructions so you can keep your plants well cared for. Look closely at your plants before purchasing to ensure they are root bound as the plant will remain stunted forever and not outgrow the fairy garden. You want a plant with branches and stems that look gnarled or old.

What comes first, the fairy or the accessories?

Try to keep your accent pieces similar in color palette. There are kits or pre-made planters available at many stores and online. These kits will make the decision for you.

What comes first, the fairy or the accessories? There is no set answer. It depends on you. The design of the special fairy garden reflects your personal taste and interests; that makes you and your children or grandchildren unique.

So you have all your accessories, focal points and other selected pieces ready to arrange your fairy tale story. Some fairy gardens can be planted in a container. Such containers can be wheelbarrows, bird baths, crates, bathtubs, baskets, urns, and even a bicycle basket can be used as a base for a fairy garden. They are all eye-catchers. The container should have good drainage.

Place a sieve or broken pottery over the holes to prevent the soil from eroding. Add a layer of gravel and then put some good quality potting soil (not too much) on top of your masterpiece. It’s best to avoid soils that contain water-saving polymers, as they tend to store water in an uneven manner. Watering schedule is up to you, but keep the soil moist, not waterlogged. Fertilizer should be added at half strength when plants and foliage look pale. Don’t over-fertilize because you don’t want your plants to overgrow.

Take a trip to the library, flick through a few children’s fairy tale books or magazines to get a head start on your next fairy garden and that of your little ones. This could be your best spring ever.

Mark your calendar for the Sandusky-Ottawa County Plant Sale on May 7 from 9am to 1pm at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds.

Susan La Fountaine is the Master Gardener at the Sandusky and Ottawa County Extension Offices.

About Rachael Garcia

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