Having just returned from a trip to Ireland, I am especially excited about this Saturday’s “Small Giants” seminar at Fenton's Heavenly Scent Herb Farm. The event is all about miniature gardening with gigantic possibilities and will draw everyone from dwarf-gardening enthusiasts to faerie fans.
I wasn’t a true faerie believer until recently strolling the grounds of the John F. Kennedy Arboretum in County Wexford, Ireland. There, I stumbled upon a tiny faerie fort without knowing it. A little moss-covered opening at the base of a towering tree beckoned me to come closer. Up against the intriguing, hollowed area leaned a couple of twigs on an angle.
No sooner did I move the little sticks when my faerie-loving sister, Cathy, cried, “Megan! Put those sticks down! Place them as they were! How do you suppose the faeries will get back into their home?”
OK. Uhhh … faeries?
Then we met Bob, a sharp engineer from New York. He was seriously wandering the magical arboretum grounds in search of faerie forts. The next day, our tour guide, Tom Casey, straight from Ireland’s Ring of Kerry of County Kerry, told us about trees that had been cut down by builders only to grow back, well, the “faerie” next morning (the trees were apparently home to groups of faeries).
OK, Cathy, Bob, Tom ... I’m a believer! Once back from the Emerald Isle, I learned that faerie lore has happily drifted into the great lakes state.
Carol Czechowski of Bloomfield Township recently held a seminar at Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy. She lead participants through the tantalizing lore and practical practices of miniature faerie gardens. She’s also a fan of Heavenly Scent Herb Farm.
“One of my favorite containers for a faerie garden came from Heavenly Scent,” Czechowski said. “Steve (at Heavenly Scent) made low-sided wooden boxes with round ball feet and painted them soft colors a faerie would love. Mine is lavender and yellow.”
Czechowski says that as a young girl, she often saw faeries. “Now that I’m older, not so much. But that does not diminish my pleasure in creating a special place for faeries in my gardens because I know they are there.”
And just how do you know the wee sprites have visited your garden? “Pay attention to the signs,” explained Czechowski, “as you did when you found the faerie fort in Ireland.”
Faerie Plants, Tips and Lore
Contain Yourself! “I like hypertufa containers because their rough texture is pleasing in a faerie garden,” said faerie enthusiast Carol Czechowski.
Pleasing Plants: Czechowski’s favorite plants are Lemon Thyme and Ground Geranium.
Forget About Size: Faeries don’t care about the size of your garden. “If you have limited space or are in a condo and just have a patio, container gardening is great for attracting faeries,” said Czechowski.
“I have a small garden in my side yard and my 6-year-old daughter has gathered twigs and pinecones to start a faerie garden beneath some pines,” added Lisa Clark of Beverly Hills.
“We have 2 faerie doors — one in our mudroom and one on our front porch," Clark explained. "Enchanted things are often found by my kids on summer mornings, making lovely memories, I hope.”
Go Online: Czechowski recommends visiting www.fairyhouses.com, Tracy Kane’s website that explores books, DVDs, etc.
Expand Your Horizons: Explore a variety of garden centers and nurseries. Check out Telly’s Greenhouse in Troy for a “wonderful collection of faerie garden art to plants,” said Czechowski. “They love faerie lore over there.”
“I love the variety of garden plants, sculptures and seasonal merchandise at Heavenly Scent,” added Coral Adas, president of the Brighton Garden Club. “They have a wonderful variety of classes that they offer (including the “Small Giants” one this Saturday), as well as workshops on seasonal themes. Heavenly Scent is a treat for all gardeners and gift shoppers.”
Ginny Brown of the Grosse Pointe Garden Center in Grosse Pointe Farms recommends Ray Weigand’s Nursery in Macomb. “They have a nice display of items,” said Brown. “I personally think faerie gardens are delightful,” added the flower fan, who soon will be preparing for the Grosse Pointe Garden Center-sponsored annual garden tour, which runs June 23-24.
About the 'Small Giants' seminar
Where: Heavenly Scent Herb Farm, 13730 White Lake Rd., Fenton
When: 10:30 a.m.-noon, this Saturday
Details: Garden expert Steve Mathews will inspire your creative side by incorporating small or flowering plants into containers, faerie gardens, window boxes or flower beds. Also, mark your calendars for its May Day/Faerie Festival May5-6. Enjoy faerie fun, storytelling, dancers, May pole activities, lore, treats and more.
Information: (810) 629-9208