Edgeworth Garden club members get in spirit of creating all-natural abodes

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 8:24 p.m.

The fairy spirit has caught the imagination of the Edgeworth Garden Club, president Pat Happe said.

Club members last week built fairy houses and gardens, miniature abodes constructed from all-natural materials such as moss, seeds, pine cones and bark fallen from trees that are created to give the appearance that tiny creatures reside inside.

The houses usually are placed in home gardens, but these houses will be used around the area as advertisements for a fairy-house event April 20 at the Mary Roberts Rinehart Nature Park in Glen Osborne and then donated to the park.

Happe said a request from Natasha Green, a member of the Osborne Trail and Park Association, sparked the club's interest in the fairy houses, but now members have decided to build more to sell at the 48th annual May Garden Mart sponsored by Sewickley Civic Garden Council on May 11.

Club members built the fairy houses with guidance from new member Kristin Dorich Hodgdon of Darlington.

Dorich Hodgdon said the club members did “awesome work” with the fairy houses.

“It is hard work opening up your imaginative creativity, piecing together natural objects, placing them in just the right spot, then securing them on an already natural surface,” she said.

“The group of ladies is very creative. I did not have to teach them anything really. The ladies went all out decorating and had so much fun that three hours of creativity went by in a flash. Some had shared memories of building fairy houses with siblings as children out of twigs.”

Happe said member Katie Cullo showed a fairy house she has owned for several years, an intricate design of stairs, different levels, “a whimsical structure.”

“It immediately caught your imagination about fairies in our gardens,” she said. “Imagination and escape from the daily news is what seems to catch the spirit of those who do this.”

Club members also brought many different types of natural materials to use on their creations, from seashells to tree bark and everything in between, Dorich Hodgdon said.

All the materials must be dried unless it is a living-roof fairy house, where moss and tiny succulents are used.

Dorich Hodgdon began constructing fairy houses last year when she found herself with load of wood from an old barn that was taken down on her farm.

“I started out building a simple birdhouse. As time went on, I started decorating them with unique natural pieces. Since the wood I use is very old and weathered, no two houses look alike,” she said.

“I have six different construction designs for the houses. Then I decorate them according to how I feel and how the house looks.”

Happe said the meeting was so successful that club members, who now have become avid collectors of nature materials for their creations, are considering offering another workshop open to anyone who wants to attend, possibly in April before the park event.

Happe said fairy gardens can be seen in home gardens all over the area. Some will be included in the club's Backyard Garden Tour in July.

Dorich Hodgdon, an emergency nurse for 22 years turned hobby farmer, said she thinks fairy gardens and houses have become so popular because “everyone craves a peaceful place.”

“Whether it is sitting in the garden with fairy houses, butterfly houses or bird houses, we feed our inner self. In today's world, everyone deserves a place to retreat, and the back or side yard may be just the answer to a rough day or week.”

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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