EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated August 2018 with information about how the fairy garden kit has performed after some use.
My grade school-aged daughters saw this Special Buy Gardenline Fairy Garden Kit at Aldi and immediately liked it. We do a lot of gardening at home, so we decided to try the kit. We’ve owned it for a few months now, and it has some pros and cons. The good news is that the accessories are cute. The bad news is that the planter box is not as functional as it should be.
This kit sold for $12.99 at the time of purchase, and it came in two varieties: a 12-piece stone fairy kit or a 10-piece colorful fairies kit. The stone kit includes a fairy figurine, tree, arch bridge, snail, 3-piece stepping stones, watering can, fence, decorative stones, and wooden display. The colorful fairies kit includes 2 colorful fairy figurines, frog figurine, seesaw, welcome sign, arch, bench, fence, decorative stones, and wooden display box.
My daughters opted for the colorful fairies kit.
The kits claim to be good for indoor or outdoor use, and they do not come with any plants. The moss shown in the display pictures on the packaging also is not included. The kits are made in China, and the packaging indicates that these are not toys; they are decorative items only.
An insert inside the box has information for customer service in case you’re missing parts or “having difficulty assembling” the product (but there really isn’t much to assemble). The insert provides a phone number and email address for TDC USA Inc., a company in Fairfield, N.J., that sources seasonal and household products. The company was founded in Hong Kong and later opened a U.S. branch. It has a showroom in the New York metropolitan area where buyers can personally shop, and they also maintain a supply of stock replacement parts. The card inside the fairy garden box instructs that “when writing or leaving a phone message please include your name, phone number, name of products and model #49875/81232.”
Upon opening our box, all pieces were present and intact. It took only a few minutes to unpack the items from their Styrofoam and plastic bag packaging. We noticed the fairies’ faces are entirely flesh-colored. There is detail — eyes, noses, mouths, etc. — but there is no color on their eyes or mouths. Otherwise, the accessories are cute and seem decent for what we paid. The picket fence that goes around the whole garden is a nice touch.
The fairy garden is built inside a basic wooden box that is about 10 inches square and a little more than 2.5 inches tall.
I wasn’t sure how to go about planting and setting up the fairy garden because wood isn’t exactly waterproof, and live plants need water. I decided to line the box with some plastic to make it more waterproof and hopefully prevent the wood from rotting as quickly. For lack of better gardening supplies, I used a simple plastic shopping bag to cover the bottom of the inside of the box, and it went up the sides of the box an inch or so. Then we filled the box with potting soil (also purchased at Aldi a few weeks earlier).
My daughters decided they wanted an outdoor fairy garden rather than an indoor one. We took a few plants and odd things we had growing already around the rest of our yard/garden/patio and put them in the fairy garden box: a single snapdragon plant poached from a flower pot where it wouldn’t be missed much, two green onions from another flower pot (the onions were purchased from the grocery store and used down to the roots, then planted so they can grow back again) to provide interesting height, and a tiny volunteer oak tree start that I dug out of a flower bed this spring and that captivated my daughters.
My youngest daughter said, “You’re planting a tree in the box?” I explained that it wouldn’t outgrow the box anytime soon, and for time being it fit nicely among the fairies and their accessories.
It truly was a unique and eclectic array of plants that was kid-centric, but it worked for us and — more importantly — I didn’t have to buy extra plants to fill the box because we used what we already had.
My oldest daughter planted everything and arranged the fairies and accessories in the box. Then, we watered our new garden. That part was … interesting.
Despite the fact that I had lined the wooden box with plastic, the corner seams leaked like sieves when we watered the garden. It left a large puddle around the box. I was immediately grateful that we hadn’t opted for an indoor garden because it would have been a watery mess on the coffee table in my sun room or in my kitchen window.
After a few weeks of use, I noticed the wooden pieces that form the corners of the box are starting to come apart, so I don’t know how long the box planter will last beyond this summer. We still plan to use the fairies and accessories in a regular flower pot, though.
I’m not sure exactly why the planter is a wooden box anyway. It’s completely impractical. I suppose another option besides lining the box with plastic like I did would be to set plants in individual small containers or pots inside the box, then add soil/moss/etc. to disguise the fact that the plants are in pots. Then you would water only the individual pots.
Another option would be to use artificial plants that require no water, but there’s little fun in that. That’s kind of what the display on the packaging for the garden kit looks like, though. It looks like fake craft store moss.
Perhaps one argument for using fake plants or craft store moss in this kit is the fact that the box is small, so it doesn’t hold much moisture during our hot Midwest summers here, especially when we go on vacation and the garden doesn’t get watered much. Eventually, everything but the onion died, and then the onion started looking scraggly, so I pulled all the plants out and simply nestled the box kit among some day lilies in a large garden bed in our yard.
Something else I noticed with this kit was that after a month or two outdoors, the fence that goes around the perimeter of the fairy garden began to deteriorate. It is made of pressed wood, and the layers are all beginning to curl and separate. I’m not sure how much longer the fence will last. I’m also not sure if this is a common problem with most fairy garden fences or just with this one.
If you’ve purchased this kit or a similar one, let us know in the comments how you set yours up and what plants (real or fake) you used. Leaking box and faulty fence aside, the fairy garden kit is still cute, and my kids are enjoying it.
Aldi’s Special Buy Gardenline Fairy Garden Kit is cute, but the container for the entire garden is a wooden box that leaks badly if you put live plants in it and water them. My box leaked a lot even though I lined the inside with plastic, and the corners of the box are starting to separate slightly. Because of the leaking, although the packaging states it can be used indoors or outdoors, it’s better for outdoor use if you’re going to use live plants in it. If the box completely falls apart, we’ll simply use the fairies and accessories in a regular flower pot. The fence that came with the kit began to degrade after a month or two outdoors; the layers of pressed wood are peeling apart, so I’m not sure how much longer it will last. The fairies that came with our kit did not have facial details like eyes and mouths painted on them, but otherwise they are decent. My kids like the garden, so it’s a purchase I’m mostly okay with, despite some of the kit’s shortcomings.