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Whether it is a ceramic pot, terracotta pot, wicker basket or wooden box the most important feature should be as large an open area as possible so that you can maximise the impact of your design. Broken or damaged containers can even be used as they often add height to the design and increase the surface area available.
Line your container with a pre-bought liner or with a cut to size plastic membrane of some sort (plastic bags are fine). If your Fairy Garden is to be kept outside it is essential that you incorporate adequate drainage. To do this, simply make sure there are a few holes in the bottom of the container and apply a layer of gravel so that the holes don’t become blocked.
You should choose good quality compost that is nutrient rich and free draining. Avoid using topsoil as this will be heavy and hinder drainage. Fill the container to 0.5-1cm from the top ensuring that the liner is concealed. Be sure to compact the compost sufficiently so that the finished garden doesn’t subside. Deep containers can be partially filled with gravel to stabilise and assist with drainage.
You should however choose plants that fit the scale of your garden. Small, low growing, compact plants are best with at least one taller plant to provide height. Aesthetically, odd numbers are best for the bulk of your planting so try and buy in threes.
Some plants like Ferns can be planted whilst still in their pots to restrict growth. Others like Rosemary can be regularly trimmed to maintain the correct scale. Ivy’s are an excellent choice as their overhanging nature will soften the edges of the container and they can be trained to grow around other features.
Bedding plants with small flowers like lobelia and alyssum are also quite effective though they will tend to spread and only last a season. Incorporating some alpines, certain herbs and succulents such as Sedums and Sempervivums will enhance the garden as well.
Place the plants around the container where you would like them. You should bear in mind where you will be placing any furniture or accessories and build your planting scheme around them.
Starting with your largest plant use a small digging implement to excavate a planting hole slightly larger than the plant pot. Place the plant in the hole and backfill with the excavated material. Firm and smooth the compost around the base of the plant and move on to the next plant until all are planted.
Any undesired exposed areas of compost can be covered using moss from your garden which is very effective at simulating lawn or groundcover foliage. Hard landscaped areas can be created using fine pea gravel or slate chippings.
Now it’s simply a case of placing your furniture and accessories in the desired locations and enjoying your magical Fairy Garden.