Adventures of Kid A: Mini Zen Garden

Fairy gardens? Never thought it would be my thing.  Although, with the rainy months we had earlier this year and not being able to do much in the garden, Kid A and I had to do something creative.

We experimented with a few mini gardens in containers. Yes, we called them ‘mini gardens’ (we didn’t want to necessarily have fairies in them). Yikes, this mini garden stuff is pricey!  So I hit up the Dollar Store and Daiso to find a few things to experiment with.

We put together this zen garden (one of Kid A’s favorite forms of meditation), with a container and sand we already had, a few Dollar Store items, succulent cuttings and rocks from our garden. 







Spring came along and we thought we’d give it a go outside.  With this tucked away shady spot in our garden that was basically unused, we decided to create a mini zen enchanted forest retreat (how about that for a fairy garden name?).  

For the main focal point, we used a eucalyptus stump, then added a piece of gnarled driftwood on top of it. With tillandsia plants growing all over the driftwood, it gave the illusion of a tree house in the midst of this zen retreat.






We scoured nurseries looking for teensy plants to live in this itty bitty forest.  We went with chartreuse colored plants to brighten up the shady spot.  M&M Nursery in Orange had a huge variety of plants just for fairy gardens, plus a ton of mini displays for inspiration.  With tiny ferns, mondo grass, ground covers, succulents, moss and even conifers, we were like kids in a candy store (check out our full plant choice list below).







Then we were on a roll. We started collecting the mini hardscape features and hit up craft stores, garden centers, even Home Depot had mini garden stuff.  







Kid A strategically placed the stepping stones so he would be able to actually play in his mini garden.  We used succulent and spider plant cuttings with some left over mulch from our garden to tuck in around the rocks.  The tire swing was his favorite.







We added our little forest features. Kid A even created a little fire pit with pebbles and twigs next to the picnic bench (pretty creative for a four year old)!






Although it was the moss that really brought the garden to life.







A few final touches by Kid A included farm animals grazing in our moss pasture, a ladder climbing up to the tree house, and a sundial.

With our mini Tibetan prayer flags for an additional touch of zen, we were done.

Alright, alright, so we did end up adding a little fairy to our garden. A gift from Grandma, I couldn’t resist this sweet fairy with her little son.  And with that, we were finally finished. Namaste.

Our Plant List:

  • Selaginella kraussiana ‘Chartreuse’ (chartreuse spike moss)
  • Aspleinum australasicum ‘Nidus’ (Bird’s Nest Fern)
  • Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Fernspray Gold’ (looks like a fern, but it’s a conifer)
  • Achira aquatica ‘Money Tree’ 
  • ‘Angelina’ Sedum – Stonecrop (great ground cover, does well is part shade)
  • Lamium Maculatum ‘Aureum’ (Deadnettle)
  • Tillandsia (airplants)

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