Sunday, June 16, 2013

Rules for a Fairy Garden

I've been hearing about the concept of a fairy garden for some time now, and I'm afraid I'm not totally on board yet.

I guess the original fairy gardens are miniature, decorative pieces that can sit unobtrusively anywhere in your house. But we're not doing just any old fairy garden here. No, we're doing a "real-life" fairy garden in our backyard. Seems like a great idea, especially for a youngster who wants to spend some time on an outdoor activity like gardening that requires no electronic stimulus. (And yet the finished product will still be coming soon to a Pinterest board near you.)

This also sounds like a really great deal for the fairies if I understand it properly, which I don't. At all. According to my wife, the fairy garden is one which you create (and finance) all by yourself, with flowers, plants, colorful rocks, and waterfalls, and then the fairies come and live in it, exactly?

Well, you hope the fairies come and help the garden grow.

And, if you're so lucky as to be visited by a fairy or fairies, they will help you tend to it?

Well, sort of. Depends.

Depends on...?

Depends on which fairies live in your garden. Tinkerbell, for example, and all Tinker fairies help fix things.

Like my lawnmower that requires 42 pulls to start?

Maybe. But their primary job is to fix and invent things like pots and pans for the other fairies.

What the hell good does that do us? Do they keep the deer out? The rabbits? The boll weevils? The Japanese beetles?

Do they weed it?

No, that's pretty much our job.

I envision having to get up at 2AM and wearing a hat with a light on the front, weeding the fairy garden three times a week, watering it, and re-mulching it so that our six-year-old daughter can write about it during her first week of first grade and tell her grandparents about all its magical capabilities. (If the fairy garden can convince the one-year-old to stop drinking bubble soap, I'll start to believe the magic.)  I can handle the tooth fairy, where you get up and just put some money under the pillow a few times a year, but I don't think I can handle being the fairy garden fairy. I'd pay 2,000 times the going tooth fairy rate to not have to do the fairy garden fairy thing.

No, we don't have to do any of that.
The more I think I understand, the more complicated it gets. According to the ancient texts, fairies are born when a baby giggles for the first time. Then they move to Fairyland until such time as they are enticed into your home, probably because you left the canister of brown sugar open all night. If you're a more skillful gardener/housekeeper, you will instead lure the fairy into your garden by putting up those beautiful stones or having certain plants that fairies enjoy, like dwarf conifers or bonsai trees. (We don't have any of those, just daisies and marigolds, so we could be in serious trouble.)

How do you know there is a fairy in your garden? What is the tangible evidence, the money under the pillow or presents under the tree, so to speak, that lets you know you have a fairy somewhere in your midst? Is it just the fact that stuff grows? What if a raccoon invades and wrecks your fairy garden the first night after you planted it? Are there mean fairies that we can blame when we're consoling our inconsolable daughters? Who are the anti-fairies, the bizarro fairies, and how do we stop them? Can we stop them? Do we want to stop them?

Plus, there's the issue of stratification of fairies. How do you entice, say, a Tinkerbell or Sugar Plum Fairy into your garden versus some no-account, garden-variety middling fairy who does sloppy work and constantly messes up the billing? Can you even consider Tinkerbell if you don't live in the Hamptons or New Rochelle, New York, or know the CEO of a company? Does Tinkerbell even do gardens? Who are some famous garden fairies? I mean, besides the Cottingley Fairies of course? (Of course.)

There's so much I don't understand still about fairy gardens. You know you don't understand something when you don't even know what questions to ask a six-year-old. But as the kids were standing at our neighborhood Lowe's, fighting over who gets to pull the cart carrying the dozen 20-pound bags of brown mulch, two things became obvious:

1. None of my questions matter, all that matters is that if your daughter has an imagination, she will be the happiest kid in the world when she plants her fairy garden, and more importantly,

2. I don't really have to do anything else from here. So we're good.

Update: Both mornings after we implemented the fairy garden, my daughter awoke and nagged my wife to go downstairs to see if any fairies came to her garden, just like Santa Claus. When she saw they hadn't, she looked confused and disappointed. I guarantee by the end of the week, I'll be out there after dark with a rototiller and two buckets of glitter.


JIM BISHOP said...


JC said...

Happy Anniversary! :-)

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