Shelby Gardeners Club to explore edible fairy gardens

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published May 6, 2019

  The Shelby Township Gardeners Club will host a presentation on edible fairy gardens with Melodee Beals, from Dancing Meadow Farms, at 1 p.m. May 9 at the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center in Shelby Township.

The Shelby Township Gardeners Club will host a presentation on edible fairy gardens with Melodee Beals, from Dancing Meadow Farms, at 1 p.m. May 9 at the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center in Shelby Township.

Photo provided by Melodee Beals

 Chamomile can be used as part of an edible fairy garden and adds a nice scent.

Chamomile can be used as part of an edible fairy garden and adds a nice scent.

Photo provided by Melodee Beals

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Township Gardeners Club will host a presentation on a new form of functional gardening that brings both food and the beauty of fairy gardens together as one.

The garden club’s presentation on edible fairy gardens will be held at 1 p.m. May 9 at the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center in Shelby Township.

Melodee Beals, the owner of Dancing Meadow Farms, will share her tips and tricks for choosing and designing a fairy garden that is both functional and attractive to the eye.

Ivy Schwartz, the garden club’s publicist, said that fairy gardens are already a big trend and that adding the functional part makes edible fairy gardens even more interesting for adults and children.

“There are many styles of gardening infused with current trends. Fairy gardens have been extremely popular in recent years. Success is due to the preference of gardening in small spaces and, more importantly, the joy these delightful creations bring to children. Thirdly, on trend now is fruit and vegetable gardening in small spaces with the increased awareness of healthy nutrition,” Schwartz said via email.

During the presentation, Beals will show how to plant an edible herbal fairy garden and explore different herbs that are best suited for indoor and outdoor planters.

“We really like working with and experimenting with different varieties of herbs,” Beals said in an email interview.

“There are so many varieties available, and we will be discussing different herb varieties along with their growth habits and culinary uses. We will focus on herbs well-suited for indoor, smaller fairy gardens as well as outdoor, larger fairy gardens,” she said.

The presentation will include options other than the regular herbs you may normally use while cooking.

Beals said there are benefits to using other varieties of spices, and some that are not used as much can add flavor to the garden.

“As a couple of examples, instead of regular basil, we will look at the benefits of different varieties like Cuban, columner, Thai, etc., as well as an underused but delicious herb, marjoram, and its different varieties.”

Beals said there will be a large variety of unusual herbs at the presentation to help attendees plan their designs.

“We are bringing a selection of actual unusual herb varieties to touch, feel, smell and taste, as well as some small herb garden examples,” said Beals.

She also said the presentation will include tips such as sizing herbs correctly for the container or location.

“There are plenty of really interesting choices,” said Beals.

Linda Pelloni, the vice president of the garden club, said that the club has its own fairy garden in Heritage Gardens — located behind the municipal offices at 52700 Van Dyke Ave., south of 24 Mile Road — but the idea of adding edible features is new to the club.

“Fairy gardens are becoming more and more popular, and even the Shelby Gardeners feature one at Heritage Gardens, but I have never seen one done as totally edible. I feel this topic is of interest for (people) young and old, and can be displayed inside and out. I think more and more people will get on board with this, because it is not only an attractive display, but a useful one,” said Pelloni.

The event is free and open to anyone.

The club is always looking for people to join. Founded in 1973, the Shelby Gardeners Club does charity work and hosts its garden walk fundraiser in July every other year, which is the club’s biggest fundraiser. The brick walkways, planted beds, gazebo, statuary and fairy garden in Heritage Gardens are supported by the club’s fundraisers, ranging from the garden walk to craft and plant sales.

The club also hosts many free community lectures throughout the year at the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center to educate and share gardening joy. To join, email lindapelloni@yahoo.com.

For more information about the club, visit www.shelbytwp.org/gardeners.

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