How to Create an Enchanted Fairy Forest Garden

created by Sebastian Meyer For the movie Snow White and the Huntsman
Every year before spring, I start dreaming of my ultimate garden and yard.  I let my landscaping dreams go wild.  The reality is I usually just have enough energy to focus on planting and harvesting our vegetable garden.  So while I know it's likely I won't get around to implementing most of any of my landscaping ideals, I still love to dream about it.


I became inspired after watching the movie "Snow White and the Huntsmen" for an enchanted forest. How could I make our yard have the feeling of real enchantment?  Not just putting a few gnomes or fairies in the garden, but really truly magical?  This is what I have been thinking about lately.  First lets look at my inspiration a little and then at how we can create a magical enchanted woodland garden.

My Inspiration: Snow White And The Huntsman
created by Sebastian Meyer For the movie Snow White and the Huntsman
created by Sebastian Meyer For the movie Snow White and the Huntsman

I love how the forest looks realistic (natural) but yet has certain pop to it.  Notice they didn't try really hard to make it stand out from a normal forest, just subtle changes make a big difference.  So what are the subtle changes?  What makes this an enchanted forest?  To me the differences are:
So my question became how do you add colour, whimsy, mystery, and life to your garden?  Here are my ideals:

Add Wild Life to Your Garden
 (birds, butterflies, etc)

      Here is a video someone shot of the wildlife at the restaurant Whiskey River

An Enchanted garden just wouldn't be right without lots of wildlife in your garden.  It's a lot more fun to hang out in and to watch your garden too.  I learned about how entertaining wildlife can be when I visited what was my grandparents (have since passed away) favourite restaurant Whiskey River in St Peter, MN.  I was amazed at the beautiful view of their stream from a four seasoned patio that was full of wild life.  Of course their was the usual animals like squirrels, rabbits, and birds but we also saw turkey's, deer, and a wood pecker.  The reason for all the wildlife was that they had various different types of feeders all over as well as having a stream that runs from the river (I.E.the perfect location for wildlife).  

 I was surprised to find myself so entertained at watching all the animals there and decided I wanted to try to add some of that fun to my yard and garden too.  If nothing else I figured it would be great entertainment for our cat.  So I went home inspired and decided to make my own bird feeder seed cake.  Unfortunately after 3 tries I discovered I was only feeding the squirrels as the whole cake mysteriously disappeared shortly after putting outside.   Since then I have not done anything to try to add wildlife to our garden, but we have attracted lots of birds (they love to perch on our wooden trellises we made and our catnip) and bees just by having a garden.   I plan to attempt to add some wildlife to our garden this year.  Here are some of the best ideals I've found. 

Provide Food

a wire cage over the feeder seems like a good option 
Squirrel Proof Bird Feeders
As I said before I tried to make a bird seed cake  feeder only to find the squirrels take the whole thing.  So obviously you want to make sure you find a squirrel proof feeder (apparently you only want metal as they can chew through wood and plastic) and also employ a few squirrel proof tricks on top of that just in case.   A few tips I found are to keep the feeder well away from trees, roofs, bushes -- or anything that allows the squirrel to leap onto the feeder platform. Another  easy way to squirrel proof is to simply sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes on the tray and seeds. Squirrels are suppose to hate this stuff and are driven away from it! Birds, on the other hand, don’t care much for these and are unaffected by it.  Has anyone ever tried this?  I plan to try this for sure!

Plants that Feed Wild Life
 
Nasturiums are edible!  Spring Rolls at The Gardener's Pantry

I love the ideal of attracting butterflies to our garden but we need to use the space we have that gets sun for veggies, so we either need to put it in a container or have it be a highly productive plant.

My favorites are fennel and nasturiums.  Nasturiums are great because they're edible, help attract butterflies, and keep pests out of your garden by attracting them away from your veggies.  They can be grown in pots too.  We haven't tried this yet but maybe we will this season.  We already grow fennel in our garden.  It did ok last year, but would have done better if we had given it enough space.  I never new this but according to BHG fennel is a host plant to swallow tail butterflies.

BHG Butterfly container garden.  White zinnia and fragrant heliotrope is easy to grow and the butterflies love it.
A. Zinnia angustifolia 'Crystal White'
B. Heliotrope (Heliotropium 'Marine')
C. Coleus (Solenostemon 'Brilliancy') 
Check out free wildlife garden plans from Better Homes and Gardens for more ideals.

