Use These 10 Plants to Build Your Fairy Garden

'Sarah Bernhardt' Peony (Light Pink)
Photo: Gap Photos

When I was little, I vividly remember visiting my grandparents' house and sitting on their screened porch at dusk. All curled up next to my grandmother on the porch swing, we'd rock in the summertime breeze as she recounted stories about "fairies" that visited her house. Wide-eyed and ripe for dreaming, I'd gasp as she pointed out into her garden: "There's one right there! Did you see it?" The little flashes of light (coincidentally quite comparable to those of lightning bugs) appeared and disappeared fleetingly as my imagination ran wild. Although older now, the enchantment of fairies is still near and dear to my heart. These plants are enchanting and bring a little magic to any garden. When I think of the fairies from my grandmother's yard, I wonder how much they would love a purple butterfly bush or the delicate shelter of a sweet pea.

01 of 11

Strawberry Sundae Hydrangea

Pink-and-white-hydrangeas
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Read: Strawberry Sundae Hydrangea

There's a whole lot to love about the South's favorite flower. And here's yet another reason: a new selection called 'Strawberry Sundae' that puts on a colorful show throughout the summer. You will attract a family of fairies in no time.

Expect these shrubs to start sprouting mid-summer with creamy white conical blooms. Later, as nighttime temperatures begin to cool off, the color will start changing to rosy pink. The blooms will keep transitioning to a deep strawberry red by fall.

02 of 11

Choose Chamomile for a Blanket of Flowers

Chamomile
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Read: Use Chamomile as a Summer Ground Cover to Carpet Your Lawn in Flowers

Chamomile has a spreading habit and produces small white daisy-like flowers and aromatic leaves that emit an apple-like fragrance. In the South, they flower during June and July, though the flowering season can stretch into the autumn months.

While often used in pots and borders, chamomile can also be easily adapted for use as a ground cover. When planted in large quantities, it creates a fragrant, no-fuss lawn. Don't all of us--even fairies--want a field of flowers to run through?

03 of 11

Double Delight Roses Are the Two-Tone Blooms of Your Dreams

Double Delight Roses
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Read: Double Delight Roses Are the Two-Tone Blooms of Your Dreams

These roses are what fairytales are made of, and we can't tear our eyes away from how special the garden feels with these blooms included. This bush produces lovely blossoms with creamy yellow or white centers and petals edged with coral or strawberry red.

Double Delights are long-lasting and have a lovely, strong fragrance. They bloom from May until the first frost, and in the right conditions, 'Double Delight' can grow to be 4-5 feet tall and 3-5 feet wide. They're perfect for hedges, in borders, or as flowering centerpieces in the garden. To thrive, they need full sun and regular water.

04 of 11

Choose a Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Sitting on Flower of Butterfly Bush
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Read: How to Grow and Care for a Butterfly Bush

A butterfly bush, sometimes called summer lilacs, have arching stems and long flower panicles. They're available in colors like pale pink, raspberry, light lavender, deep purple, magenta, cherry red, sky blue, icy white, and ivory.

While butterflies visit them to sip nectar, they're not a food source for caterpillars. Find out what kinds of butterflies are in your area, grow plants that their caterpillars will eat, and they're likely to hang around as they go through the different stages of their life cycles.

05 of 11

Plant a Little Sweet Pea Magic

Sweet Peas
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Read: How to Plant and Care for Sweet Pea Flowers

Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are climbing vines with curling tendrils and clusters of dainty flowers. Look for them in crimson, apricot, violet, rose, white, pink, blue, and other colors. Some gardeners think they smell like orange blossoms, honey, and jasmine.

What a beautiful little addition to the garden space you are carving out for the fairies in your life. Which color of this delicate blossom appeals to you the most?

06 of 11

Lenten Roses and Other Hellebore Varieties

Ralph Anderson

Read: How To Grow and Care for Lenten Roses and Other Hellebore Varieties

The Hellebore, often called the Lenten Rose, is definitely not a rose. But the beautiful blossom is one of our favorites, and can yield a satisfying variety of color that would make any fairy or human happy to linger in the garden.

Flowers of the hellebore are usually cup or bell-shaped (those of Helleborus niger are saucer-shaped), sometimes facing outward but more often nodding gently downward. They consist of a ring of petal-like sepals ranging in color from white and green through pink and red to deep purple (rarely yellow). Flowers of all hellebores persist beyond the bloom periods they are often prescribed, gradually turning green.

07 of 11

Yellow Flowering Magnolias

Yellow Magnolia
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Read: We Love the Yellow Flowering Magnolias for Small Yards

While white- and pink-blooming magnolias blanket the South, there's something wonderfully unexpected about yellow magnolia blossoms, and every year, we're seeing more of them planted in lawns and gardens.

Best of all, some of them grow compactly, making them ideal for small yards and tight spaces. Many different sorts of magnolias produce yellow blossoms, but two of our favorites are 'Daphne' and 'Golden Gift.'

08 of 11

Choose Peonies for Good Fortune

'Sarah Bernhardt' Peony (Light Pink)
Gap Photos

Read: Facts About Flowers, Peony Edition

We couldn't love these gorgeous blooms any more than we already do, which is why we're always looking forward to peony season. Adding peonies to your garden is said to bring good fortune to your life. Plant them and be patient; you'll be rewarded with gorgeous blooms once they've matured.

The longevity of peony plants (they've been known to prosper for a century or more!) is one reason they're used to mark wedding anniversaries. The scent is also heavenly, and will surely attract fairies into your life.

09 of 11

Golden Spider Lily

Golden Spider Lily
Steve Bender

Read: We're Loving the Golden Spider Lily

Aptly named golden aka yellow spider lily (Lycoris aurea) grows pretty much like the red kind. You plant the bulbs in either fall or spring. Leafless spears of golden flowers with long, protruding stamens reminiscent of spider legs appear without warning in September and October following a good downpour.

Butterflies love them. After the blossoms fade, the stems dry up and bright green, strappy leave emerge. The leaves last all winter and finally die down in late spring as the bulbs go dormant. Come fall, voila! Another show.

10 of 11

Lupines Are the Cottage Garden Flowers That Always Charm

Lupines
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Read: Lupines Are the Cottage Garden Flower That Always Charm

Lupines are known for their distinctive appearance. The New Southern Living Garden Book describes them this way: "Leaves are divided into many leaflets (like fingers of a hand), and sweet pea-shaped flowers are borne in dense spikes at stem ends."

Bees are attracted to the flowers, but deer aren't known to browse them. Some species can grow as tall as five feet high, while others are more compact and grow to one to two feet tall. The perfect fairy forest for your garden.

11 of 11

Asters Give a Spray of Color

Asters
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Read: Asters Are the Fall Flower That Will Replace Your Mum Habit

No matter the companion plants, the blooms of the aster lend a little color pop to an area and makes your garden special. We see these as replacements for mums, and as the perfect flower for a fairy environment.

There are lots of asters to choose from come late summer and fall, and they also have a wide shade range. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, "The flowers come in white or shades of blue, red, pink, lavender, or purple, mostly with yellow centers; they bloom in late summer to early fall." When you plant asters, they'll require full sun and regular to moderate water, depending on the climate.

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