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Greenbank's Meerkerk Gardens play host to fairies

Sisters Lora, 3, and Lily, 9, Zustiak of Coupeville make a fine pair of fairies. They enjoyed a day at Meerkerk Gardens in Greenbank with their mother Heather Zustiak and grandmother Lynn Garrison, also of Coupeville. - Jim Larsen  / The Record
Sisters Lora, 3, and Lily, 9, Zustiak of Coupeville make a fine pair of fairies. They enjoyed a day at Meerkerk Gardens in Greenbank with their mother Heather Zustiak and grandmother Lynn Garrison, also of Coupeville.
— image credit: Jim Larsen / The Record

Meerkerk Gardens was festively infested by fairies on a glorious, sunny Saturday in Greenbank.

With hundreds of rhododendrons and other plants in bloom over acres of gardens, little fairies sporting wings, fancy dresses and garlands in their hair flitted from flower to flower, stopping to pose for pictures taken by proud parents and grandparents.

The number of fairies at the annual “Meerkerk Magic” day, which draws lots of girls and a few boys from throughout the island, surprised even veterans of the event.

“It’s a wonderful turnout,” said

volunteer Susie Reynolds, who has been donating her time at Meerkerk for six years.

“There are tons and tons of fairies,” said Airlee Anderson, another volunteer at the gardens. The fairies were impossible to count as they darted behind huge, flowering bushes and trees, trying out their new wings.

Some of the wings were homemade or purchased, looking like satin and silk. Others were picked up from the forest floor, the skeletal remains of Asian magnolia leaves. The long, broad leaves drop to the garden’s floor in the fall and provide food for insects during the winter. By the time spring arrives, they appear to be delicate, gossamer wings when fitted to the backs of happy children.

Kids made their own fairies using parts picked from the forest floor and a glue gun, then congregated to hear fairy tales told by Annie Horton, the Fairy Godmother of Meerkerk Gardens.

“They were really fun fairy stories,” said Lily Zustiak, 9, a fairy from Coupeville.

As her daughter Clara, age 2 ½, played among the rhododendrons, Eve Guiles of Oak Harbor soaked up the sun and the beauty of the setting.

“It’s wonderful,” she said, perfectly describing the magic she found at Meerkerk Gardens.

 

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