Carol Lieber has a village of her own.
Imaginary animals inhabit tiny homes, work in miniature gardens, and play around small plants in the fairy garden under a tree behind the Center Road home she shares with her mother, Maida Miller.
Her mother came up with the idea, Lieber said.
"We have a friend who lives west of the Buck and has a miniature garden with a train," she said. "My mother saw that and loved it. And, since she's almost 96, what she wants is what she gets. It's like an outdoor doll house created with living plants."
Lieber put the first garden together four years ago and has created a new one every year since then.
"Part of the fun is redesigning it every year and adding new things," Lieber said. This year's garden is about four feet wide by four feet deep and includes many figures from the Beatrix Potter fairy tales.
Fairy gardens became popular about five years ago.
"That's when the figures and everything started to become a thing at local greenhouses," she said. "They have both the miniature plants and the fairy garden houses, figures, and accessories. It was a new feature then and now it's gotten hot."
The houses, fences, and figures are 1:12 to 1:20 scale.
At the end of the growing season, she will bring them inside, clean them up, and store them for the following spring.
Most of the plants die off during the winter, although some make it through the cold months.
"It's fun to see what peaks up at the end of April," she said. "I choose plants that look like little shrubs and trees. They last all summer if you take care of them. This year, I planning to try to retain some the plants for next spring."
Although her garden is on the ground, some people create them in large planters.
"You can do it to your budget and your taste, to the context of where you live. It can be very tiny or very large and complex," Lieber said. Her summer garden stays in place until fall. Then Lieber works on two seasonal gardens, one for Halloween and the other for Christmas.
Whatever the size and season, a fairy garden is a great way to relax. "My garden is my staycation. The fun is planning the garden and deciding where everything goes. It's all a puzzle and I adore that," she said. "I have a number of kids in the neighborhood who love to come here and play with the garden. We play games there."