It’s all good and well to have a gorgeous fairy garden that you and your family can enjoy, but too often plants can become straggly or have stunted growth which means you aren’t able to enjoy this long term. Here’s a quick checklist on how you can get the best out of your fairy garden.
If you are planting your own fairy garden, whether it be in a pot or in the ground, giving it a good foundation will really set you off on the right foot.
For either set up, you need to make sure the soil is free draining but has the capacity to hold some water rather than wash right through, and that your soil is going to feed your plants right from the get go.
- Use a good quality potting mix – most will already contain some slow release fertiliser and some organic matter. Don’t cheap out – you’ll end up spending more down the track or have to replace it sooner.
- Add a bit of a good slow release fertiliser. My favourite is horse manure, you can use any kind of well rotted manure, worm castings, compost or even a commercial, coated slow release fertiliser – there is plenty of choices depending on the types of plants you choose.
- Moisten the soil before you work, checking to ensure the soil is not water repellent. Water repellency is when the water beads on the surface instead of soaking in.
I use my wheel barrow as a mixing bowl to repot all of my pot plants at once.
If you are planting in the ground, you can look at getting a delivery of good gardening soil in bulk to save you some money. You can dig in some kaolin clay to help sandier soils hold water better – if you can get your hands on some, throw some in the potting mix if potting your garden too!
Selecting your plants
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box – fairy’s reside all over the globe, any plants will do. Here are some quick combinations that I would love to see.
Herbs: Thyme, sage and oregano. Providing gorgeous perfume year round and flowering too, these are excellent to have at your fingertips for flavour. Sage may struggle a little with the heat, give it a good haircut when it starts to look daggy. With some fairy care takers, these should look better than ever.
Oregano is hardy and low growing with a gorgeous rich green colour.
Cottage Flowers: Salvia, pansies and babies tears. These will need to be watered regularly but will provide a cool place for your fairies to reside and a splash of colour to your veranda. In summer you might need to swap out your pansy with a petunia.
Babies Tears will provide a cool place for fairies to reside.
Natives: Native violets, Dichondra silver falls and Dianella tiny titan. Keep the soil damp but not wet for these. While Dianella loves the sunshine the violets prefer the shade, so find somewhere that will catch some morning sun but keep away from the heat of the day.
Maintaining your garden
Every so often you will need to repot your garden, or if in the ground add some organic matter to the soil and mulch in order to protect the soil and keep you plants healthy. Mulching will also help you keep the weeds down – saving you oodles of time in the long run.
Be sure to cut off unhappy or dead foliage when you see it to let your plants thrive. If anything looks too sickly for too long, don’t be afraid to pull it out and replace it, this will prevent the spread of disease and save you money trying to treat the problem with all sorts of sprays and powders.
Give your garden a tonic every few weeks, I love to use seaweed or kelp based fertilisers, but often alternate with liquid food from my worm farm. This will keep your soil alive and happy, as well as feeding your plants.
Worm farms often have a little tap at the bottom to syphon out the good stuff!
A few simple steps along the way will have your garden flourishing and everyone will remember your little fairy palace for all the right reasons.
About the Author:
Katie - A Place to Sow
Katie grew up in an agrecultural comminity in the south west of WA but is now living in the southern suburbs of Perth. Adapting to gardening on sandy costal soil and town water supplies are certainly learning curves, but she takes the chanllenge with two hands. Kate loves to share and empower everyone from all walks of life to get in to the garden and give it a go.