Tag Archives: Secret garden

How to make a faery house – really quickly

Having just moved house, and after a year of upheaval – the big move from the farm,  and then renting  for around 9 months, my 3 year old expressed genuine concern about whether our garden fairies would know how to find our new house. In our rented house garden, we built many a daisy-flower fairy ring, and fairies had been with us on the farm.  Her time in the garden was pretty much about talking to them and making cups of tea for them, and occasionally they would leave a tiny chocolate treat in the fairy ring when she hid from them. No wonder she didn’t want to leave these generous little denizens behind! Friends and treat-bearers are not easily left behind!

So, to reassure her – about the fairies and the move to the new house – we built the fairies a new faery house before we’d barely unpacked. This seemed really important to her, and with a new brother on the way in a few months, moving the fairies in to our new house seemed like a good way to lay down a bit of stability and continuity between the ‘old places’ we’d come from and our new place where life was about to change again.

Anyway, it had to be quick and easy amongst working, unpacking and being 6 months pregnant, so here it is, How to make a fairy house – really quickly!

Step 1: Find a small bird house from your nearest hardware store. (If you haven’t just moved house you may have something around that you can recycle for this project.)

small bird house
Nice for birds, but needs faery renovations

Step 2: Gather wild leafy and flowery bits from around the place. This was fantastic as we got time to explore what is growing in our new garden.

Wild bits

Step 3: Engage a faery expert to decorate the house.

Faery decoration consultant

Step 4: Admire the house and wish you were little enough to step inside and sleep on the rose-petal bedding.

Fit for faery

Step 5: Find a leafy place for your house (faeries prefer leaves as no tell-tale faery footprints are left behind).

location, location, location

Step 6: If you have elusive, secretive, shy faeries (the most common type) find a dingly dell or secret glade for your house so that faeries can come and go via spider-web bridges, untroubled by mortal eyes.

shy faery abode

….and of course, the fairies did move with us as we discovered the next morning…

At the garden gate…

“One day things weren’t there and another they were. I had never watched things before and it made me feel very curious. Scientific people are always curious and I am going to be scientific. I keep saying to myself, `What is it? What is it?’ It’s something. It can’t be nothing! I don’t know its name so I call it Magic…Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something were pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden–in all the places.”

from The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1888

Secret garden

gate to the secret garden
One of my long time dreams is to have a secret garden. Actually, my dream was to adopt one. An unkempt one that longed to be rediscovered – full of botanical gems and a history of memories – a keyed gate, an overgrown path etc…

Shortly after we moved in, I found it. Not an existing secret garden (my holy grail) but the gate that led nowhere. The gate that didn’t open. This is it. My chance to reopen a portal to my own secret garden from the edge of my backyard to the fields beyond. The site has been chosen, shady, secluded, a place to ponder in a neglected yet beautiful area.

There are many practical steps to creating a secret garden, so although my project is shrounded in whimsy and day dreaming, I have a plan regarding things to acquire:

  • reclaimed old clay bricks for a path to/from the garden
  • a garden arch (prefer old, but may buy new and give it an antiqued/rusty finish)
  • any old iron decorative border/edgings
  • non-invasive secret garden plants for pots – e.g. so far –>chamomile, wooly thyme
  • faery, goblin,elve,buddhas for the spirit populus
  • wind chimes

These are, as I see it at first imagined glance, the bare essentials for a secret garden. Only my research will uncover if there are more elements.

The project began with the a careful pruning of the plants surrounding the gate and an attempted opening. The gate yielded to opening after some years, but is very stiff as though trying hard to resist my will to open it. Hopefully it will settle into it’s new purpose with a bit of wishful thinking and a bit of magic spray (WD40).