If you’ve considered creating a fairy garden before, the holiday season is the perfect time to do it. The weather is generally cruddy outdoors, and all of the flowers in the landscape are dormant. Poinsettias are on sale everywhere, but what to do with the smallest ones? They don’t make much of an impact in a pot, but their charm is just right in the fairy garden landscape. Insert a small piece of glass or a mirror in your holiday fairy garden to reflect the vibrant plants and figurines.
Let it Snow
Even if you live in Florida, snow characterizes miniature holiday villages, and Christmas fairy gardens are no exception. A few tufts of polyester pillow stuffing tucked around plants and benches suggest snowy drifts in your small scene. If you wish to get more elaborate, you can purchase specially made fake snow, sometimes sold as a powder that fluffs up when you add water. Finally, if you have spare disposable diapers around the house and you aren’t weirded out by the idea of harvesting the sodium polyacrylate used to absorb moisture in the diapers, you can follow Anne Marie Helmenstine’s instructions for making fake snow.
Animals Bring Life to Gardens
Animals and gardens go together, and every Christmas fairy garden should have at least one critter to add to the scenery. Woodland creatures such as rabbits, bears, foxes, squirrels, raccoons and birds are natural additions to the miniature garden. A Christmas-themed garden may also feature reindeer or even polar bears. As you can see from this photograph, it’s OK if your animal isn’t in scale with the other fairies or elves in the garden.
As figments of our imaginations, fairies may be larger or much smaller than even the most wee mouse.
The house you include in your Christmas fairy garden can be a simple resin dwelling sold in a big box store, or a handmade structure crafted from bark, twigs, and other found items. If you’re converting a pre-existing fairy garden into a holiday landscape, add faux Christmas greenery to the doorway, roof, and windows to carry the festive theme throughout. You can also buy a house normally meant for a mantel holiday village display for your fairy garden. If your fairy garden is outdoors, don’t use any lighted structures that aren’t listed for outdoor use.
Mulch and More
Fairy gardens usually need some kind of mulch or soil cover, both for plant health and for aesthetic reasons. Choose your mulch based on the theme of your Christmas fairy garden: if you have a nature-inspired garden, like this one, you should choose natural mulch materials like cocoa bean mulch, gravel, or sphagnum moss. For a more fanciful appearance, use a combination of glass marbles, artificial gems, glitter, or acrylic crystals.
Although flowers may be the focal point of the fairy garden plants, you need some low-growing greenery to set the stage for your figurines, and to act as an attractive foil for your blossoms. The Scotch moss (Sagina subulata) pictured here forms a brilliant chartreuse carpet that never grows more than two inches high, and it may even sport tiny white flowers in the spring. Other low growing green groundcovers suitable for fairy gardens include dwarf chamomile, baby’s tears, wooly thyme, Corsican mint, or creeping Jenny.
All of these plants will tolerate some shearing and shaping to fit your scheme.
Is your fairy garden in the ground rather than in a container? Extend the fantasy with a Christmas train. In a larger garden, you can include plants like cyclamen and dwarf conifers that would overwhelm a container.