When two-year-old Zoey Garris made the owl fly, she flew him into a pond. She then left him, standing on his head, as she zoomed in on her next victim, a nearby turtle.
Her playtime had just begun.
Garris is just one of many to have come through and play with the figurines in the small gardens now on display at Cold Creek Nurseries. These gardens are called fairy gardens.
Tiny furniture, plants and figurines are often seen in the gardens, according to employee Michaela Berley.
“It brought back memories of when (I) was a little girl and had a doll house,” customer Bridgitte Gunnells said.
There is nothing you can do wrong with these little lands either, Berley said. It's all whatever comes from your imagination.
People tend to mimic a typical garden setting.
Therefore, the fairy gardens contain “most anything you can find in someone's own backyard garden setting ... There's swings, ponds, pathways,” Berley said. “We're really just taking it down to a smaller scale so that the 'fairies' can come and live in these little landscapes.”
Gunnells has made a handful, owning two complete ones.
She has used animals, stones and other little trinkets that can be found in stores. However, she has done her own handiwork like using a container's bottom filled with water for a little pool, using a craved out gourd for a garden's base and gluing birds to a small bench and birdbath.
The garden's size and location are also up the person, Berley said.
Berley has one by the mailbox, while Gunnells has one by the pool.
Do keep your plants in mind, though, Berley advises. For example, place the indoor gardens where the plants can adequately grow.
Gunnells personally adores using thyme.
“The leaves are little and stay green. They come back every year, and I like the way they droop over the pot,” she said.
She grows the plant in her backyard.
The true magic of the fairy garden lies with the little mysteries it brings.
“Fairies like to play tricks and move around in the gardens and hide things,” Berley said. “You can look at (your fairy garden) today and see one thing and then look at it tomorrow and see something different.”
And she doesn't mean just with the plants growing.
Gunnells is a secretary at Millbrook Elementary.
When Gunnells completed her first fairy garden, she took pictures of it to work.
“They went nuts,” she said.
And the gardens took off.
Gunnells and some staff members built one for Millbrook Principal Denise Huff. Huff kept it around for the rest of the school year.
“It was amazing,” Gunnells recalled. “The children would come by and loved it. One little boy would come in and move stuff around, saying, 'I think this would look better over here.'”
Every day, a new item was added, or an old item was moved. It was then a game to figure out what changed with the garden.
The urge to make one seized librarian Michelle Goings. Her childhood treasure, her Smurfs collectibles, are the staple of the Goings' garden.
When Nurse's Day came about, one was made for nurse Sue Pelc. Pelc included her childhood touch, too – her miniatures.
The first one made, though, was in honor of Lisa Wrikard. Wrikard was the mother of three students and very involved with the PTO, Gunnells said.
When she passed, Gunnells, Goings and other staff members came together to create an oblong-shaped garden for her two daughters and one son.
It was to “let the little fairy remind them of their mom,” Gunnells said. “(The gardens) bring a sense of peace.”
Gunnells made one for her own mother, too. It sits on her backyard porch.
“She said she's not good with plants, so wants me to keep it through the heat a little bit for her,” Gunnells said, smiling a bit.
In addition to being a fun, quick activity, fairy gardens just can make a day brighter.
“If you felt bad, it would just relax you and put you in a good mood,” she said.
Cold Creek Nurseries is located at 398 Hitchcock Parkway.
For more information on the gardens, call the shop at 803-648-3592.
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner These little fairies take any pose for customers who want to purchase them at Cold Creek Nurseries.×
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner Aiken resident Bridgitte Gunnells uses items like this gourd and thyme with her fairy gardens.×
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner The fairy and frog rest in the middle of Bridgitte Gunnells’ fairy garden.×
Staff Photo by Stephanie Turner This Cold Creek Nurseries display shows that not only fairies have to live in fairy gardens.×