Guerilla Gardening: Making Esna's fairy "Seed-Bombs"
As the mom of five, four sons and a daughter, my favorite tool for teaching children about science, the environment, ecosystems and living a greener lifestyle is gardening. Gardening with fairies adds magic, fun and imagination to the mix.
Since the very first time Garden Fairy Esna put ink to paper to answer a child's pandemic concerns she has always included various seeds and garden lore to her replies. She gives Love-in-a-puff (balloon vine) seeds that are black with little, naturally occurring, white hearts on them. She also gives seed paper hearts that have "plant me" written on each one for children to plant and grow flowers.
To parents, teachers and caregivers Esna often recommends the book Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon LoveJoy.
As we enter our second year of the pandemic my garden and the planting process will be different because of the fairies and the children who visit the Fairy Tree and Fairy Garden each day.
When I planted my front garden during the start of the pandemic in 2020 I never planned for the challenges of hosting fairies, elves, hobgoblins, tiny dragon Fae and thousands of small children all blossoming together.
This year I know better and have enlisted Plant Fairy, Esna to help me make the Fairy Garden more magical, fun and child-safe.
The garden has always been a wild English garden style with a riot of perennials like fragrant Aster, Shasta daisies, Iris (Japanese & bearded), roses (tea and classic), honeysuckle, mint, raspberries, yucca and foxglove (which was moved this year for child safety), plus annuals such as Zinnias (of varying heights), Moonflowers and Mamouth Russian sunflowers.
There is also a healing herbs section that will move into pots that will line a new set of stepping stones so that children can learn about different varieties of mint, teas and other plants that are used in teas and traditional medicianals.
The garden is bordered by tufts of Liriope spicata with its purple spikes which also surrounds the Fairy Tree.
However, when toddlers began to run headlong into the garden in search of Esna and other fairies I made the decision to remove all rose bushes, raspberries and anything else that might be pointy or potentially toxic from the mix for a safer 2021.
The fairies view this as a huge opportunity to explore new additions and fun ways to engage children in participating with the fairies to help plant the garden.
I settled on making "seed-bombs" using a great mix I found on Amazon from Seed-Balls.com in Pennsylvania. This company is not paying me to write this, or advertising. It's just a brilliant idea that people have been doing for a long while that has been made accessible and easier by this lovely company founded by a mother and her teenage son who love our planet.
These bags cost $19.64 via Amazon and provide a matrix mix of "floated red clay, coconut husk, compost and vermiculite to which you can then add any flower seeds you choose. The company also sells pre-made seed balls with pollinator and wildflower seeds already in them. These are made to work in your growing zone. The website also has very affordable purchase options from their "oops" category of overruns or odd-ball seed balls.
I also recommended coloring the "seed bombs" (like Easter Eggs for fairies) once they have dried using their super easy method. Although the easiest way is to buy their no-fuss kits.
This would make for fairy fun reverse egg hunt where kids could hide these in the garden for the fairies and watch as they dissolve and grow into flowers.
dry soil-based seed balls (purchase or make your own)
milk (dairy, almond, and soy all work well)
corn starch or holi powder (check out our no-fuss-kits)
assorted food colors (not needed if using holi powder)
small cups or bowls
a fork for each color
a small paint brush for making patterns
apron or smock
Prepare several cups or bowls with a small amount of milk and starch. 1 part milk to about 2 parts starch. Mixing with a fork works well because it breaks up the clumps. You don’t need a lot. About 1/4 cup mix for each color. The consistency should be that of honey. Adjust by adding more milk or starch.
Add ample food colors to each cup. The color will lighten up considerably when it dries, so GO BOLD!
Plop a seed ball into one of the cups, count to 5, and lift it out with the fork, allowing excess seed ball color to drain away.
Place on wax paper to dry.
For this first round the seeds I used included Love-in-a-puff, zinnias, cotton and iris. Herbs, milkweed, pollinator plants, wildflowers and fragrance garden plants will be next.