Holden Arboretum and Local Artists Create an Imaginative Outdoor Fairyland with Fairy Doors

It appears that fairies have moved into the woodland forests and gardens at Holden Arboretum and beginning Thursday, July 23 at 9 a.m., children of all ages can see the signs for themselves!  The arboretum team worked together with Northeast Ohio artists to create seven woodland and garden homes for elusive fairies who chose the arboretum as their summer home.  Thirty handcrafted Fairy Doors created by seven artists invite guests to explore deep into the forests and gardens on an interactive scavenger hunt. The exhibit is open through Thursday, August 27, 2020.

There are two ways to experience the exhibit (printed maps will be available upon request at the entrance Gatehouse):

 Hunt on your own! As you make your way through the trails of the arboretum, see how many you can find as you look high and low in gardens filled with flowers and along woodland trails. The experience is also offered in rich detail through technology while emphasizing the importance environmental stewardship.

Use technology. Visitors can be guided to each fairy community through an interactive mobile phone application. Each destination highlights the plants and trees that the fairies chose to live among, and beautifully handcrafted fairy doors mark the entrance to the fairy homes. Visitors are invited to discover a unique story that can be accessed via QR code signs at each site.

The exhibit features the work of seven local artists including Tracey Gardner, Jane Baeslach & Coletta Baeslach Arian, Erin Canales, Bette & Robb Durr, Beth Lynne Gregerson, Amanda Nyx and Tammy Shella.

Fairy Doors is sponsored by Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

The exhibit is included with general admission to the Holden Arboretum. Admission cost is $15 for adults, $10 for children three to 12 years old and free for children 2 and under. The Arboretum is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Advanced reservations are required and can be made online at holdenarb.org or by calling 440.946.4400. The Murch Canopy Walk and Kalberer Emergent Tower are included with admission and are open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

 About Holden Forests & Gardens
Holden Forests & Gardens is made up of two of Northeast Ohio’s most important environmental and cultural institutions — the Holden Arboretum [holdenarb.org] and Cleveland Botanical Garden [cbgarden.org] — whose mission is to connect people with the wonder, beauty, and value of trees and plants, to inspire action for healthy communities.  The 14th largest public garden in the country, Holden Forests & Gardens has over 17,000 member households and an annual attendance of over 350,000 for whom we strive to provide inspirational and educational visitor experiences. For more information, visit holdenarb.org. and cbgarden.org.

Fairy Doors locations – Can you find them all?


1) The Display Garden  – Greetings from Medley Heights

The fairies of Medley Heights chose the Display Garden as their home because they love the diversity of plants and trees planted throughout. They believe that a diverse community is a healthy community, and we couldn’t agree more! You can catch these fairies exploring the world of plants in the beds through the Garden and pulling weeds when they can. This fairy community was created by exhibit sponsor Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

2) Fordham Island – Aloha from Fordham-on-the-Lake
Fordham-on-the-Lake is now home to an island community of fairies. The island is a beautifully wild, natural landscape. Many animals such as birds, turtles, and fish have made their habitat on and around the island. Fordham Island’s new fairy residents help care for the animals and keep their habitats safe from predators.

Artist Info: Erin Canales is a Columbus-based artist who trained as an interior designer and horticulturist. She works in many different mediums including silversmithing, watercolor, and micro-mosaics. She recently took to making miniature fairy doors as part of her art practice, collaborating with her two children and installing them throughout her neighborhood. She finds inspiration in nature and includes native plants and animals in her themes to create magical experiences that integrate with the natural world.


3) Holden Grove – Welcome to Broodsburg

Mother Oakenheart and her four fairy children have moved into Holden Grove, our newest garden funded by members of the Holden family. The views of Corning Lake, and the grove of sargent cherries, Whitespire grey birch and seven-son flower provide this fairy family with a beautiful backdrop all year round.

