Do you have a fairy garden or a miniature garden? What’s the difference between the two? And does it matter?
Miniature gardening is a combination of two hobbies really. Gardening and miniatures and there is a strong focus on both. The gardening part is important and great attention is given to the choice of vegetation in the miniature garden just as in any other garden. Like other miniaturists miniature gardeners are concerned with scale. The object to the exercise, apart from simple enjoyment, is to create a tableau in which the parts are realistically proportional to each other and of a constant proportion to the real world. The most common scale is 1:12 where 1 inch represents 1 foot in the life size version. The choice of plants is geared to seemingly be proportional as well. Structures and other miniatures are meant to mimic real life objects.
Fairy gardening on the other hand does seem to wander from scale in all directions. Fairies not being real ( sorry believers) , no one really knows what size a fairy is and so choosing a scale is not so important. Fairies are often depicted as using whatever is on hand to suit their purpose, making a bed of a birds nest or a home in a purse. But fairies inhabit a world with other fantastical beings who have a scale of their own and fairies – well, they pilfer indiscriminately from all!
Realism is almost always completely abandoned with fantasy structures and companions as real as the fairies themselves in abundance. It’s in this area that fairy gardeners can enjoy the wild creativity allowed by their non-chalance.
Both fairy gardening and miniature gardening are a delight to those who enthuse over them – so in the end- does it all matter? Possibly yes – to miniature gardeners- and probably not at all to fairy gardeners.