VALPARAISO — Visitors to Taltree Arboretum & Gardens’ Fairy House exhibit will have a new Fairy Castle to explore thanks to a donation from Crown Miniature Society.
Darlene Deck, chairwoman of the Crown Miniature Society, said the idea was born of a trip the 14-member group took to Taltree in May to view the Fairy House exhibit and Railway Garden.
“At the next meeting, we talked about our tour and one member said, ‘Why don’t we do a fairy house for Taltree?’” Deck said.
The Crown Miniature Society makes miniatures and assembles vignettes or rooms for doll houses and other miniature displays. Deck has been involved with the group for about eight years.
Member Bob Cashman of Munster had a 70-foot white pine tree fall in his yard during the Halloween 2014 storm. The tree stump was used as the starting point for what became a magical 6-foot-3-inch, five-story fairy castle.
“It just developed from there with his vision,” Deck said. “Members of the group each signed up for different floors and we gathered various items over the year.”
The 1-inch scale Fairy Castle features several handmade and recycled items. Dan Bridy, a Taltree volunteer-turned-employee, created all of the ladders and chairs on the lower level from pieces of a redbud tree at his home. The copper roof peak is a recovered piece from a former building near West Fifth Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Gary.
“They are all creative people in their own way and all of these different ideas and visions came together for the end product,” Deck said.
Visitors should make a point to search the castle for a fairy dust dispenser, a stroller made of acorns and nut shells, a Christmas tree in storage and many tiny mice and other critters.
“It’s fabulous,” she said. “I’m just thrilled and we’re so happy to be able to give it to Taltree. It’s been great to see Taltree evolve and grow and we’re just happy to be a part of it.”
The Fairy Castle will be on display in the Railway Garden Depot through May 31 as part of Taltree’s Fairy House exhibit.