Gardener's Grapevine 2013.05.15

Written by David Green.

What a great weekend this turned out to be. I came home from work on Friday night to a beautifully mowed lawn, compliments of my son-in-law, Henry. My nine months pregnant daughter is on restrictions until she delivers next Monday due to complications with her pregnancy, so she was enjoying a lawn chair out back in the afternoon sun.

We were surprised with the arrival of our son Nick, home for Mother’s Day from Michigan State where he is staying to work and take classes this summer. Both Jacquie and Nick took me to Schmidlin’s greenhouse to get a Mother's Day gift. It has become our tradition since they were little. Art would take us all to get something when they were little, then as they grew they slowly did it on their own.

One of my favorite memories is of my son when he was still not allowed to go around town on his bike without us. He rode uptown and purchased a very tall lily with his allowance and rode home with it. Talk about a conundrum: Do you give them the devil for disobeying the rules or hug him for the thoughtful gift? That lily is still coming up in the back yard and I still love it and its memory.

A few years back the kids decided they had no idea what I could possibly need in the garden and started taking me to the greenhouse to pick out what I’d like. I really enjoy this trip with my kids. We not only buy my gifts, but we discuss the different plants and decorative items. We look at the seeds and talk about what we like to plant and eat.

This year Schmidlin’s has an area for fairy gardens, and they even have one set up. They offer different items for sale to put in miniature gardens such as trellises, fences, and adorable miniature versions of plants such as mini hostas, cannas, grasses and a few succulents.

My son is one of the few people in our family that has never really cared for gardening. He likes to eat what comes out of it and he did a 4-H project one summer and worked up a small area and put in a little flower garden. Once he got his grade on it he never paid any more attention to it. When we were in the greenhouse this weekend, he was totally fascinated with the fairy garden and decided he wanted to try his hand at it. I have often thought I’d like to try it. So guess what I got as a Mother’s Day gift? Fairy plants and a miniature hosta to start my own garden.

Many people have gotten the bug for fairy gardening, some are very small in little containers and others are large and complicated affairs. Becky Schermerhorn has a large, very interesting fairy garden at her house is so interesting you could sit and look at it for an hour.

When I had some quiet time to myself last night I Googled fairy gardens and what a lot of things came up. One thing that amazed me was the amount of items you can purchase and the cost. There are fairy houses—well, actually fairy mansions—for over $300. Don’t you think that’s a little excessive? I did, and where is the creativity? 

My son is going to make one, and since he lives in a co-op at Michigan State he’s going to call it his Gnome–op and use Gnomes instead of fairies in his garden. Both he and I agree it will be way more inventive to design and build our own houses. If you have a little time to spare, Google fairy gardens and check it out for yourself.

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