How To Make A Fairy Broom When The Need Arises


The Fairegarden fairies sent a registered letter to the caretakers of their gazebo. It has been more than a year since any maintenance has been attended to, and things have fallen into disrepair. To read the story about last year’s efforts, click here-Beefing Up The Fairy Gazebo. To read about the initial construction of the fairy gazebo, click here-Fairy Gazebo.

There is rain in the forecast. Any minute now, according to the doppler radar map bookmarked on the laptop for instant weather checking pertaining to garden tasks when the impulse strikes to run outside, the sky will open wide and say ahhh. Or maybe that is the garden saying ahhh, but anywho, the fairy gazebo area is a mess, so saith the letter. The fairies are aware that when the rotting carcass that was the stump of red maple tree Ferngully finally bit the dust, it just missed hitting their hideway and rec center by a hair. Luck was with us that day, click here-Ferngully-End Of The Line if you wish to read about it, as the huge trunk hit the ground with a thud. The decomposing bark and innards scattered with great force, ricocheting here, there and everywhere. At the time, the imperative was to get the larger pieces picked up and the path made passable. There was great gratitude that the gazebo was spared, but clean up was postponed until a later date. Then it was forgotten while the ferngully pieces were categorized and filed away for future use.

Inside the gazebo, Ferngully debris, fallen leaves and pine needles have made the moss carpeted floor uncomfortable for little bare fey feets. It needs to be swept out.


To the left of the gazebo, where the tree trunk landed, the special plantings are emerging with fresh spring growth, undamaged. English bluebells, Hyacinthoides non-scripta and Primula veris have been spread there and are filling in nicely. The elfin thyme planted in tiny terra cotta pots on each side of the entryway has spilled over the pot edges and is sweetly creeping over the stone approach. Little steps will release the herb’s scent as the gazebo welcomes their arrival.

The material chosen from which to make the broom, after perusing the garden for likely candidates was the lavender, Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ that was growing nearby. It has been learned from past tragedies that the lavender must not be hacked pruned until the new growth of spring is well under way or the plant can be killed. These cuttings were taken from the longest stems, leaving plenty of foliage on the plant for protection until the weather has warmed for good. Speaking of weather, there is some haste required as the rain clouds hover in the distance. This project needs to be completed before the first drops fall, for the camera is not waterproof. We must hurry. Fifteen scented pieces were assembled, bottom leaves stripped and all trimmed to equal length, about ten inches.

Waxed linen was chosen to do the binding, because it is more water resistant, should the broom be kept out of doors in case the fairies needed to do a bit of sweeping up after an especially big party, like Midsummer Night’s Eve. The spool also happened to be hanging in the craft room. We began winding the stems together and were reminded of brooms that have been made in the past. Broom making was one of the more fun and rewarding projects here, beginning with the purchase of broom corn seeds on a visit to Colonial Williamsburg one year. The seeds were planted, the plants grew to gigantic proportions and brooms were made, using instructions found online. A post was done about it that can be read by clicking here. Thinking about those full sized brooms, it was decided that the fairy broom should be more than just a batch of bound twigs. A branch of Chamaecyparis was chosen, the same material used to make the gazebo. It has held up well to the elements and again, was growing nearby. The initial attempt was unwound and rewound around the branch that would be the handle. The foliage was left on for now, but will quickly brown, dry and disentegrate. It adds some pizzazz for the photo op.


The weaving of the binding, over and under, around and around is the most fun part of broom making. We were quite into the making of baskets for several years, especially using material from the garden, and still love to weave. The waxed linen proved an excellent weaver, sticking to itself to keep the line taught, which is very important for brooms and baskets. You want to pull the weaver as tightly as possible without snapping it or the stakes. The lavender, though freshly picked was brittle and a couple of pieces did break off during the process. (Lavender flowers and stems are often used to make sachets, weaving the stems with ribbons after pulling them upside down and over the flowers to make a little cage. A how to post about that should might be made this summer, no promises however.) But there was the rain to come at our backs and adjustments were quickly made to keep weaving.


Perfect it is not. If graded, it might receive a D+, C- if the teacher was kind and liked the chocolate offered as a bribe. Onward. Or should we say outward.


The long handle made it easy to reach into the interior parts of the gazebo. The lavender did the job of removing the leaves and needles without stirring up the moss too much. The stone bench was given a smooth finish, ready for lounging wee folk to recline or a group to sit close together whilst regaling each other with tales of derring do.


