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Local students put their imagination to work on garden homes for gnomes
Pedro Villanueva reads a sign identifying the tree his group’s fairy house was built in. - photo by Michelle Boaen Jameson

Gardens on Green hosted students from Riverbend Elementary on Tuesday for an exercise of creativity.

The group of fourth-graders were given a quick tutorial in making "fairy houses," then separated into small groups and picked out supplies to construct their tiny town.

Using building materials found in nature — along with a little craft glue and floral tape — students used spacial reasoning skills, teamwork and good old-fashioned ingenuity to create homes complete with all the amenities.

Some groups elected to use moss for beds, sea shells for pools and rosemary sprigs as rooftops. More elaborate homes for the fantasy garden creatures included wooden swings, flower petal chandeliers and zip lines.

The idea for the event came from Hall County Master Gardeners Janelle Whalen and Kathy Lovett after seeing a demonstration at a children’s gardening symposium by "fairy house" artist Betsy Williams in Virginia.

The goal of the event, according to Lovett, was to help kids appreciate legendary tales of garden fairies while increasing awareness of and interest in details of nature.

They also learned to identify specific leaves, flowers, seed pods, lichen, moss, twigs and plants in the gardens and used creative thinking skills to build a fairy house using only natural materials. To do this, they had to work cooperatively to accomplish a task.

The fairy houses will remain in the gardens to be enjoyed by visitors. Master Gardeners are hosting a Garden Walk from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Saturday which will include six private gardens and Gardens on Green. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at Gardens on Green Saturday.