Plants used in the Fairy Garden @Bloom 2017
The dimensions of the Post Card gardens is 3m x 2m which is quite small. So planting according to scale was an issue. Plants that spread out all over the place were excluded. Relatively compact plants were the order of the day in the garden for example, Osteospermum, Erica, Lamium, Heuchera, and most other plants used were compact too.
All Year Round Interest
The plants we used needed to be an all year round feature. It was not enough that the plants looked good on the week of Bloom. The garden is being donated to the children in Ballinasloe hospital. It is going in at the front of Ballinasloe hospital. So it was really important to think of having something of interest all year round. Plants with interesting evergreen leaves were used e.g.Heuchera and Lamium, Chamomile, Ajuga. Plants with leaf colour during the growing season dying off in the winter were also used e.g. Hosta so that when it finished flowering it continued to give interest.
Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’ was used as a containment plant for the garden. Which means in therapy terms the boundary plant. It’s evergreen leaves help to emphasis containment throughout the year. It had another purpose it is a plant that flowers throughout the winter months. It displays white flowers from November to March/April. It can be kept easily in its small space. Erica carnea ‘Aurea’ was used to give interest over the winter months as well. It is evergreen with gold leaves. It survives well in alkaline soils doing much better in acid soil. It is a useful plant in a fairy garden.
Planting for the Sense of Smell
Plants with smells were included, Chamomile smells gorgeous when walked on so they were planted beside the wishing chair, Rosmarinus prostrata was used near the pool for the same reason and both plants are evergreen. Nepeta has a pleasant smell and is the only plant in the garden with a spreading habit which is not overly intrusive on other plants and space. It has a light weight foliage coverage.
Planting for the Sense of Touch
The grasses give a rougher textured feel different from the other plants in the garden. The bamboos have a fine, light weight texture . The ferns in the cave give a cooler texture of leaf in the garden. The Rosmary plants have a linear structure giving a different tactile experience. The Chamomile was planted to give a soft feel when walked on in bare feet.
Planting for the Sense of sight
The complimentary colour tones used in the garden with the taller plants were purple mauve, blues, cerise pinks contributed by the Alliums, Lupins, Delphiniums, Digitalis and Primula vialii. The lower plants contributed the whites and yellows giving the contrast of plants. The Campanulas with their mauve blue colour tied top and bottom plants. The Petunias were for seasonal interest.
Planting for the Sense of Hearing
The Fargesia murielii was used as a rustling in the wind plant. The fairies moving in the wind hung on the tree stimulate the sense of hearing. The inclusion of plants that attract insects like the Allium, Digitalis all add to the sense of hearing in the garden.
Plants for the Sense of Taste
The apple and cherry trees used in the garden both bare fruit giving the sense of taste in the garden. The herbs in the garden give a sense of taste too. In a bigger garden incorporating strawberries, raspberries and other fruits would stimulate the sense of taste. Some unusual berries that are edible would also be important to include for children.
Ground Cover Plants
Ground cover plants were an important consideration. Mainly for the purpose of blocking out weeds. Ajuga repans, Lysmachia and Lamium maculata were used. They are all fairly rampant ground cover growers. Cerastium tomentosa was considered and would have been used in a bigger area as ground cover. It will be used in Ballinasloe for its rampant ground cover, because we are not as limited to space there. All of these plants are evergreen and create interest all year round.
Fairy Grasses and Plants
I have always believed that clumps of grass were places where fairies hung out and ‘chillaxed’ so it goes without saying that a clump of grass had to be included in this fairy garden. I had chosen Festuca glauca as the grass to give a hint of magic, a loose clump of grass where you would find a fairy sitting in, basking in the sun. That did not happen so Stipa tenuissima was the replacment. Stipa tenuissima, a beautiful plant was used as the blending in plant of the cave to the rest of the garden. It looks a bit like it needs a hair cut. That is it’s unique quality and so it’s long ‘hair’ was used to flop over the cave entrance and over the cave. Tying the features together. The Fargesia was lost it needed a bigger space and a group placed together for the effect intended. The Primula vialii give a fairy feel with their shape, delicate spikes and bi-colour. The key thing in the garden were the fruit trees to hang the fairies. Adding to the mystical elements created.
All in all most plants used in the garden had at least a dual purpose. Many of them worked perfectly. Needless to say if I was doing it again there would be some changes. I would be more focused on creating the garden for children, more focused on the therapeutic elements, the sensory element, the fun element, the discover element and the magical element.
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