3 min read
After a long year of being in front of the computer, whether it's online learning or social distancing, we love the idea of getting more kids in the garden.
Gardens are outside – not inside in front of the TV/Xbox. While gardens do have apps and social media sites, most of gardening and enjoying a garden does not use a smart phone.
The problem we have with gardens and gardening is that we can easily turn the garden into a ‘chore’ for our kids – there is weeding to help with, hedges that need trimming – there is leaf raking and bagging – there is heavy stuff to carry and tote around – we all know that a portion of gardening is really yard work and that yard work can be dull and tedious. If we expose the kids to the hard stuff before they fall in love with the garden, we can quickly drive them back to the safety and joy of their online activities.
So how do you ‘get-em’ early?
Consider the world of Fairy Gardens as a way to turn the younger kids on to gardens. Fairy gardens are definitely ‘kid sized’ and can be a great way to learn about plants and gardens. Fairy gardens are basically miniature gardens – often with little houses or cottages all set to a small scale. The key to a fairy garden is a sense of whimsy and fun. Keeping in the style of a fairy garden, all the materials that you use in a fairy garden would be natural – wood, stone, and clay are often the building materials of choice…. No plastic for our fairies! And of course, a fairy garden is full of plants!
Not quite sure when and where the Fairy Garden trends happened, but some may recall way back in the ’70s there was a tropical plant boom when terrariums and dish gardens became popular. Terrariums were made from big glass fish bowls or sometimes miniature glass greenhouses (which would look great in a fairy garden). Some of the tropical plants that we used in those dish gardens would work well in fairy gardens… small Jade Plants, little Norfolk Island Pine or even small dwarf palms would all offer some shade to a fairy lounging on her patio.
One of the neat things about fairy gardens is that you may plant them in a container – or right out in garden bed. If you plant them in beds think about where to locate them – typically we see them tucked into discrete corners of the garden or nestled under a large shrub – where they can be discovered by the younger set.
The plants should have a naturalized feel to them – more green and less colours, as well as they need to be scaled to fit the small homes and furniture of fairies - so small-leaved plants and vines fit a fairy garden.
Plant selection choices are many and varied – from indoor tropical plants to herbs to annuals and shrubs – there are many plants to pick from. Ideally, we would like plants that have small leaves – and use plants that look interesting in a small or young form – so think a Sedum more than a Maple Tree. One of the joys of a fairy garden, especially with the kids, is that they can help you select the plants – and if something gets too big, then together with the kids you can move that plant to a better spot and replace it with something new!
A few plant ideas to consider –
Herbs - look at Thyme, Rosemary and Chamomile as plants that fit into a small fairy space. These all have small leaves and react well to pruning.
Baby Tears, small Norfolk Pine, and Jade Plants are all house plants that will work well in a shady spot outdoors. English Ivy and Maidenhair ferns will work well too.
From the garden centre side, how about mini-roses, Ajuga is a nice ground cover that can be snipped into the right size….Lysimachia is often sold as an annual spiller and it is perfect for fairy gardens. Small ornamental grasses can work – look at a small pot of Carex or Juncus as a good size. Sedums and succulents like Echeveria (hen’s & chicks) work well in fairy gardens.
Be creative, have some fun – get the little ones involved and let's grow more young gardeners!
2 min read
2 min read
It's been a banner year for the gypsy moth population!
Gypsy Moths are considered invasive defoliators, and they have been busy defoliating most trees in the neighbourhood. They are a pest, and can be harmful to our trees if they're allowed to repeatedly weaken a tree.