The neighbourhood children write their letters small. That’s so the fairies don’t need de-magnifying glasses to read them.
This magical correspondence between spellbound Cloverdale youngsters and their tiny preternatural penpals has been carrying on for about a year, but it’ll likely go on a lot longer seeing as fairies live for 600 years.
That’s according to resident Judy Hake, whom the fairies permit to live in her house with her husband Mike, behind their roadside garden, just a wing’s flutter away from George Greenaway elementary school.
“I am the fairy lady – that’s what the kids call me.”
The fairy garden in front of Hake’s home has, of course, a fairy car lot with all sorts of Hot Wheels carefully placed there by tiny human hands, little magic houses, wee spotted ceramic toad stools and, so importantly, a pint-sized mailbox through which letters between the two worlds are exchanged.
This is all under a “Believe” sign posted on the cedar hedge behind.
“Someone had told me if you put a fairy door out there, the fairies will come,” Hake explains. “I’ve always been into arts and crafts. And so I painted a door, got some cedar and cut some doors and painted them, and put them out on the stump, and it just took off from there.”
Today, there’s a neatly folded letter in that mailbox, waiting for a reply. Hake has a read, before carefully replacing it.
“To Faris I Love all the stuff in your Fary gardin Love Alex.”
When Hake isn’t helping the fairies write their replies – because pens and pencils are big like tree trunks to tiny fairy hands, don’t you know – she works as an education assistant at a Burnaby high school.
“Little kids want to leave something, and they’ll ask for an answer, or ask a question. It’s really quite interesting.”
Occasionally, Hake also sees big grown men, out walking their dogs, with looks of puzzlement on their faces as they stop to contemplate the garden.
“There are lots of guys, it surprises me, who will stop and look at the fairy garden, right. They’re just sort of interested, like, ‘What’s this?’”
Children leave random toys there, like an itty-bitty plastic dragon, or a teeny-weeny zebra.
This is all fine and well, but now to the important journalism. Just the facts. How many fairies are there?
“I don’t really know,” Hake says, after a pause.
“I think there’s quite a few.”
Neighborhood kids in Surrey are awestruck by the fairy garden Judy Hake shows to @SurreyNowLeader in her front yard. The children and fairies post letters to each other in a magical mailbox. #surreybc pic.twitter.com/I5MMZzlXU5
— Tom Zytaruk (@tomzytaruk) May 21, 2019
She reveals there’s also a fairy garden a couple blocks away, one in Abbotsford she knows of, and “a lady down the street has a fairy garden in her backyard, so.”
Somewhat of an invasion. Interesting. “I think so,” she agrees.
Are they solid? Can you see through them?
“Like I say, I’ve only caught a glance of them when I was up really, really early one morning. I was walking my dog, and so I had to get up really early before I went to work. It was sort of like a wisp,” she laughs. “Zip.”
What do fairies eat? “Pixie pears,” Hake replies. “And sweets.”
If children leave a letter in the mailbox, she says, the fairies don’t mind replying. Not at all.
Here’s another note.
“I love your fariy world, it’s so cute and if your asking, I’m 7 years old and my name is Sara.”
“I rilly Love Love Love your fariy world and it’s so cool soso supercool.”
If you ever wondered, fairies do get along with hummingbirds – they’re kind-of like their cows or horses.
“It just keeps growing,” Hake says of the fairy garden.
“It started around the tree, and now it’s just grown. I think it’s something that’s magical and there’s a sign up there that says Believe. There was a little 10-year-old girl, she was about 10, and she said, ‘I’m so happy you have this fairy garden – the little children just love it.’”