Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tabletop Formal Fairy Garden


While the arrival of Spring means an ever growing list of daunting outdoor landscape projects, sometimes tackling a garden on a smaller scale is a fun way to indulge your green thumb. With far less mess and far more instant gratification, you can treat yourself to the delights of a magical, albeit tiny, garden of your very own in the blink of an eye.
 It seems that mini tabletop or "fairy gardens" have become wildly popular as of late. Although fairies and gnomes have been romping the forests and fields of our imagination for centuries, nowadays all sorts of downsized landscapes are being designed in their honor. From whimsically woodland to elegantly formal a tiny garden can be your own mini escape suited to your personal style.
 Table gardens or garden kits can be pricey to purchase, but it's surprisingly simple to create your own version by mixing small scale plants or flowers with pixie sized garden accessories and basic repurposed craft supplies.
I have made several of these gardens, a rustic French lavender garden, a literary Secret Garden in book and a festive May Day fairy garden complete with May pole. This time, I thought I'd channel my inner princess and try a more royal romantic look, including an easy DIY faux sculpture and a hedge labyrinth, inspired by garden visits and travels.

Garden inspiration clockwise from top left: 
Versailles gardens, France, 
Swans, Morris Arboretum , Philadelphia Pa, 
Atrium Garden, Musee de la  chasse, Paris, 
kilronan Castle Grounds, Ireland 
photos property of CPaul

Doll bust
Planter or large pot 
 (I chose an cast off silver plate platter to use as a planter for a vintage elegant look)
Modge podge
Spray paint or primer suitable for plastic (I used white)
Desired Colors craft or chalk paint
Stones, craft moss 
Sand or aquarium gravel
Garden themed odds and ends 
Small florals and plants 
Craft sticks

I've seen fabulous faux statue DIY's fashioned from dolls or even those beauty store foam heads. For this project I found a tiny glamour doll bust at my local dollar store.
I coated the doll's hair with Modge podge to smooth texture before painting. Once dry, spray to prime with light even coats allowing to dry between.
This will be the base coat. I used chalk finish and craft paints in white and grey tones, stippling for shading and texture.
        Using the same colors, I painted the lid of a spray paint can  for a quick pedestal 
 For a the trellis, I used skinny craft sticks which cut surprisingly easily with scissors.
I assembled trellis with hot glue and coated with white paint.
 Mini terra cotta pots become urns with the same paint treatment.
 I placed stones in the bottom of planter and covered with top soil. 
I then arranged small plants including ivy and thyme as backdrop leaving space for hedge maze.
 I spread aquarium gravel evenly over center.
Since live moss wasn't available I used a sheet of craft moss for the maze.
I cut with scissors and nestled in the gravel

I popped in the statue, trellis and filled the mini urns with more moss
Set your garden on a table, shelf or patio

…. if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. 
                                Marcus Tullio Cicero

PennyWise Tips

Mini Gardens make great get well, birthday, new home or Mothers Day gifts, especially for those with limited or no outdoor space. Simply include plant care instructions.

You can customize gardens to recipients interests or hobbies: add a mini tea table, model Eiffel tower, fishing rod and pond, toy car or character figurines from a favorite film or book.

Sand and cacti make fun desert gardens 
(men seem to like these)

No need to shop for specialty supplies: Toy, Dollar and Party stores have lots of scaled down items that can be repurposed to use in your landscape.

                                









27 comments:

  1. Hello Christina, your table top garden is so lovely! You did such a beautiful job creating it. The little topiaries are so sweet in blue!
    Hugs,
    Terri
    I was looking for your tea cup post? Did I miss it?

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    1. Thanks Terri!
      Thanks for hosting your link parties- I was trying to link up with my favorite parties and I realized this wasn't tea related after I pressed "done" Sorry- (a senior moment)
      I had some photos with a tea cup and ended up not including them in the post
      Cheers
      Christina

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  2. Thanks for showing us how you did this. I have been thinking about making some "miniature" gardens and even collecting up a few things. Perhaps this is the inspiration I need.

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    1. Thanks Beth!
      I've made a few mini gardens and they are such fun to put together-
      would love to see a photo if you do make one
      Cheers!

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  3. Oh, I love your fairy garden! I want to try this sometime! Love how it resembles the manicured gardens and is whimsiclal at the same time. I love Modge Podge, and never thought to cover a barbie with one! How fun!

