Springtime gardens conjure up thoughts of magical creatures that might dance beneath the blossoms. Do leprechauns, gnomes, sprites and fairies tiptoe through the tulips just outside your gaze? Maybe… Laura Iarocci, award-winning floral designer and founder of Faith Flowers in Virginia-Highland, has spotted them all, building fantasy playgrounds that beckon pixies to frolic from dusk until dawn. Today, Laura shares her secrets for connecting with this mystical realm.
Do you believe in fairies? Welcome to the world of Fairy Gardens — miniature gardens carving out little spots in our world for fairies to visit from theirs. Our studio specializes in the floral arrangements, terrariums and miniature gardens needed for enchanted habitats, incorporating natural elements such as moss, branches and leaves. Faith Flowers School presents workshops that help people learn to create their own fairy gardens. People of all ages attend our classes, as well as our private workshops, presentations for garden clubs, birthday parties or even “Girls Night Out” gatherings.
I have been fascinated with fairy gardens since my girls were little. Together, we searched for fairies on the coast of Ireland, bringing their magic back home with us. Then we designed fairy gardens for them, some on playgrounds and many in our own backyard. Drawing inspiration and materials from my mother’s collection of miniature antique dolls and furniture, we constructed a variety of landscapes and settings ready to host whoever might float in with the dandelion fuzz or slide down the next rainbow. Fairy gardens can emerge from a corner of your garden, a window box, a tree stump, a terrarium, a broken ceramic container — there’s no limit to the boundaries of magic or imagination. Our Faith Flower School students have brought in everything ranging from old crates to red Radio Flyer wagons, developing them into hidden havens.
I regularly stop to pick up amazing branches from the side of the road. Sometimes people bring interesting finds into our studio, such as branches with lichen, different kinds of wood remnants or peculiar logs. Recently, a tree company brought us a stump that seemed ideal for our gnomes and trolls.
Seeing Is Believing
Interest in fairy gardening has grown dramatically in recent years. Growers and nurseries now cultivate miniature plants specifically for this type of project. Our team fell under the spell as we swooned over the new array of miniature garden pieces on the market. Our store stocks a huge variety of miniature items for use in fairy gardens and containers, and we also love crafting custom curiosities from organic materials.
A Vintage View
Vintage pieces and broken furniture can provide excellent structures for fairy gardens. Here, an ice cream parlor chair, past its prime, finds joy of a different sort. Re-envision rusted, cracked, peeled and dilapidated items that seem bound for a junk pile. Perhaps all they need is a little pixie dust.
On Proud Display
Woodland walks and vacation adventures often generate full pockets for observant children, eager to hold onto their discoveries. Encourage the use of those trinkets and treasures to stage a unique vignette. Create a memory box from your beach excursion, displaying the shells collected, adding playful accessories and whimsical plantings. These proud displays keep the memories alive in a colorful way.
Tips for Care and Keeping
- Small garden plants: Water, water, water! The plants and roots are tiny and need lots of water in the beginning. Set a schedule. In our studio we water on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
- Succulents: Need generous sunlight and very little water. Water only every other week.
- Moss: Be sure to water and mist a couple of times per week. If moss turns brown, it can be revived by submersing in very hot water.
- Tillandsia: It’s a misconception that air plants don’t need attention. Soak them in water once a week for one hour.
Take inspiration from our studio creations and conjure up a bit of your own special magic. Come, build a fairy garden with us!
Thank you so much, Laura, for bringing us into your fairyland paradise. Faith Flowers truly shines as a gem in the Virginia-Highland shopping area. Learn more about Faith Flowers at their website: www.faithflowersatlanta.com.
Special thanks to Michelle Marshall for capturing these delightful images with her lens. Visit MG Marshall Photography at www.mgmarshallphotography.smugmug.com to view more of Michelle’s work.