Fairies, imps, little folk, leprechauns — all the ministrants seen and unseen we will now discuss are not just at the bottom of a fine garden but at its middle and top; indeed, they are all through the plot. They are the makings of a good garden as much as expertise in general and fine compost in particular. They are enormously, energetically busy, as busy as the atom and, of course, equally invisible. It is not necessary to see something to believe in it. Think of odors. Think of music. Think of greed. Think then of fairies and you will not find it odd to believe in them.
It is they that heal the interrupted, spaded-up earth with green, year after year. It is they that open buds, send aromas through the air, give those final touches to a composition to make it memorable. Stone without them would have no alleviating patina of moss or lichen and, as for this annealing, aging process, any bit of hardscaping, be it birdbath, fountain, or watering can, would remain quite offensively new, and forever parvenu.
One can count on fairies to each morning create jeweled harmonies of dew on spider webs. They darken the eyes of frogs so deeply that they are obsidian pools, their bodies wet and all shades of emerald and jade. Fairies are always skating on the surface of still pools. When not, they make sweet partings in the grass as they stroll and cause porch rockers to tittup gently back and forth, breeze or no breeze. The ears of your cat prick in sleep and your dog may growl when they are passing by. And you will feel a coolness from nowhere on your arms or neck.
Fairies are the mighty forces of invention that give your gate its remarkable individual screech and make utterly familiar and beckoning the sound of your screen door. If the shutting of the screen door brings back your pet, haven’t the fairies done it for you? I find their assistance enormously helpful in finding lost tools as well as pets, for they give me unerring inklings of where they might be. If they wish, they will keep ants away from picnics and bees as well, but only if they are in a large wood. They are impossible to prorate and are insulted if you call them, and in a tantrum if you leave out bowls of cream. They do seem to have favorite spots in the woods (always clearings) and certain sorts of people (and you just might be one), but as for gardens and gardeners, alas no, here one day, gone the next and, just when one feels utterly abandoned, back again, busy as always.
I find that they are most prevalent in spring and in autumn, but you may have had different experiences.
Postscript: The author in no way wishes to out fairies. He merely reports the rapport he has had with them since earliest childhood.
Make your garden fairy-friendly. Believe and they will come.