Next to woodland fairies, flower fairies and other garden fairies are the most popular and common. These sprites have been playing in our gardens since the first ones where ever planted, and reports of the "fey folk" have come in from all the European countries, including the far east and southern hemisphere. In short, they are common legend all over the world.
But are they, in fact, legend? Ask any avid gardener and they are apt to disagree, although they are much more likely to be seen in the brush or less tended areas of the garden. These are the places we haven't gotten around to weeding yet, where the climbing roses run amuck, and the butterfly fairies prosper. (In fact, it is widely believed that you can tell a fairy by the color of the butterfly, as some are simply butterflies in disguise). The areas that we consider weeds are the best place for the fairies to live, along with the smaller animals of the garden, like moles, turtles, and mice. These are the fairies that live at the edge of the garden, and venture in to play, sing, and look for the little bowls of sugar and sweets that Grandma told you to leave out for them.
The bowls of sugar are offerings to the garden fairies in hopes that they will bless the garden and bring in a good harvest of vegetables or blossoms for cutting. This is why it's so important to leave a little area of your garden untouched, and to set out little offerings for them. And if you follow some 17th century steps, including choosing the right time of year, you just may be able to see the little garden fairies for yourself.
How to See Fairies!
"Mix together one pint of light oil with rose and marigold water prepared from flowers picked at dawn. Add four buds of hollyhock, thyme hazel and marigolds plucked from an area you believe Fairies dwell as well as a sprig of grass from that same area. Do not use greens from your flower garden, and if you find a 4-leaf clover, much better. The mixture should sit in the sun for three days. Strain the oil and apply to the eyelids to enhance your sight but make sure it doesn't get into your eyes." On the night of June 21st, midsummer night, the fairies can speak the tongue of humans for a time, and so this is your best choice for trying to see them. Look for them in their fairy rings (a circle of twelve flowers where none should grow) or in a grove of mushrooms at the edge of the woods. In Italy, the traditional fairy night is January 6th (twelve nights) and of course, May Day.
If you are good to your garden fairies they will help you with gardening questions. You must speak quietly and walk respectfully--barefoot--and always leave them some sweets. Ask the questions and listen to the voice in your head, fairies communicate with humans through telepathy and can become quite annoyed if they think you are not listening. Flower fairies in particular love ladybugs, so don't be surprised if you hear them telling you to let some lose.