Metro-East Living

Scenic fairy gardens inspired by creator’s interest in travel

This beach scene miniature garden is the work of Susan Hellige, of Creekside Gardens in Collinsville. It reminds her of Florida.
This beach scene miniature garden is the work of Susan Hellige, of Creekside Gardens in Collinsville. It reminds her of Florida. News-Democrat

Susan Hellige’s fairy gardens might make you want to pack your bags.

“I think of places I would like to visit on vacation, and put together my own look from that,” said Susan, who creates fairy gardens at Collinsville’s Creekside Gardens. “I pick out things that remind me of those places.”

She was thinking of the beach when she arranged striped beach chairs, a grill and a red tricycle in a sandy, mossy setting. A round pot in a stand holds the miniature setting.

“We go to Florida every winter,” she said. “The coleus, we trimmed it up to look like a palm tree.”

An East Coast-themed, small-scale scene has a rustic fence running through it, a red bicycle in the sand and small plants all around.

Susan chooses plants, depending on the setting.

“We do a lot of succulents. They don’t require as much water. We do have some plants that are smaller, that will remain small. Asparagus fern, you can keep it trimmed or pull it out at the end of the season. Creeping wire vine has tiny round leaves.”

Susan became interested last year after Creekside got in a good selection of fairy stuff, including rocks, sand, rustic-looking furniture, houses, swings, fairies, gnomes and tiny battery-operated lights.

“I thought they might be tedious to do, but they are fun,” she said. “Part of the fun is experimenting.”

Some customers buy completed ones. Others like to do their own.

“Some people do (fairy gardens) straight in the ground on a larger scale, underneath a tree or on the edge of pool,” said Susan. “Some just do one in a small pot on a table where they can look at while enjoying coffee in the morning.

“A lot make them with grandkids and kids. They just think it’s kind of fascinating.”

— Maureen Houston

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