“I always thought it was for kids, but the adults really get into it too,” says a Downtown Home and Garden employee. She’s speaking about “fairy gardens,” wee landscapes cultivated by lovers of miniatures and whimsy. Downtown Home sells a $30 “fairy garden kit” that includes four feet of fencing, a seven-inch wire arbor, a watering can, a welcome sign–and “one fairy figurine.” For planting, the employee recommends “low-growing things–creeping thyme is good, oregano.”

The Bead Gallery also sells figurines for fairy gardens–along with fairy dishes, fairy wine bottles, and even a half-inch slice of fairy pizza. “If you wanted your fairy garden to look a little more whimsical, you’d come to us,” says manager Jessie Yaeger. She says the tiny gardens, which can be grown inside, like terrariums, or outdoors in a corner of a larger plot, took off locally about four or five years ago.

West-sider Elaine Anderson has two colorful ceramic fairy houses in her human-sized garden. Kids walking by who glimpse the houses ask her excitedly if fairies live there. Her diplomatic answer: she never sees them.