There exists a time in our imagination when flower fairies are as real as the pillow beneath our young heads. To walk in the garden or woods is a possible chance meeting with these delightful sprites – full of wonder and mischief.
They are not imaginary. They are seeds of imagination – where one can meet a friend at every turn in the path and sojourn for a spell, not beholden to time and commitments. They know things we cannot. They share secrets - small in size yet large in wonder.
They are guides to the enchanted garden.
In ‘The Complete Book of Flower Fairies,’ Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973) introduces us to them in her well-loved illustrations and poems. She began publishing her stories, geared to 5- 8 years olds, in 1923 from her home in South London.
She was not the first to imagine flower fairies. There are tales of these “fayes” as they were first named in western European folklore as far back as the thirteenth century. Sightings of these winged creatures usually carried acts of kindness, though sometimes cheeky mischief, too.
In America, flower fairies and gardens that welcomed them first became popular after the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair when they were featured in bonsai dishes in the Japanese Pavillion. Home gardeners began making their own miniature fairy worlds from broken pots and dishes set out in a secret spot in the garden. Cleverly, a small wooden bench or path made of chipped ceramic would be placed to invite these delightful garden creatures to take up residence.
And anyone who has walked down the aisle of Michaels Craft Store knows that Fairy Gardens have made a come back. There you can find tiny swings and gazebos; miniature light posts and benches. You can spend a fortune outfitting your fairy garden or you can find items at Big Lots and some Dollar Stores. You can make them as small as a tea pot or as big as an old tree root (that's what I'm planning to do - find one of those gnarly tree trunks to make a "Swiss Family Robinson" style fairy garden to share with my nieces).
Be silly. Have fun with it. Let your imagination return. You may find you have something in common with flower fairies - faith.
"Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom
of Heaven as a little child will by no means enter it."