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Fairy Gardens

When I heard Alspaugh's Ace in Kingwood was having gardening classes, I said, "Sign us up!" Stephen loves gardening and has several plants growing around his club house that he bought with his own money.  His real pride is his honeysuckle that cost him $20 of allowance, and has grown twice it's size since he planted it.  (He has grand plans of hanging out in his club house, lounging on his beanbag and reaching out the window to feast on the sweet liquid in the blooms.)  So gardening is a good choice of entertainment for him.
When they called to say the next class was coming up and mentioned it was 'Fairy gardens' I became a little concerned.  My son may like his hair surfer-boy long, but he is 100% rough and tumble, trouble-making male.  Fairies?  Ugh.
Turns out, he is also very open minded.  He said, "It sounds fun and I'll just leave the fairies to fly off into your garden." 
The above picture is his garden.  He had two master gardeners (One, I had overheard, has won an award for her recent gardening project!) Phillis and Brenda help him.

We all worked over a long table with many items placed in the middle for each of us to select from.  Small branches of twisted wood, moss, colored glass, broken bits of pottery (so many things to be done with the broken pottery- these ladies were very creative!) and other items to decorate our gardens.  On nearby shelves were plants that had been segregated on the basis that they would grow well in a confined space.  Then to top it all off, they had a plethora of crafts to add: bridges, fairies, hanging baskets, tiny chairs- most anything you could imagine in your miniature garden. 

Stephen greedily collected everything that was available, which all put together, would never have fit into his pot!  He has always been big on grandiose living! I had to cruelly encourage him to return a reasonable amount of trinkets.  He was still so excited to be creating his garden and quickly came up with his master plan.

Stephen wanted a river to run through, so he picked the blue glass to line the bed, and was wisely instructed by Phillis to have a little screening underneath to keep the glass from sinking into the dirt over time.  But, if I haven't mentioned it, he's nine years old and pretty sure everything he does is perfect the first time around.  He didn't think the screen needed to be hidden from view!  Feel free to disguise your own screening!  Then he added a bridge to go over his river, adorable red spotted mushrooms (which I really wanted myself and may one day 'borrow'!) and a chair to imagine himself sitting back in. 

Finally, he got around to adding the plants: Sage, Golden Japanese Sedum, Pink Mexican Heather- wait, no that was me, he had another plant I can't name- and he split a Jade tree with me. 
I never knew I could cut a Jade tree in half like that!  This class was invaluable in so many ways!
Aside from learning more about different plants and the abuses they can withstand, we had a wonderful morning playing in dirt and socializing. 

When he had finished creating his beautiful garden, he proudly displayed it in my turret garden. (Disclaimer: I made that garden term up.  Who knows what you call a bunch of rocks built up to make a garden?  Alspaugh's, that's who- but I never asked.)  
Since our gardening experience, I have searched out web images of other fairy gardens.  It's amazing the things you can do! I saw beach scenes, moss covered shacks, and slices of a branch used for steps leading up to a tiny patio.  I could go on forever, but then you'd get bored and I'd never get started on my next garden.
If you like the idea of exploring gardening with your child, check with your local gardening center for classes.  And if you still can't find a group willing to play in the dirt with you, then grab some gardening soil, a pot, a few plants, tiny doodads and miniature knickknacks, and start your own backyard class.  It really is fun creating with nature.

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