I just adore folklore, storytelling and encouraging imagination so creating a special garden room where children can lose themselves in their own play is most rewarding. Far from the draw of the dreaded games console and the idiot-box TV, this neglected kind of inventive play can flourish.
They say the future will need creative thinkers to develop new medicines, new technology, solve problems and lead our industries so developing creative thinking abilities at a young age is an investment for time to come.
Gardens which are modest in size often appear more spacious when screened off or divided up into different rooms. The typical European fairy garden needs areas of deep shade which can be gained from mature trees, fencing or awning type structures, the modern application of which comes in large sunshade calico triangles for suspending between posts, trees or fences.
Ferns, foxgloves, fairy grass, lily of the valley, primroses and wild violets thrive in shade and with other additions like cyclamen, miniature daffodils, aquilegia, crocuses, mosses, hostas and ivy, the season of interest may be extended. Fairies certainly need places to play and old tree stumps are perfect. If you can devise a small pool or water feature, perhaps a water lily or lotus could survive.
Children who have a garden space to play naturally benefit from exploring nature, noticing the changes of the seasons and the various patters and forms of plant life. I remember my excitement playing ‘helicopters’ with my older brother (sycamore seeds), seemingly for hours at a time, striving to fly the perfect flight. Of course, the seasonal conker hunt and resulting competitions in the school playground brought together different children we did not usually see or play with. No bad thing for community relations.
Once established, the fairy garden room will attract magical dragonflies, frogs, beetles, snails and spiders which amplify the attraction for children. Safely within hearing distance but concealed from direct view, a garden room represents the ideal ground for children’s imaginations. In that empty-headed state of grace, which is such fertile soil, is the ground from which the biggest dreams and ideas burst forth.