With her picturesque Catonsville garden--filled with winsome fairies, winged Lilliputians, and miniature, moss-covered castles and cottages--Sheila Heinze has created a true fairy tale tableau for her daughters Samantha, 5, and Alexandra, 3.
"This garden was really all about the girls," says Heinze. "When Samantha was younger, I used to lay in the hammock with her, and I would tell her stories about the fairies and how they were up in the trees having a picnic. Then, one day, I just thought, 'Why not put some real fairies on the ground where she could see and touch them?'"
Heinze wanted to create a garden that could let the girls' imaginations roam.
"I thought it would be so cool to have this magic garden so that my girls could go through it slowly, and every time they turned a corner, there would be all these little surprises," she says.
To help with her magic garden, she called on Gretchen Hanson, owner of 3 Chicks on Sticks, an interior design and landscape company. "I wanted to provide a private world where the kids could play with their invisible friends and have their own little realm inside this big garden," says Hanson.
While the focal point of the two-plus acre garden is the fairies and sprites, the rest of the property was equally magical for Heinze when she and her husband Larry, a technology sales specialist, first moved to the neighborhood eight years ago.
"The appeal was the neighborhood," recalls Heinze, who is president and CEO of SM Consulting, an IT firm. "It reminded me so much of where I grew up in Western New York, with big sized lots and homes that were all different from each other."
Heinze immediately fell in love with the white shingled Victorian home, with its distinctive wraparound front porch, but the unlandscaped grounds needed some serious work. And although Heinze grew up playing in her paternal grandfather's tulip garden in Hamburg, New York, she says, "I am not a gardener extraordinaire. I'm not good at knowing what's going to grow in a particular zone or what's going to look good together. I rely on the experts for that. But I have my vision."
Giant splashes of color were definitely part of that vision.
"I do love color," says Heinze. "Color makes me happy-my eye is drawn to it, and it nurtures me. I like the big impact of monochromatic color-like the whole yard is trimmed in bright pink impatiens. Against the trees and green grass, it's spectacular."
It was also important for Heinze to have a garden that was appropriate for a Victorian home. "I wanted old-fashioned flowers and plants-something you'd expect to find if you went to Grandma's house," she says.
To create even more of a Victorian feel, Heinze added an old-fashioned wooden swing, an antique rocking horse, and a vintage church pew purchased from an antique shop in Ellicott City.
"What does my garden mean to me?" ponders Heinze. "I love the happiness that the colors bring me, and I love sharing it with my girls. I travel 100 miles per hour. It brings me peace to walk around my garden. Just arriving home I'm able to shed the day-my home and garden are just a beautiful place to be."