Monday, August 10, 2015

Book Review: Fairy Gardening and Fairy Gardening 101

I'm not one to ever pass up a good book review opportunity- so for today, let me present two wonderfully whimsical books I got the pleasure of checking out for Skyhorse Publishing on the subject of fairy gardening:

 Ok, so that first statement I made isn't entirely true.  I get lots of emails from publishers asking me if I am interested in reviewing their books and I only actually agree when they are on subjects I'm interested in - and since I enjoy gardening (even if I'm not so great at it) and cute mythical little creatures (such as fairies) I figured these books were right up my alley. 

The first book we will be looking at is "Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden" by Julie Bawdin-Davis and Beverly Turner.  As the cover hints, this book is full of inspiring creative little magical gardens with loads of pictures and ideas for making your own.

Julie and Beverly outline the seven simple steps to make your own miniature garden and give loads of tips and tricks for creating focus, movement, and interest in your creation.  I really like how they give you the basis of what to look for when getting supplies but still leaves plenty of space to personalize your garden and tailor it to your taste.  I also really enjoyed all of the big bright pictures in the book that really let you focus on the details and whimsy of each idea. Just look how cute this little guy is with a puppy:    

Beyond the magical creative parts of this type of gardening, it also gives you some solid gardening tips perfect for miniature gardening including how to proliferate tiny succulents:

and a full detailed list of what types of plants work well in miniature form:

I found the plants list particularly helpful since I often try to plant things in pots that really shouldn't be grown in pots which leads to their eventual death... It also left me aching to grow my own dwarf bonsai tree! 

Once you add all of the elements up you can end up with your own mini garden perfect for some charming inhabitants like this Alice In Wonderland themed pot (my personal favourite):

Next up for review is "Fairy Gardening 101: How to Design, Plant, Grow, and Create over 25 Miniature Gardens" by Fiona McDonald.  Once again the purple glittery lettering drew me in and the images on this book really demonstrate the step by step process of making these gardens. 

This publication was excellent at outlining which types of containers and plants work best for miniature gardening and shows the steps to create many different types of gardens.  I like how this book gives you specific sample gardens to make and really spells out the process.  Of course you can always add in your own creative touches, but it is a great starting point for a novice gardener. 

I also really enjoyed the variety of fairy eden's you could make including this standard fairy garden,:

this lovely mexican themed cacti pot,:

and (my personal gardening weakness) a terrarium!:

Fiona also shows you how to create both indoor and outdoor gardens that totally appealed to my inner child (and I imagine my fairy-loving niece would be all over)! This book also had instructions to make your own fairies and fairy accessories.  After searching for my own ceramic magical friends to put in my own miniature gardens I realized that they really aren't the easiest things to find - so making your own is an awesome option.  

In comparison - both books did a marvellous job of opening me up to the world of fairy gardening and each had their own way to helping you create your masterpiece.  The first book offered loads of inspiring images and information even an experienced gardener could put to use while the second showed very clear step-by-step instructions (with pictures) on making specific types of gardens.  I personally feel that Fairy Gardening 101 would be the best choice if you were planning on making a garden with a young child (or perhaps someone who needs a little more direction with their creativity), while the first Fairy Gardening book lets you take it a step beyond and allows you to focus in on the elements to make one heck of a lovely piece!  As always, this is just my opinion - so your best bet is to buy the books and decide for yourself!

So what was my take home message after reading these books? I clearly need loads of creatures in my plant pots at home!  With market season in full swing I haven't found time to make up lots of fairy items (which I'm thinking would be awesome to make our of polymer clay), but I did land this darling little brass deer who seems right at home with some of my succulents:

Ok. I've got a ways to go before I've mastered this art - but as soon as I find some extra time I will be sure to update you on my miniature magical gardens!

So how about you? Did you always try to make little fairy havens when you were a kid like I did? If so - it's probably time to revisit that magic and get crafting! Happy gardening everyone! 


  1. I was a bit obsessed with making fairy gardens when I was little - I had a large pot in which I made a garden with a a tiny table and chairs in it. I used to set out rose petals for fairy plates and leave food out for them. Needless to say I don't think any fairies ever sat in it, but tiny gardens are cute nonetheless! ^____^

    1. I always made little fairy gardens in the woods. There used to be a billion pine trees around and you could rake away the needles to make little homes for creatures. The majority of the Ponderosa Pine are dead now thanks to a lovely infestation of pine beetle - but I'm sure the younger generation can come up with their own creative fairy home ideas for the forest!

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