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Build A Tropical Fairy Garden

This KN&L Fairy Garden contains a path, a mailbox, a twig fence with a cardinal bird and succulent plants. Daniel Lane photo.

This KN&L Fairy Garden contains a path, a mailbox, a twig fence with a cardinal bird and succulent plants. Daniel Lane photo.

Fairy Gardens are popular ways to incorporate plants into every day life while evoking the mystery and magic of fairies. These miniature gardens are typically in pots, although you can create a Fairy Garden in your yard. Gardens include a variety of plants and accessories such as pottery; plastic animals and fencing; miniature arbors and gazebos; lamp posts; recycled lanterns; home-made walking paths; rivers with bridges; croquet games; scooters; mailboxes; pine cones, seeds and dry flower pods; and ceramic mushrooms. Some people even use edging material, cement and pebbles to create a patio for their miniature garden or tie twigs together to make a bridge.

Saundri Harris, Nani Kuehu and Rachel Smith at Kauai Nursery & Landscaping. Daniel Lane photo

Saundri Harris, Nani Kuehu and Rachel Smith at Kauai Nursery & Landscaping. Daniel Lane photo

All Fairy Gardens have a fairy, but themes can range from zen retreats with bamboo bridges to culinary herb gardens; gnome gardens; mermaid gardens with glitter and ocean settings; or those with holiday scenery. Pots can be placed on a desk, patio or windowsill or used as a centerpiece for the holiday table.

“Some people order accessories online and create large outdoor Fairy Gardens that connect to each other. It’s a life-long hobby for them,” says Kauai Nursery & Landscaping (KN&L) employee Rachel Smith. “My boyfriend’s niece just turned five and her family has a 6-foot fairyland built into their lanai.”

Saundri Harris’s Christmas ornaments are made with heavy gauge wire and tillandsia air-plants. Daniel Lane photo

Saundri Harris’s Christmas ornaments are made with heavy gauge wire and tillandsia air-plants. Daniel Lane photo

KN&L offers an assortment of plants well suited for Fairy Gardens, as well as complete miniature gardens that range from simple plants in snail shells to elaborate pots with a variety of plants and settings. Nani Kuehu makes wreaths and Saundri Harris creates knickknacks and Christmas ornaments with heavy gauge wire that’s shaped into globes and stuffed with plants, or beautiful dried seed pods that dangle from a string.

Making your own Fairy Garden is fun, and you can even get together with friends to make holiday gifts. Here are some tips:

  • Container: Before you begin creating your dream landscape, consider the space you have to work with and pick the appropriate container. The gardens that Rachel has created can be connected using broken pottery. So you can start small and add more later. You can use anything from coconut husks or logs to terra-cotta pots, tin buckets and large plastic containers.
  • Miniature gardens can be as small as a snail’s shell. Daniel Lane photo.

    Miniature gardens can be as small as a snail’s shell. Daniel Lane photo.


    Plants: Once you decide how big your container is, the next decision is whether it will be located in a sunny or shady spot. Add plants accordingly, and don’t forget to consider your dream-scape. For example, if you are creating a mermaid setting, you may want to use sand as a base and jade or succulent plants. If you creating a woody garden, you may want to use soil, shade ferns and ground cover. To make the setting more interesting, select plants of different sizes such as low-growing, trailing, trellising and tall plants.
  • Themes: Several websites sell Fairy Garden accessories and Pintrest showcases hundreds of themes. Embellishments include large rocks connected by a bridge; twig swing-sets with rope chains and cork seats; wells made with pebbles; paved paths lined with ceramic bird feeders, red mushrooms with white dots and tiny pots. One lead to a tree with a door at its base. Save pruning waste to make twig fences; or fray squares of cross stitch cloth to make brooms. Dot marbles with glow in the dark paint or create a mini clothesline and attach tufts of bright tulle with tiny clothes pins. Coil bake-able clay into a basket and fill with tiny eggs made of painted pebbles. Recycle a mint tin into a fairy bed and line with plants and flowers. Invert a seashell, fill it with water and add tiny flowers. Use small snail shells to make a path or line the roof of a miniature house. The only limitation is your imagination!
  • Tip: If you use ground cover to simulate a lawn, be sure to trim the root base to 1-inch before planting.  This will insure the plant is flush with the soil while providing room for growth. Otherwise, all roots balls should be broken up before planting. For best results, stage your plants and accessories before you begin.
  • Care: Fairy Gardens are ideal for those with little time or a brown thumb. They only require a little water dispensed from a spray bottle. Trim overgrowth to keep your Fairy Garden tidy. If one plant dies, simply replace it with another.

Fairy Gardens and supplies can be found at:
Kauai Nursery & Landscaping, 3-1550 Kaumualii Hwy, Lihue. For more information call 245-7747, or visit www.kauainursery.com.

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