Miniature memories

Hannah Ferguson, left, and Shelley Kosmo show their first fairy garden home Wednesday afternoon. The Bayport grandmother and her granddaughter have expanded the garden over the last five years from this first building to stretch across the Kosmo’s backyard

Fairy garden bonds woman and her granddaughter

BAYPORT — Miniature furniture, a fairy cafe and a gnome home aren’t typically found in a garden, but they have sprouted in the backyard of the Kosmo family’s garden.

The fairy garden — created by Shelley Kosmo and her granddaughter, Stillwater Junior High School seventh-grader Hannah Ferguson — is about creativity and sparking the imaginations of the pair who bonded over a shared love of the creative arts since Ferguson was little.

“It all started with our first house that we bought at Bachman’s and we couldn’t resist it. Hannah loved nature and learning about birds and pine cones and things like that. For a long time after we created the fairy garden, we’d go on walks and found bark and branches and put it in our garden to create things. It just grew from there,” said Shelley Kosmo.

Fairy gardening is gardening in miniature with the addition of whimsical dwellings designed to scale. Although there are no rules to creating a fairy garden, there are themes that most fairy gardens share. They include fairy houses, dwarf plants and small-scale ornaments.

The miniature sites built into the Kosmo’s garden include homes, gazebos, a fairy cafe, a gold mine and various things that they’ve used their imaginations to create. Ferguson’s grandfather, Capt. Jim Kosmo, has even helped by building some miniature chairs.

“It’s all about being creative together with nature and plants and having something to do together,” said Shelley Kosmo.

“My favorite part is just gardening and doing all this stuff and planting,” Ferguson added. “Working at it and being creative with things is really fun.”

“It’s a really creative outlet for them and even though in winter you can’t really get to the garden, they have a shared love of interior and fashion design and are always working together. Hannah’s always making new fashions for clothes. She wants to be a famous fashion designer some day,” said Jim Kosmo with a note of pride.

“More of a famous interior designer right now actually,” Ferguson responded.

If that’s the case, Ferguson is well on her way. The fairy garden is a beautiful set up that wildlife have taken notice of, according to Shelley Kosmo.

“It was so funny. We had a squirrel in here just the other day. I think he decided hat he liked it too. He was just walking around and looking at things as if he was noticing everything that was new,” she said.

Other times, hoof prints left in the garden have led to learning opportunities. Ferguson determined recently, with some help from the Internet, that they had a buck, doe and fawn walking around their garden.

According to Ferguson, new things arrive occasionally in the garden and change parts of the area. Some examples include covering a path they’ve built with plants, changing what used to be a miniature fire pit into something representing a gnome’s farm field and adding a farm stand for the gnome so he could sell items to the fairies. Although changes are fun, the memories built around the garden are important to Shelley Kosmo.

“There are a lot of memories here. When we first started on the first house, she (Ferguson) was starting to lose her baby teeth and of course we’d pretend there were real fairies. After a few times during the building, she asked if the fairies were real, and I was thinking ‘Oh dear, what do I say,’ so I told her that these fairies were pretend. That’s when she asked me ‘What about the tooth fairy,’ ” Shelley Kosmo said.

“Yeah, but I still thought it (the tooth fairy) was real for awhile after that,” Ferguson teased.

“And even though we know that actual fairies don’t exist we like to pretend they do,” Shelley Kosmo replied, patting her granddaughter on the shoulder.

Ferguson has since started her own fairy garden, Shelley Kosmo said proudly. Ferguson said her new garden took a year to plan and is smaller than her grandma’s, but it’s built on wood chips instead of gravel. The hardest part for Ferguson was placing and choosing the plants and putting the plants where they needed to go so they got the right amount of light.

Ferguson didn’t say if her friends have commented about her own personal garden, but the garden that she and her grandmother have created has sometimes drawn neighborhood kids and neighbors who wanted to show their own grandchildren the garden. Those visits might let the neighbors create their own memories.

Contact Avery Cropp at