Gardening for Health

Summer Fun with Fairies 

By Maria Price 

In our tech-filled society, combining nature and imagination is needed by all of us. Why nature is now even being referred to as “vitamin N”! In my 40 years in the nursery business, I sadly have frequently found people that don’t know how a seed is formed. So, it’s important to take time to explore nature.  

If you have young children or you are just young-at-heart, use your summer outdoors to construct a fairy house or village. You can buy all sorts of premade fairy things these days but it’s more fun to go into your garden or woods and find things that you can fashion into a fairy house to please the pickiest fairy. Children readily believe in fairies and even as care-worn adults, a part of us still enjoys imagining that maybe, just maybe, the woods and the fields may harbor these earth spirits.   

Woods and meadows are alive, teaming with scampering, jumping, flying creatures, that shy away or hide when a human approaches. It almost seems like there is truly a secret world separate from our own out in the meadows or deep in the woods. The concept of fairies must have sprung from the experience of sensing all these little beings who dance and flutter and dart just past our range of vision. Fairies naturally became the folk tale embodiment of all the buzzing, fluttering, and winging goings-on in nature.  

When we walk in the woods and meadows, it sometimes seems that myriad little beings are hiding in lairs, nests, and burrows, watching us as we pass by. Why else would fairy stories and folklore be common to all continents and people? Almost every part of the world has stories about magical and whimsical creatures. For Europeans, fairy stories seem most associated with Ireland, Britain, and Germany.  

Fairies, like humans, create shelters and gather food for themselves. You can entice them into your garden by building them a fairy house. You can find hollowed-out stumps where pieces of bark can be glued together with outdoor caulking. Sticks can be fashioned into furniture with waterproof glue. Moss makes a nice carpet. Acorn caps make great bowls. Dollhouse accessories, such as windows and doors make a fairy house extra enticing. Pinecone petals can be used as roof shingles and tiny stones make for a good foundation.   

Fairies are known for their love of making merry, singing, and dancing by the light of the moon or fairy bonfires. Some fairies live in flowers, trees, woodlands, and waysides. It’s said that they dress in the petals of the plants they represent, which makes them harder to see. Did you hear a “whoosh” by your ear? Could it have been a fairy?   

Once you get a child’s imagination going, you will both enjoy creating a fairy world together this summer.