Fairy gardens meant to spark youth interest

FAIRMONT – Martin County Fair-goers will have a new entry in gardening to see this year, as fairy gardens have joined the judged categories in the flower division.

Fairy gardens are gardens in miniature, with the addition of whimsical dwellings designed to scale.

The category is the brainchild of Fairmont’s City of Lakes Garden Club, which was looking for ways to bring children into gardening.

“Last year, we had only one entry in the junior division,” said club president Theresa Schneider. “We were wanting so much to get the younger generation involved in gardening, and we wanted to start with something small.”

Schneider said entries come as small as an oversized teacup, allowing students who don’t have a large yard or much parental involvement to participate in the event.

The club held a booth at the elementary school during a family event, showing students how to make the gardens and asking students if they would be interested in a gardening club.

“Both boys and girls were interested in a garden club,” Schneider said. “I was surprised at the response of the youth.”

It remains unknown how many fairy gardens will appear at the fair. Entries are due and will be judged today in both the adult and junior divisions. The gardens will remain on display until Thursday.

Schneider said one of the reasons she believes it is difficult to get students to enter flowers at the fair is simply a lack of knowing how to do it.

“The interest is out there,” she said, “but people don’t always know how to enter. Unless you are in 4-H, you might not know the process.”

Regardless of the turnout today, the City of Lakes Garden Club has found youth with the desire to get their hands in the dirt, a boon for the future of the club.

“We have older members of the garden club who are so blessed to have the younger ones around,” said Schneider, “and the younger ones are blessed to have the older ones around. … If we can inspire gardening, it brings inner peace and structure. They can see living things growing.”