After the clean sweep, the moss floor was replenished, patched and pressed down for good contact with the bare earth, better to get a foothold, so to speak. The coming rain will help to settle it in. The lovely piece of stained glass, a gift from offspring Brokenbeat and wife Mashley, thanks guys, and a very happy fifth wedding anniversary today!, was hung on the back wall. A piece of Chamaecyparis was added, note the more reddish stem of fresh material on the left of the glass, to help hold it in place during raucous dance marathons in the mosh pit. A feather boa, no that is a crocheted scarf from some colorful yarn that we have been wearing to keep our neck warm during winter gardening, you would be surprised how having the neck cozy makes one feel more comfortable in sub freezing temps, was woven around the doorway to add some much needed color.


All cleaned up and ready for use, ahead of the rain even. You can see what we mean about the need for color until the flowers begin blooming. There is a definite need for some winter interest planting here, another project for the to do list. Where is the broom, you might be asking? As seen in the first photograph of this post, it is laying across the top of the gazebo, nearly invisible, isn’t it?


Let’s bring it inside and hang it with the other brooms we have made, until the need for it again arises. Then the next time the Fairy Caucus thinks housekeeping needs to be notified, the tool will be at hand.

Other Fairy postings, not linked in the above story can be found here:

Furniture Building
Planting For Fairies
Fairies Part One
Fairies Part Two
Fairies Part Three
Check That, A Fairy Preview
Faire Garden’s Midsummer’s Night
At The Gate

Yes, it could be said that we got carried away with the theme in the spring/summer of 2008. Things have evened out a bit since, but the Fairies are still part of the Fairegarden. It is hoped that they always will be.

For other How To posts written by Fairegarden, look for How To on the sidebar page listing or click here.

Frances

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32 Responses to How To Make A Fairy Broom When The Need Arises

  1. gittan says:

    Frances, I just love to see your little Fairy Gazebo. It reminds me about the old tree stump in our frontyard. This year the fairies here will have huge problem to use it as there home. Muschrooms have been taking over the entrance and I don’t really know wht to do, remove them or let it be the way it is… Hope you’ll have a wonderful spring day / kram gittan

    Thanks Gittan. Your old stump sounds so delightful. I might be tempted to clear a small doorway somewhere for the fairies on it. Maybe make a little door to help show them the entrance. Today is full of promise for sunshine and warmth. I will be out as soon as the sun rises. I wish the same conditions for you, my friend. :-)
    Frances

  2. Of course this is entirely necessary and as you say, ‘when the need arises’, ha.

    What attention to detail!

    I clicked through to the broom corn post. You really did make brooms, I’m impressed.

    I guess the word on the fairy street is Fairegarden!!!

    Thanks Rob. And thanks too for reading the old post. It was a once in a lifetime deal, I have never been able to find seeds or grow the broom plants again. We did make a lot of brooms and a special one for Semi’s wedding that year. We try to make the garden a welcoming spot for the fairies as well as the wildlife. The two go together. :-)
    Frances

  3. My goodness. I’d better shut down my laptop before the garden fairies get on here and see that gazebo all cleaned up and decked for spring. They would surely pack their bags and head south to your place and never return! I love the brooms!

    Thanks Carol, but I believe your fairies would certainly return to Maydreams after visiting, like they did for the Midsummer’s Night Bash. The local fairies love to entertain their northern brethren. :-)
    Frances

  4. Barbara H. says:

    Your brooms are beautiful. What lucky fairies. This was a lovely post to wake up to this morning. Thank you.

    Thank you, Barbara. I am so glad you enjoyed the fun. :-)
    Frances

  5. Oh, Frances I’d give the fairy broom a B+ just because it’s made with lavender! Offer the teacher another bit of chocolate and urge her to smell the fragrance of the stems and foliage. She’ll change your mark.
    Just what I needed for a happy-making post before I go give a talk this morning. Thank you so much. :-)

    Thanks Jodi. Glad to hear the teacher can be bribed. The lavender was a poor choice, way too brittle to last for any time, but it does smell nice. Good luck with your talk. :-)
    Frances

  6. Joy says:

    Love the brooms Frances ! and a BIG YES to over zealous pruning to lavender from past experience .. plus buddleia .. but that is what keeps our brains sharp ? learning all the time is the key : ) I love the moss and little magical home .. your fairies and assorted magical folk must be very happy : )

    Thanks Joy. Yes, the buddleia is exactly the same, and so cried out for pruning in late winter. We must be strong, and patient, and remember not to do it! LOL If the fairies appreciate effort, they should be happy here. :-)
    Frances

  7. Hi Frances. Love it, love it, love it. You are so imaginative and creative. Wish I was a fairy so I could party in the gazebo.

    Thanks so much Heather, you are too sweet. Sometimes I pretend to be small and go inside the gazebo. It is a fun place and the moss feels so good on hot summer days, and nights. :-)
    Frances

  8. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, What a delightful visit to the Fairy gazebo…and the mosh pit scarf does look festive on the doorway. Your fairies are way lucky to have a gardener with taste! Love, love,love the broom…it fits in beautifully with your others…Have fun out there! Beautiful here, too! gail very nice stained glass fairy, too!