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    1. Thanks Winnie!
      This one is a little over the top but I thought I'd try something really fanciful lol
      I wasn't sure how the Modge Podge would work ( I use it on everything too) but it helped smooth down the hair before applying paint
      I hope you give a mini garden a try - they are such fun!

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  4. I love fairy gardens! I have never made one myself but I always admire those who do create them. I missed your teacup today. Your tutorial is wonderful by the way. Thanks for sharing and coming to tea. Have a lovely day.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. Thanks so much Sandi!
      I messed up twice today with link parties- sorry this wasn't tea themed - I was linking up before my morning coffee kicked in- lol
      but love your fabulous parties and so glad stopped by
      Cheers!

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  5. What a precious fairy garden. I love your photos and directions on how to create one. I have create a tiny bluebird garden and i'm using it as a centerpiece for my dining table set with bird china.Hope you will view my post and enjoy my garden!

    Pam

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    1. Thanks so much Pam,
      A bluebird garden sounds wonderful- I will definitely pop over for a visit! Using one as a centerpiece is such a great idea-
      Cheers!

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  6. So so cute! Love it. That doll head bust is just too cute. Same with the maze!

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    1. Thanks Deb!
      This was fun and so easy to put together- I'm thinking I might be able to use the doll head statue for something else down the line :)

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  7. You've created a wonderful formal garden in miniature and have shared some neat tips for the accessories. I'm off to a fairy garden workshop this Saturday with my daughter and granddaughter and hope we make something as nice.

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    1. Oh I'm so jealous! A fairy garden workshop would be such fun!
      Hope you share lots of photos of the results-
      Thanks so much for visiting and for your kind words!
      Cheers

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  8. oh my gosh, i absolutely love the way you incorporated versailles gardens into your table top garden. there wasn't much besides the greens in bloom while we were there...how much do you love saying that when you've visited a place you've always wanted to go to, eh?

    i'm so glad you visited and commented on my paris post, you must have had an amazing time when you were there. yes, that was the laduree on the champs elysees-you stayed on there? that must have been a busy spot? i will have to look through your posts to see your pics, and i still have a few more posts on it, too.

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    1. Thanks so much-
      and yes this is my little bit of Versailles on the dining room table hahah-
      I thought I recognized that bakery in your photo- (you can tell where my heart is- macaroons!) We stayed on the Champs Elysees and you're right- it was super busy but it was easy to pop around the city with the metro steps away- it was so funny we struck up a conversation with two ladies who were there from our same town in Pennsylvania-
      We avoided eating in that area- (tourists and pricey) and tried to escape to local out of the way eateries or picnic- hope to return very soon as we didn't see near enough -
      If you're interested I did a short Paris post last fall
      http://pennywiseblog.blogspot.com/2013/10/pennywise-in-paris.html-
      Can't wait to see more of your photos!
      Merci!

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  9. Your mini-garden is beautiful! That was so creative using the doll to create a statute.

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    1. Thanks so much Carrie!
      I just love how a quick coat of paint can't make something look completely different -
      Thanks for visiting!

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  10. This is fantastic - so very clever! LOVED it! I do appreciate you sharing with A Return to Loveliness,
    Kathy

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  11. This is just marvelous and so clever - I will be featuring your post in this week's Home and GArden Thursday,
    Kathy

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    1. Thanks so much Kathy!
      I'm thrilled to be featured In Home and Garden Thursday-
      So glad you enjoyed the project and thanks again for hosting your lovely parties :)

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  12. Hi Christina, How sweet is this?!!! You have inspired me to try this, looks like Fun!! Thank You!
    ;)
    Cindy@GlassSlipperRestorations.com

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    1. Thanks so much Cindy! Mini gardens are so much fun to make - especially when I'm not very talented with life size gardening :) would love to see a photo if you give it a try!

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  13. HI! Popping back to say I'm featuring your tabletop gardens this week on my post Whimsical Garden Love Bug.

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    1. Oh How fun! Thanks so much! Can't wait to see your post- you had me at the name lol

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  14. This is so great! I love what you did with that doll's head! so clever! I'm off to check out your other gardens.

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    1. Thanks so much Deborah!
      So glad you stopped by-
      This was such fun to put together- maybe one day I'll graduate to life size gardens haha

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Love to hear your comments and suggestions!