Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Gathering Garden Faeries for the Summer Solstice

For me, the Summer Solstice has always been a time of celebrating my garden. I take time to sit back and revel in the fruits of my labor. The long hours and days of digging in the dirt, planting, weeding, and pruning are behind me and I turn my attention to just watching and waiting for everything to grow, until the next round of planting. Right now, with the first day of Summer only two days away, the garden is lush and green with bursts of color from newly blossoming day lilies, coneflowers, verbena, nasturtiums and herbs. The tomatoes plants grow taller each and every day and are already showing small green fruits. So, with a lull in the gardening tasks, I decided that I wanted to do something special out in my garden for the Solstice - make a garden faerie house.

I have written of my experiences with garden faeries over the years, both here and in other blogs to which I contribute, most recently in the Sunday Stew. I have also played with making faerie houses in the garden over the past couple of years but never really thought it out properly or made it turn out as I envisioned. This year, I started my planning at the end of May, gathered all my items, and worked on it bit by bit. As I worked on it, I mentioned it several times on Facebook and friends began telling me that I should do a blog post about how I made it. Hence this piece. The faerie house is now complete and I will be "presenting" it to my resident garden faeries officially on the Summer Solstice. But, I wanted my readers to see it before then. Maybe a few of you would like to make something similar in your gardens in the days to come.

It all started with an interesting log my husband brought home from one of his firewood-hunting trips. He pulled the car up in the driveway, popped open the trunk, and announced, "I think I found the perfect tree stump for a faerie house." He showed me where he thought the door should go and how it fit perfectly and snugly beneath the lilac bush. And there it sat under the lilac bush in my patio garden bed for the past couple of years, waiting for me to turn it into a faerie house.

I spent countless hours out on my patio since the day my hubby brought this beautiful piece of tree home contemplating how to make it a faerie house. I surfed the net seeing what other people did and what items I could make or buy to do it. I finally just went with the vision that kept occupying my mind time and time again, a mix of creativity and a few store-bought items.

First, I took an old basket, cut the handle off, filled it with soil and planted some trailing plants, Lanai Red Verbena and Ramblin Petunia, and a mounding plant, Techno Heat Lobelia. I placed it on top of the tree stump (more like a piece of a very large branch from an old tree). The colors were subtle but very beautiful with the aged bark of the wood.

Next I put down some of the left over soil from the plant pots in front of the door and made a path with some beautiful stones I found at the local craft store.

As you can see from the pictures so far, there is a natural arch at the front of the log that already looks like a doorway. Instead of making or buying a door and attaching it there, I just made that arch look like a real door. I took some thin pliable cedar branches and braided them together, with the help of some floral wire, and then tacked it around that arch to make the doorway. I found an old clip-on earring that had no match (it actually belonged to my mother) in my jewelry box that I thought would make a really pretty doorknob. To put this on, I tapped a nail into the area where I thought a doorknob should be and then bent the nail with the hammer, just clipping the earring on to it. Then I tucked some moss in and around the arch.

A faerie house needs a few windows too! To make those, I used some pieces of that basket I cut up for the flowers, some pieces of plastic milk jugs and a glue gun. I assembled them first and then tacked them on to the log, making sure the tacks were hidden from view by putting them through at the very corners of the windows. I added a few tuffs of moss around them too.

Over the next couple of days, I worked on getting a few items to add to the house - a broom, a watering can, a birdbath, an arbor and a bench. During this time, I noticed that the stone path kept shifting. Whether it was from the rain we had all week or from birds or squirrels romping around in the garden bed, I was not sure but I knew I had to do something to prevent it from happening again. Luckily, the items I bought for the faerie house came as a kit and, with it, there was a fence. I put this into the landscape, bending it here and there to make a winding path from the front door out into my garden.

And finally, I added a small strand of warm white battery-operated LED twinkle lights into the basket of flowers.

My faerie house is complete!

I hope you all have a beautiful and blessed Litha/Summer Solstice! To my friends in the southern hemisphere, Winter Solstice Blessings!