Fairy Gardens, Beach Treasures, and Other Creative Garden Projects

 In Art in Santa Barbara, Environmental Education, Family Friendly, School Gardens

Guest Blogger and Garden Educator Rachel Jutkowitz shares some of her most popular and creative ideas straight from an Explore Ecology School Garden. 

Here’s Rachel!

Not to say I never get sucked into my couch watching Netflix, but in general, I am a person who likes to stay active. If you’re looking for ways to stay busy with your family, here are some simple ideas. Since we are lucky enough to live in Santa Barbara, no one lives too far from the ocean. There are plenty of beaches accessible to us that will never get crowded. A beach walk, either alone or with your family, can easily fill an afternoon or morning.  Whenever I take a stroll on the sand, I search for treasures. If you have kids, treasures can be anything: sea glass, cool rocks, shells, bones, crabs, etc. This is especially fun at low tide. Make sure to bring a bucket!

This afternoon, I went for a walk at the closest beach to me in Ellwood and came back with a bucket full of flat, water-worn rocks.  Next, I used paint pens to make plant labels for the plants that I planted in my garden.

Usually I would use wooden signs, but then you have to purchase the wood and spend time nailing it together. Using rock labels saves a bit of time and money. If you’re a plant nerd like me, you can also write the Latin name of the plant as well. You can also use these rocks to make gifts for people who might need to be cheered up, like an elderly neighbor, a grandma, or an overworked parent. 

If your kids helped you collect treasures at the beach, you can also create a fairy garden.  Simply make a little space in your yard and add shells, cool rocks, bones, feathers, sea glass, marbles, painted rocks, or even some dollhouse furniture for an extra touch. Those shiny, colorful faux gems people put in vases are a hit with young kids. Fairy gardens have been hugely popular in school gardens. You’ll be amazed at how long it will engage most children. It can stimulate their imagination as they craft little stories and adventures in their fairy world.   Feng shui-ing a fairy garden can be very therapeutic for adults too! 

Have fun creating in the garden! We’ll be posting more tips and projects for you in the coming weeks. If you have a question for Rachel, please comment on this post and she’ll get back to you!

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