(Crystal A. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News, Feb. 15, 2012 ed)
Members of the Ferndale Garden Club get restless in the wintertime. That’s why the 40 member group holds monthly meetings to talk about their love of gardening. It’s also a great chance to learn about new and exciting gardening topics. For example, how to attract fairies.
Carol Czechowski of the Herb Society of America gave a whimsical presentation about the connections between fairies and gardens. Weaving traditional lore with practical gardening suggestions, Czechowski had the audience of plant connoisseurs making big plans about little things.
“Queen Victoria was a strong believer in fairies,” Czechowski said. “Even in the US we have them, think about the tooth fairy.” She mentioned that leprechauns, elves and trolls are also considered fairies.
William Shakespeare was also a fan of fairies, and he also knew how to attract them. “One of the plants Shakespeare wrote about was the tri-color pansy. The juice of a pansy is magical. Puck, a fairy, is set out by King Oberon to collect flowers [in a Midsummer’s Night’s Dream]. The King is quite smitten with Tatiana, but he’s afraid he will be rejected. He sends Puck out to get jump ups, the pansies, and Puck presses the juice into a glass crystal.
“While Tatiana is sleeping, they go in and the King puts the juice on Tatiana’s eyes while she sleeps.
“The King waits. …She wakes up happy to see him and they lived happily ever after.”
This and other stories give fairies a legacy and a connection to gardens that folks like Czechowski are happy to enjoy and pass off to youngsters in their lives.
Some plants that go well in fairy gardens include tiny hostas, which grow only to about 2 inches in height. There are also coral bells, “Doone Valley” lemon thyme, and lambs ear which all stay diminutive in size.
“When you look at plants, try to look at them as if you were tiny,” Czechowski said. “What would you use them for? Pinecones could be roof shingles. Milkweed pods are baby beds. Tulips are a hiding spot.”
In addition to natural plants, Czechowski recommends adding miniature furniture and artwork to make the fairies feel welcome.
“It’s a whole different way of looking at your garden.”
Czechowski is primarily an herb-lover – anything but Tarragon, she said. “A hundred years ago when I joined the herb society, I felt so guilty because I didn’t like Tarragon. I felt terrible. But now I feel like this – don’t grow plants you don’t like. It’s that simple.”
The Ferndale Garden Club meets monthly in the off-season. They are getting ready for a big flower show that runs from March 9-11, and also preparing for spring planting. Another task is the scholarship which they offer to Ferndale High School students each year. They give $500 to a graduating senior who has some love for plants, biology, agriculture, science etc.
The Ferndale Garden Club can be found online here (complete with music), or can contact President Carol Olson at email@example.com for more information. Membership is $20 a year, which includes membership at a local and state level.
Read a previous Garden Club story at https://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/10/15/garden-club-growing-since-1931/