    Thanks Gail. I did have a rule about only natural materials for the gazebo, but was wearing the scarf at the time and had the impulse to wrap it around the doorway for some color. It has been rained on and still looks good. It will stay for awhile, the fairies like it. Have a wonderful day outside, my friend! :-)
    Frances

  9. Sweet Bay says:

    Frances, you are so good to your garden fairies. :) I would have told them to use their wands.

    HA Sweet Bay, good one! I must be a helicopter mom to the fairies, I certainly was NOT to my own offspring however! :-)
    Frances

  10. Lovely post(s) I enjoyed reading about it, Maybe you should leave the brush out there for those messy fairy’s to clean up after themselves. Or perhaps advertise for a fairy who is also a keen DIY’r to move in.

    Thanks Sunny. I love it, we do need a DIY fairy, there is too much heavy lifting around here! :-)
    Frances

  11. Lzyjo says:

    Aww, Love your gazebo and fairy broom. Thanks for sharing those clever booming weaving techniques. I would love to see some of your baskets from garden materials, have you posted about them? Also I loved reading about your broom making project, beautiful result btw, where did you end up getting the correct sorghum vulgare seeds from? Thanks.

    Thanks Lzyjo. I have not posted about baskets on the blog, but planned to and then forget. We have not made any baskets in several years for various reasons, not the least being the weakness and pain in my hands that has come with age. Maybe this year we will do a post about them. I bought the seeds while on a visit to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. It was December but there were some seeds for sale in the garden shop. I have contacted them about getting more and it seems it was a one time thing. All seeds that I have ordered and purchased have not been the right kind of tall broom. I asked a couple of local broom makers and they get their materials from Mexico. Saved seed from the process is not ripe, for the stalks must be cut well before the seeds are viable. It was one of those things that cannot be repeated, like so many, if not all things in the garden. I am happy to have grown and made the brooms, most were given away to family and friends. The whole point of the endeavor was to make a broom for offspring Semi’s wedding that year, and we did.
    Frances

  12. Laurrie says:

    Delightful post (and informative!) Your fairies are so lucky to live in your garden.

    Thanks Laurrie, glad you enjoyed it. :-)
    Frances

  13. Catherine says:

    I remember reading about the gazebo last year, it’s so cute. Glad you gave the gazebo a Spring cleaning for the fairies, I’m sure they will appreciate it. The brooms are works of art!

    Thanks Catherine. That is the kind of spring cleaning that we don’t mind doing, lol. :-)
    Frances

  14. Jenny B says:

    Frances, I LOVE your Gazebo! I have lots of building material from all the trimming and pruning I have been doing. I can’t bear to send it off to the landfill, and have been trying to dream up projects to use them. Would you mind if I borrowed your idea?

    Ah, now I know why my lavenders never survive–I have been pruning them back too soon. I thought maybe I was too lax in my pruning habits. Your little lavender broom was beautiful. I would give it an A+, but then never having made either broom nor basket, I am in awe of the patience and artistry of them.

    Thanks Jenny, please feel free to build whatever you like. I will be honored to have played a teensy part in offering inspiration. I feel the same about cuttings, they seem like they should always be made into something, but often biodegrade before I get around to it. As for the lavender, I wait until several weeks past our last frost date of April 15, just to be safe. Thanks for the good grade. :-)
    Frances

  15. A lovely little fairy broom…how creative. And any fairy would be proud to have such a lovely little gazebo too.

    Thanks CV, glad you liked seeing the fairy part of the Fairegarden. :-)
    Frances

  16. Wow, ingenious, just ingenious. I love the fairy house and the fairy broom.

    Thanks Monica, glad you enjoyed seeing them. :-)
    Frances

  17. Kimberly says:

    Frances, what a fun, captivating post! I’m impressed with your fairy gazebo and with the care you give it. The broom is a wonderful craft, as is basket weaving. I’m certain the fairies will appreciate your efforts!!

    Thanks so much Kimberly. I do appreciate your kind words, glad you liked learning about the gazebo. :-)
    Frances

  18. Rose says:

    Frances, I still remember your 2008 post on Midsummer’s Eve; to this day, it remains one of my favorites ever! So I’m very glad to know that the fairies’ gazebo is all spruced up for their return–I do hope they’ll have another wild celebration like the one in 08.
    I’ve been gone for the past week, visiting Older Daughter in AZ, and not only have so much catching up to do in blog reading but in the garden as well. It seems Spring arrived while I was gone, and while no fairies here have been scolding me for not getting busy, the flower bulbs are complaining that they can’t bloom unless I get some of those old leaves off them:)

    Thanks Rose, you are such a dear. I know it was fun in AZ, and that lots happened in your garden while you were gone. Sounds like it is time for you to get out there! :-)
    Frances

  19. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Your brooms are fantastic Frances. You might have told me why I haven’t been able to keep lavender alive. Maybe I cut it back at the wrong time. Hmmmmm. Your garden fairies are certainly a pampered bunch. No wonder they thrive in your garden. Do you have any fairy spuds in your garden? I just learned about them in Gails post today. I have them in my garden and didn’t know this charming name for them. Cheers.