Artist Info: Over the past few years, graphic designer Tracey Gardner has become absorbed in fairy and miniature gardening. She often constructs architectural elements from scratch, combining found, natural, and crafting materials. Her husband Scott is a hobbyist as well, providing woodworking and 3D printing support. Tracey also creates mosaics from Lake Erie beach glass and pottery finds. In 2018 and 2019, she received the blue ribbon for “Outdoor Fairy Garden” at the Geauga County Fair.

4) The Helen S. Layer Rhododendron Garden  – Salutations from Mt. Oakwood

Amongst the old oaks and mature rhododendrons of the Layer Rhododendron Garden lives a group of fairy elders and scribes that record and protect all of fairy history. The fairies at Mt. Oakwood are very private and only leave their homes to record notable fairy history. Since so many new fairies have moved to the Arboretum, the fairies of Mt. Oakwood have been unusually busy.

Artist Info: Husband and wife team, Bette and Robb Durr, have been working together in one way or another since they met at Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida and are the creators of HiddenWorlds, a line of handcrafted fairy doors and accessories. A former sculptor for American Greetings, Robb’s work can also be seen at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and nearby Penitentiary Glen Reservation.


5) The Myrtle S. Holden Wildflower Garden – Welcome to Stewardshire

The fairies at Stewardshire moved into the Wildflower Garden as ambassadors of Ohio’s native plants. Young Myrtle Holden discovered the fairies while exploring the property. The fairies taught her about the beauty and importance of indigenous plants. To show her appreciation, Myrtle brought them trinkets and treasures which they used to build their homes. Today fairies work with the Arboretum horticulturists to preserve Ohio’s native plants. Throughout the summer and fall, the Stewardshire collect seeds from Ohio’s rare and endangered wildflowers and deliver them to our greenhouse so they can safely grow and for future generations to enjoy.

Artist Info: Jane Baeslach is a local artist and mother. She often collaborates with her eight year-old daughter Coletta Baeslach Arian on projects, including these fairy doors! Jane works for the Cleveland Clinic art program. Her art has been shown at multiple art venues including Survival Kit, Waterloo Arts, Stocker Arts Center, and Rooms to Let.


6) Blueberry Pond – Four Corners Welcomes You

Are you sure that those are dragonflies zipping by at the edge Blueberry Pond? Look again! The four fairies that live here, Earth, Wind, Fire and Water are named after the four elements of nature. They love to fly, splash, explore the plants, and tell stories underneath the “flame” amur maple trees. Take this trail out to Buckeye Bud’s Adventure Woods nature play area where kids can hop, jump and limbo their way through an obstacle course, visit the observation tower, and see another fairy community living in the woods!

Artist Info: Amanda Nyx is an artist, writer, performer and teacher who works under the name of Fiercely Serene. She has created art installations at Fire Fish Festival, Rooms to Let, Brite Winter Festival and IngenuityFest.  Check out Amanda’s upcoming project as part of the #VoicesOfCLE Public Art Project in Downtown Cleveland.

7) Arlene and Arthur S. Holden Jr. Butterfly Garden – Enjoy your Stay at Holden Harbor

The Fairies of Holden Harbor are nurturers at heart and have established their community in the Butterfly Garden, the Arboretum’s pollinator waystation. Since their arrival, they took on the responsibility of being the waystation innkeepers, protecting and catering to visiting pollinators. These fairies love water, so they regularly refresh pollinator drinking puddles with clean mineral water. These tiny winged mermaid sisters share their little village with other important “fairies” including bees, butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs and other woodland dwellers.

Artist Info: Beth Lynne Gregerson has been creating public art projects in the area for over 15 years. She also works as an illustrator, mural artist and painter in her studio and gallery located in Fairport Harbor. Her art is often centered around nature and animal themes and her fairy door creations show a strong connection to the natural environment of Fairport Harbor.

Before you leave, check out Stay a While – Paintings by local artist Marti Higgins on view in the Visitor’s Center through Monday, August 31, 2020.