Nestled between hole 16 and 17 of High Meadows Golf Course, in a curve of the cart path that takes you through a shady, wooded area, sits a fairy village that adds a little bit of magic and whimsy for golfers at High Meadows.
Fairyville, the fairy garden of Denise Horne-Kaplan, has been a part of High Meadows Golf and Country Club since Denise and her husband Rich moved into their house in 2011. “The natural moss and rocks down at the edge of our yard inspired me, it just looked like a place where fairies would be,” Denise says.
Fairyville might be only a few years old, but Denise’s love of fairies and fairy gardens goes back much longer, to her childhood and the stories her mother told. “My mother was born and raised in Devonshire, England, one of the places where fairies come from,” Denise says. Fairy lore abounds in the areas of Devon and the West Country of England. Her mother kept the traditional fairy stories alive by telling them to Denise, who was raised in Massachusetts where her mother moved after marrying Denise’s father, whom she met while he was stationed in the UK with the U.S. Air Force.
Later, as an adult living on Frye Island in Maine, the Denise’s garden club would visit Mackinac Island. There Denise was introduced to the world of fairy gardens. The gardening tradition of building little houses and landscaping with miniature plants to entice fairies brought back all the memories of the stories from her mother, and Denise fell in love with fairy gardens herself. The gardens became a great outlet for Denise to express her creativity in new ways. As a professional artist, her days and often nights are filled with researching, brainstorming and painting. While her professional art is very creative, it is also her work. The fairy gardens provided an opportunity to get outside the studio and get her mind off work for a little while, to rejuvenate and stay motivated for her art.
When Denise and Rich left their home in Maine and moved to High Meadows, she had to leave behind a much loved fairy garden. But it turned out to be an opportunity to create a new one, here in North Carolina.
Denise takes a traditional approach to her fairy garden, preferring to use all natural materials when possible. The houses and structures are made of bark, sticks and moss-covered roofs. Accessories such as benches and swings are made with acorn caps, pine cones and other fun things Denise finds while walking through the woods.
Fairyville is a busy village, with a magic shop, unicorn stables and the mayor’s house all surrounding the Gathering Hall, the centerpiece of the garden. Miniature decorations, such as a chalkboard announcing the events coming up at the Gathering Hall, add a sense of whimsy to the garden and help make it more inviting to fairies and other guests.
This spring, in the midst of the moss and leaves that surround Fairyville, a ring of ferns grew up in perfect circle right near the Gathering Place. It just might be proof that fairies are populating Fairyville, and bringing a little of their magic here to High Meadows Golf and Country Club.
Next time you’re out for a round of golf, rather than speeding through to get to the next tee, take things a little slower the next time your finish up on hole 16. The little village created by Denise is worth looking at, and who knows, you might even see evidence of fairy life.
To learn more about fairy gardens, Denise suggests these books:
Fairy Houses of the Maine Coast by Maureen Heffernan
Fairy Gardening: Creating Your Own Magical Miniature Garden, by Julie Bawden-Davis
Fairy Houses … Everywhere! By Tracy Kane and Barry Kane