    Thanks Lisa. No, I don’t have the Claytonia that Gail mentioned today, but it is going on the list! :-)
    Frances

  20. TC Conner says:

    I made brooms using a special machine many years ago. It’s a lost art now. I think I’ll go eat some chocolate and relive those memories.

    (I want to start a collection of garden fairies, any tips?)

    I saw a picture of that machine when looking for instructions about how to make the brooms, it was way too much for little me. Broom making does take a certain amount of physical strength, which I am sadly lacking. As for attracting fairies, please check out the list of posts about that topic at the end of the post. Those should cover just about everything you need to know. :-)
    Frances

  21. That little broom is a work of art. You’ve got some very lucky fairies.

    Thanks MMD. Our fairies are somewhat demanding, what with registered letters and all. I am doing my best. :-)
    Frances

  22. Well first of all, my children would love to see your fairies enjoy their clean gazebo. Secondly, I am amazed at how beautifully made your brooms are. I do remember seeing some that look similar on a trip to Williamsburg. When we visited China, the street workers used brooms made out of branches tied together.

    Thanks, Noelle, it is certainly child oriented, being so low on the ground. I have to lay belly flat to fool with it, lol. Broom making is a old time craft, often shown at shows in this area. There is a very fine broom maker in the Asheville area, whose brooms are also hanging on my wall, his are true works of art, mine are quite amatuerish in comparison. I do love the Asian style brooms, perfect for moss gardens.
    Frances

  23. Lola says:

    Oh my, what a lovely post to read at this hr. That helps with the misery’s I’ve had today. Sure getting tired of the a’s & P’s.
    Those little Faries will be enthralled with a clean home. My the parties that will go on. If your not careful they may keep you up at night with their caring’s on. Be very still & you just may see them.

    Thanks Lola. I am sorry to hear about your pain, hope today is a better day for you. As for the fairies, good thing I am a very sound sleeper, but I would love to see them just once. :-)
    Frances

  24. Stevie says:

    is there anything you can’t do? It’s so much fun to visit your blog.

    Thanks Stevie. Hooboy, there is so much that I cannot do, including things that I used to be able to do but cannot do now, it would fill the Library of Congress, lol. Glad you enjoyed your visit, and do come again! :-)
    Frances

  25. marmee says:

    what a clever girl you are making all those brooms and displaying them. love it.
    the fairies will not be able to complain for a long time.

    Thanks Marmee, you are sweet. I am hoping that this keeps the fairies happy for at least another year. At that point the gazebo might need an overhall. The Hinoki wood is long lasting, but nothing lasts forever out of doors. I am thinking of a redesign that might be easier for me to maintain. :-)
    Frances

  26. skeeter says:

    A great tool to remove debris from the Fairies Gazebo! I see so much when visiting places such as Williamsburg but never follow through with the ideas in my head. Kudos to you for making your own broom for Fairy House keeping! This should keep them happy. Does the broom give a scent while hanging on the wall?

    Thanks Skeeter. I do love going to places like Williamsburg, seeing how things were done long ago and trying to find a way to insert that into my life today. If one’s nose gets close enough, yes, the lavender is scented. :-)
    Frances

  27. joey says:

    Dear Frances, you are alway a delight … adore the Fairy Gazebo and love your clever/artsy brooms <3

    You are so sweet, Joey, thank you. Glad you enjoyed the gazebo and brooms. :-)
    Frances

  28. SummerHouseArt says:

    Love the brooms, they are so beautiful. Thank you for the instructions to create one too. I’ll have to check for any other How to projects in the future.

    Thanks Summer House and welcome. There have been a few how to posts, click on the category section so named on the sidebar to see them. :-)
    Frances

  29. keewee says:

    Frances, that is a cute little broom to adorn the gazebo, you are so talented.

    Thanks Keewee, I appreciate that. Glad you enjoyed the gazebo cleaning story. :-)
    Frances

  30. Your talents never cease to amaze!

    You are too kind, Cameron, thank you. Your own garden is quite a talent showcase as well. :-)
    Frances

  31. I bet every sweep scented the room. Lavender dies if you cut it too soon? Now that’s why all of mine didn’t make it. Great tip, and superb craftsmanship on those brooms.

    Jen

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