enchanting summer homes
Zilker Botanical Garden seeks budding fey architects for 2023 Woodland Faerie Trail
Love thy neighbor, but don’t give them your name, eat their food, or trespass. You can’t be too careful when the fey — in this case, your design clients — move in. Zilker Botanical Garden has opened applications to “become a faerie home architect” on the 2023 Woodland Faerie Trail.
Skilled architects and well-meaning amateurs alike can purchase a four-by-four-inch plot for $25, as applications are accepted in the order they’re received rather than based on skill. These woodland creatures can appreciate houses of all shapes and sensibilities, but photos the garden chose for inspiration are mostly stick, moss, and pebble-based.
The houses are exposed to the elements, so architects should consider durability. However, landscaping is the exclusive purview of Zilker Botanical Garden and the woodland creatures, so plants are not accepted. Neither are glass, plastic, non-solar lighting, and a few other materials listed in the builders’ guidelines.
Faeries have been living in the pop-up neighborhood since 2013, when the garden started the tradition, and 2022 saw a record number of new builds on 75 plots.
Walking the path is free for anyone who buys a ticket to the garden ($8 or less depending on age), and sometimes there are surprises like a story time for children, harp and flute music, or wearable wings for sale. Before the fairie houses are installed, Zilker Botanical Garden has another, more adult-oriented walking trail called the Surreal Garden (April 6-8, and13-15) — essentially a garden rave amid neon art installations.
More information, including guidelines and dates of installation and removal, is available at zilkergarden.org.