In no time at all you have mastered the basics of fairy gardening. As each of your tiny seeds took root, the fairies took notice. The more you tended your garden bed, the more the fairies tended to you. I’ve probably said this more than one hundred times already, but the fairies love your garden and they are no doubt helping you along. One surefire way to tell if the fairies have visited is if the garden is lush and vibrant. If for some reason your garden hasn’t taken off, don’t despair, sometimes environmental factors like wind, heat, drought, or too much rain, make it hard for even seasoned gardeners.

If you find that certain things disappear from your garden, like a trowel that you just set down, or a packet of seeds fresh from the garden store, maybe you have some mischievous elves, trolls, or even naughty fairies counteracting your efforts. To protect yourself in this event, there are very simple steps to take. First, wear your clothes inside out, then put a pinch of salt in your pocket, a red ribbon in your hair, a sock under your bed, and make a daisy chain. After doing all that you should be fine!

But back to the good stuff, whether those friendly, non-troublesome fairies are visiting YOU! This is where all of the patience you developed from watching seeds grow into plants comes in handy, because to see signs of fairy visitation one needs to take, what they call the “long view.” Taking the long view basically means knowing things might not happen right away.

But there are certain clues of fairy visitation to look out for. If you are ever in the garden and see out of the corner of your eye, a flicker or a glimmer, almost like a firefly, around a plant, and if you see it and then you don’t, well, that surely is a fairy. If you see a little globe, pearlescent perhaps, in the heart of a flower, that may be a baby flower fairy. Tinkling of bells where there is no known source of music is another common sign. Many fairy seekers report seeing wind eddies or whirlwinds, or the bending of grass blades with no perceptible cause. Sometimes, the chills or goose bumps, or even a rise in the hair on the back of your neck, may mean a fairy is nearby.

Some of you lucky few might one day even see a fairy ring. A fairy ring is a circle of mushrooms, stones, or grass that is taller than the rest of the grass. Just remember, do not step inside as you may be whisked to fairy land with no chance of return. Dew tents, the little wispy canopies over the grass in the morning are always a good sign that fairies have had fun the night before. And if you ever come across broken twigs arranged in patterns, that usually means a fairy is trying to tell you something. Pay attention!

Another sign of fairy presence is unexplainable losses of time but childhood is filled with those and it might be hard to differentiate when those times are caused by fairies. I sure hope you lose track of time plenty, because that is when magic happens. Think of all those times when you are playing with your best friend afterschool and in what seems like five minutes your parents are there to pick you up. Talk about unexplainable losses of time!

The best sign of all that fairies have found your garden delightful is uncontrollable laughter. Side-splitting, deep-down, snorting, tear-inducing, pee-in-your-pants-by-accident, yeah, you know, that kind of laughter. The best kind. That is what the fairies will do to you if you are not careful! And that is what I wish for you as you garden—laughter and a sense of time slipping carelessly away as you tend to all the beauty around you. May your garden grow strong and your roots delve deep.