Fairy gardens can be hard to find, not only because they’re tiny and usually housed in secret spots – but they’re also quite rare! This month, we’ve got some tips for how to find them as well as how to build your own. They can inspire creativity and get kids excited about the secrets that the outdoors can hold.
Crowe’s Nest Farm
A short jaunt from Austin, this farm features farm animals, themed gardens, milking demonstrations, hay rides and … fairy gardens!
You’ll find them along Birdwood Trail that winds through storybook-themed gardens. Kids will recognize many familiar characters and scenes along the pathways. The fairy area invites kids in through a small break in the hedge, past fairy houses, to the other side where a wee village lies. Quaint houses, natural materials and miniature statues combine with the landscaping to create unique settings.
Look for the trailhead between the red barn and the milking barn.
Address: 10300 Taylor Lane, Manor
Zilker Botanical Garden Woodland Faerie Trail
The Woodland Faerie Trail at Zilker Botanical Garden has returned this summer! This collection of creative, fun fairy houses made from naturally occurring materials is designed and built by the public. Wander the trails and see how many you can spot amidst the beautiful gardens and wooded pathways. Treat it like a scavenger hunt, or vote for your favorites. The event will run until August. (Tip: beware the dinosaurs you might happen upon in the Prehistoric Garden!)
Address: 2220 Barton Springs Rd.
Fashion Your Own Fairy Garden
Once you’ve been inspired, use your imagination to build your very own fairy garden:
- Gather supplies! Garden stores, craft shops and dollar stores will often carry small pieces, pots and figurines. You can also check the aquarium section of pet shops for castles, tiny treasure boxes and vibrant rocks to define spaces.
For a cheaper, more creative option, simply raid your toy boxes or recycling bins at home! Yogurt containers can be transformed into cozy fairy houses.
Plastic lids become stools, tabletops and ponds. Popsicle sticks from your art drawer can become rooftops, rafts, bridges or beds. Collect small dollhouse pieces or action figures to help furnish or populate your dwellings.
- Then select a site for your fairy habitat, and collect natural items to help it blend into the landscape. Plop down pebbles or small stones for walkways. Carpet the rooms with leaves and grass. Forests can spring up from sticks and tall flowers. Nestle your houses against trees or under bushes, bamboo or branches. Get as fancy as you’d like!
Annette Lucksinger is a mom of two who loves seeking out Austin’s secret spots. She is author of the local family guidebook, Exploring Austin with Kids.