Provide Water
Check out more ideals for attracting wild life with water at Learn 2 Grow

If you don't live by a creek or pond you can add a fountain, pond or simply add a bird bath to your yard.  Since adding a pond or major water feature can be pretty expensive and daunting of a task, I would suggest looking at adding a simple birdbath, a solar fountain (no wiring to install and no operating costs), or even a canoe pond (pictured below). 

Floating candles in a bird bath via Truly Devine Design
Our house actually came with a bird bath when we bought it.  We do get the occasional bird or squirrel hanging out on it.  I often dump out the water because I'm worried that it will bred mosquitoes.  I'm tempted to try to get a solar pump to circulate the water so that I can keep water in it more frequently. One great thing about a bird bath is you can also use it as a dramatic planter instead or add floating candles to it for a party.  So if the birds don't end up using your bird bath, you can still use it to add beauty to your yard or garden.
Solar fountain at Home Depot online for $249

Another great easy option is to use a solar fountain.  Someday I plan to get one but not this year.  I like this one pictured at right for a classic garden, or the one pictured below for a natural garden.

I'm surprised that  solar fountains haven't been as popular as solar landscaping.  They're inexpensive and available through most big box stores (although you often need to buy it online and have it shipped to your house or the store).  
Amazon has this stone tiered solar fountain for $211
If you happen to have an old canoe you can actually use it as a pond or water fountain (with a solar pump).  I would make sure it's painted and aluminum so that it doesn't rust out and personally I'd add a solar water pump to it to keep your yard from turning into a mosquito filled swamp.

picture found via Home talk


Give Shelter
I love the ideal from Empress of Dirt of covering up your bird house with stones.
They're are lots of ways you can give shelter to a variety of animals with landscaping but since I live in an urban area, have a large veggie garden, and compost pile I'm worried that many of those suggestions I've seen will just provide homes for mice, raccoons and other pest that live in my neighbour hood.
But there is one creature that I would like to attract that's easy to house.  You guessed it birds!  We have one that came with our house (I think a woodpecker lives in it).  Luckily our next door neighbour has a ton of cute birdhouses he built himself.   One cool thing about bird houses is that not only can it add birds to your garden but it can also add whimsy to your garden. Below are my favourites. 
I love Rebecca's Bird Gardens ideal of using repurposed materials to create bird houses that are planters too!  Check out her roof top garden bird house below too!
Love the dual purpose of this bird feeder from Rebecca's Bird Gardens
If you have a tree you need to get rid of you can actually use the stump for bird houses.  Here are a few examples I like. 
How cute is this use of an old stump in Joy Hale's garden (which is beautiful by the way)
I love how this stump  from Dave's Garden is covered by ivy.



Add Mystery and Whimsy to Your Garden

One meaning of enchanted is to fill (someone) with great delight; charm.  So what are some ways to add charm and delight to your garden?  It's not hard to find great ideal online to add charm and whimsy to your garden.  Your limited only by your imagination.  Some great ways are to add unexpected items, lighting, and tp create mystery by making outdoor rooms, doorways, and meandering paths.

Add Lighting

Lighting can add a sense of magic to your yard and garden at light.  And now with so many options for solar lights it's easy to add lighting anywhere you want.  Here are some of my favourite ideals.
I love this small solar powered lighted fountain  on Amazon for $30 it's only 7 x 6 x 16 inches so it would be great as a centre piece.

I love this ideal via My Home Lookbook put dollar store solar lights on a planter hook.  I plan to do this on our garage soon.
Add Mystery

Charming Winding Paths
How adorable are these concrete stepping stones by Tuffits?

Add Something Unexpected

Unexpected Furniture
This is where the real fun comes.  Let your imagination soar remember our only rules are to bring delight and charm to our garden.  So what do you find delightful and charming?  Personally I like the ideal of real wow factors for this one something that will really make some take pause in a good way.  You can create this with just plants and dirt like the "lawn chair" pictured below, with found or recycled objects, or items you make or purchase.  Below are my all time favourites.  
I love this chair made out of grass!  So tempted to do this....  via Design Sponge

Unexpected Planters

I've posted about the ideal of planting dressers  I love colour combo of these flowers and dresser.
Dress form turned planter with roses from Nostalgia at the Stone House

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1 comment:

  1. You present some good ideas here (lol, I tend to let myself go with such dreams). I do wish, someday, to be able to see the Cardinals close up, and a real Monarch!

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