Faerie Tales

– Posted in: Garden Adventures

Next time you’re in the garden, close your eyes, breathe deeply and recall your first encounter with fairies. I have my mother to thank for explaining to me, when I was five, that rainbows caused by sunlight shining through prisms indicate the presence of fairies.  Smart woman.

Since then, I’ve looked for fairies, and occasionally find one—though luck does play a part. It’s like hunting four-leaf clovers. You have to be observant and know the signs. These eucalyptus flowers, for example, are clearly the components of a couture outfit. Fairy fashion.

An angel’s trumpet tree? Yes, but also a ballgown bush.

There are celebrity fairies, like Tinkerbell. Her closet is full of pink satin flowers like these.

You’ve heard of fairy shrimp?

Osteospermums are a mundane name for the fairy version of Disneyland’s spinning teacups.

Fairies are difficult to photograph. They’re skittish and move quickly, like dragonflies and hummingbirds. But they’re also intelligent, and when they sense a kinship with you, they may pose.

This one watched me for quite a while before briefly alighting. Then, just as quickly, she was gone.

This sign at Heart’s Ease garden shop in Cambria, CA, sums up the fairy philosophy where humans are concerned. Have I had fairies grant wishes? Actually, no. They’re rather vain and self-absorbed. Should you find an unselfish fairy, you’re fortunate indeed.

I spotted this fairy on a garden tour. Dozens of people had walked right past her. She smiled shyly, and when I waved back, she let me take her picture.

I found this fairy, amazingly, at a busy shopping center. The occasion was South Coast Plaza’s Spring Garden Show in Orange County. The fairy and her Frog Prince were at the M & M Nursery booth. Not surprisingly, one of M & M’s specialties is fairy gardens.

A playhouse and Magical Garden that my neighbor, Cindy Payne, created for her daughter, Bella, was made fairy-friendly by Bella’s aunt, professional artist Julia C.R. Gray. Look at the lower right.

Julia does stunning paintings of frogs. No wonder fairies are keen to have her paint their likenesses; they have a fondness for amphibians.

This fairy attractant is in the garden of Santa Barbara landscape architect Sydnie Baumgartner. I didn’t see any fairies while I was there, but I suspect flocks of them show up when the light is right. All those prisms.

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Debra Lee Baldwin

Debra Lee Baldwin

Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified, all Timber Press bestsellers. Her goal is to enhance others' enjoyment and awareness of waterwise plants and gardens by showcasing the beauty and design potential of succulents via books, articles, newsletters, photos, videos, social media and more. Debra and husband Jeff live in the foothills north of San Diego. She grew up in Southern California on an avocado ranch, speaks conversational Spanish, and at age 18 graduated magna cum laude from USIU with a degree in English Literature. Her hobbies include thrifting, birding and watercolor painting. Debra's YouTube channel has had over 3,000,000 views.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin
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