Fairy dust mixed with dirt and imagination can create a special haven where kids can cultivate their green thumbs.
A miniature garden introduces gardening to kids and can be adapted to fit any indoor or outdoor space. A container with drainage, small plants and a few accessories are all it takes to get started.
Darlene Miller loves her backyard fairy garden and has been expanding it the past 10 years. The Lansing resident said she started in the side yard, moved onto the patio and now has added a wheelbarrow to house her collection of miniature fairy worlds.
She said starting a mini gardening project is great for kids because it can perk their imaginations and let them express themselves. Her grandchildren loved to help her in the garden when they were little and now with a newborn great-grandson, she can continue to share her love of miniature gardening with future generations.
“It’s a way to start a garden at any age. You don’t need to have a green thumb. It’s good to start small,” Miller said.
She recommends Alsip Nursery, Hobby Lobby and Gardens on the Prairie when looking for accessories.
Wayne Gruber, owner of Gardens on the Prairie in Lowell, hosts workshops on how to build a miniature garden.
He said these little green worlds are the modern day equivalents to the terrariums he had as a kid.
“I think this is just a great avenue,” he said. “It’s a gateway into gardening for children.”
It’s also an adaptable project because it doesn’t have to be done in the ground or even in part of the yard. For most of the miniature garden workshops Gruber leads, students build a box or use a plastic container for the gardening.
Old pots, bird baths, farm tools, shoes and old tree stumps can also house the gardens.
“The possibilities are endless,” he said.
Miniature gardens don’t have to house fairies. A boy in one of Gruber’s workshops came up with the idea of a dragon garden and brought in his own creatures and designed a cave scene.
“The whole idea is to get kids involved,” Gruber said.
Starting a project requires some basic garden planning, he said. Gardeners have to decide if their creation will be indoors or out, in sun or shade.
The garden center carries a line of indoor plants, like ferns, that stay small. For the outdoors, they carry herbs and ground covers that work well like wire vines and mosses. They also sell accessories.
“There are little chairs and patios and tables, gazing balls and fencing. It’s amazing the amount of stuff out there,” he said.
Easy maintenance includes watering and pruning plants as they grow.
“Be creative. There’s some cool stuff,” Gruber said.
A miniature/fairy garden workshop is at 2:30 p.m. May 18 at Gardens on the Prairie, 3242 W. 169th Ave. in Lowell. Fee is $49.
On June 9, they will host a daughter/mother/grandmother fairy garden workshop and brunch. Brunch is at 11 a.m. and costs $20 per person. The workshop is noon to 1 p.m. and costs $49 each.
Call (219) 690-0911 for reservations.