You and I both know that certain things or situations can 'set us off'. It can be small and sometimes even quite tiny things that can cause that reaction. It is also this way with miniature fairy gardens (but in a good way). What do I mean? When looking at a garden I need that calm, one-dimensional and most often one colored mass effect to set off the rest of the scene. I have found that using grass, lawn or ground cover will create that effect perfectly. This is especially important because some of us are prone to go a bit overboard and add way too many small accessories to our theme gardens (or even worse in a non-theme garden). This is when I find the miniature garden very quickly becomes a sensory overload of too-muchness and I feel it is in dire need of a soothing ground cover.
When planning my mini garden, I begin by imagining a miniscape with a fairy cottage or a small decorative Elm or Hemlock tree placed towards the back. The grass can effectively be planted as a front yard lawn, under a tree, on one or both sides of a path winding towards the cottage, bordering the flower beds or as a lawn used for playing sports or games. If the theme I am planning is more of a ‘back to the farm’ theme, I can use the lawn as a field and add an animal pen with horses, cows and the rest of the farm crew. In both designs, the lawn creates the soothing look of the miniscape.
The question is what kind of plants can I use to achieve that look? The main issue that I will need to address is selecting varieties that are naturally low to the ground and will remain that way. My first choice is Baby Tears as the tiny round leaves have a rich green color and the plant gives the impression of soft, fine moss growing in moist shady areas. Even though some plants like Baby Tears work wonderfully for a while, they can tend to mound and will then need to be sheared back. The Baby Tears plant is also a great little indoor or terrarium variety. For the outdoor miniscape, I could select several other good choices.
Elfin Thyme will grow horizontally if it receives at least five hours of sun a day. I enjoy planting this compact creeping thyme for a very good-looking lawn around fairy houses. Another plant to consider is the Wooly Thyme that covers the ground with a dense mat of tiny, hairy leaves. As an added summer benefit, little pink flowers will appear. One of my favorite lawn covers is the Scotch Moss that favors clay soil and sunshine. Considered an evergreen, Scotch Moss dislikes drought and wet feet. The yellow tint in the foliage brings an attractive color theme to the miniature garden.
Give your miniature fairy garden a grassy’tude by planting ground covers as lawns. The look of a lawn will unify the miniscape and give the soothing feeling that mini gardeners, including myself, desire when we appraise the appearance of our hard work.
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