If you go out very early in the morning, before the dew has dried on the grass, you might find a bit of fairy lace, left behind by a garden fairy hurrying off at the first light of dawn to hide beneath the shrubs or in the shade under the leaves of cucumber vines in the vegetable garden.
Later in the morning, the lace disappears. Who knows who or what comes and takes it away, it just disappears as the sun dries the dew on the grass.
Across the way, the foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) blooms. A favorite plant of the fairies, they often leave their footprints inside each flower
I’ve never seen a foxglove without the spots, so I’d recommend planting foxglove in your garden if you want to make sure to attract garden fairies.
How does a coreopsis bloom (Coreopsis lanceolata) end up in the middle of a drift of coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea)? There can be only one answer.
The garden fairies put it there, to play a trick on the gardener. Then they hide and watch and laugh when the gardener comes out, and upon seeing the flower, scratches her head and says out loud to no one in particular, but loud enough for the fairies to hear, “Now, how did that flower get in there?”
If the gardener is really quiet, she might even her the slight tinkle of a fairy’s laugh.
Whimsy in the garden is really in the mind of the gardener.
Or it may be in a fairy garden, filled with miniature plants, a few small garden ornaments, and a door for the garden fairies to come in out of the rain and cold.With all of this evidence, how can one dispute the notion that garden fairies are here in the garden, bringing their own brand of mischief and making sure the gardener doesn’t get too serious about it all?
And if you listen to the garden fairies, they’ll give you some good advice about how to make the garden a place that both you, and they, will love.
With their permission, since it was their guest post, I’ll repeat some of their advice here.
1. Don’t keep the garden too neat and tidy. If you try to keep things too tidy in the garden, you’ll drive yourself nuts with all the weeding and deadheading and you won’t enjoy the garden as much as you should. And you’ll remove a lot of good plant debris that we garden fairies use to make our houses and clothes, that birds use for their nests, and that microorganisms break down to enrich the soil. When you do clean up the garden a little bit, put the plant debris in a compost bin, please, and we’ll make sure you get good compost from it.
2. Get out and observe your garden year around and around the clock. The more time you spend in your garden, the more you learn about it. We think the more you learn about your own garden, the better you make it for us garden fairies. You observe where the sun shines at different times, what areas are wetter than others, where you need more plants and more. We promise to leave you alone, most of the time, as you wander about in your pj’s in the early morning. That is, we promise to leave you alone as long as you give us some space, too. As we make our way home after a night of partying about in your garden, we aren’t always as sharp and on the look out as we should be. And perhaps we might have a tiny bit of a hangover, too, if you know what I mean, so we can be grouchy in the morning. So just leave us alone if you see one of us.
3. Try to have flowers blooming as much as you can throughout the year. We garden fairies love flowers and generally settle in gardens where we know they’ll be a good, steady parade of blooms through spring, summer, and fall. Then in the winter, if we happen to live in a midwestern garden like Carol’s, we’ll sneak inside and play amongst the blooming houseplants or write an occasional guest post. Yes, we do sometimes envy our southern cousins who get to play in gardens outside all year long but it does get quite hot for them in the summer. Anyway, try to grow as many flowers as you can.
4. Lay off the pesticides. Those chemicals don’t just kill off the pests, they can take out the bees and garden fairies, too. Have you ever seen a garden fairy who didn’t run away fast enough when someone started spraying that stuff and got soaked with it? It’s just an awful sight! If you saw it once, you’d figure out other ways to get rid of those pests in your garden.
5. Mix it up in the garden with lots of variety. We like trees and shrubs for shade, along with flowers and foliage plants, maybe even some tall grasses and a bit of lawn. Oh, and we like lots of ground cover to nap under in the afternoon. And don’t forget to find a spot for a vegetable garden. We garden fairies don’t just sip flower nectar all night long, you know, we get hungry for real food, too. And we promise we’ll only eat a tiny bit, never as much as the rabbits eat. Aren’t those rabbits just like pigs in the garden? And it is so funny to watch Carol try to chase them out of the garden!
Thank you to Gardening Gone Wild for hosting the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop each month and for choosing Whimsy in the Garden as the July topic!