By Andrew Henderson Lexington Herald-Leader
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Courtney Brown made a fairy house for her two daughters, and she had so much fun, she decided the she wanted to share it with others. Soon..."Courtney's Creations" was born. The company specializes in floral design for fairy houses and for succulents.
Behind the home of Courtney Brown, a Lexington native and the owner of Courtney's Creations, is an expansive green space that one might not initially expect to find.
Several trees form a path behind her garage to the backyard. Sunlight filters through the trees; the branches bend and arch along the path; you have to duck to get through.
The space would be suitable for any number of outdoor activities.
Brown often uses it as a sort of hunting ground for her business.
In February 2015, Brown started her business, admittedly by accident, as it sprawled from a hobby. During last year's harsh winter, Brown made a fairy house for her two daughters, and she had so much fun, she decided the she wanted to share it with others.
Courtney's Creations specializes in floral design for fairy houses and for succulents. She said she has developed a love for succulents and fairy houses over her life.
"I decided to combine my love for art, floral design and plants, and it just sort of came to be this," she said. "A year later, I'm really surprised how everyone has really responded."
Tracy Kane, the author and illustrator of The Fairy House Series, said in a 2014 interview with Women of Upstate New York magazine that fairy houses are "small structures made from natural materials to attract fairy visitors and nature's friends."
Brown said the fairy houses are her favorite to make, because they never turn out the same. She said the houses bring out people's imagination and their playful side, and her family helps her gather the materials for them.
Two of her fairy houses currently for sale through Etsy.com are priced at $50.
"My parents, both of my daughters, they all collect, even extended family," she said.
Brown and her two daughters often go scavenging for sticks, bark, pine cones and moss for the fairy houses.
Brown starts with a pre-made wooden model of a small house and then adorns it with the collected natural items. She has taken to customizing them more by making doors for the houses.
Nancy Brown, Courtney's mother, helps with the more tedious details of the fairy houses., and Courntey said her mother also does a lot of the behind-the-scenes preparation.
Nancy said working on the houses is a good way to spend time with her daughter.
"We hardly get that time, and when she started this I was like, 'I want to help her,'" Nancy Brown said.
Courtney Brown said she has long had a love for succulents, hence the other focus of her business.
She appreciates that the plants don't require a green thumb.
Succulents grow and thrive in dry climates and are a group of plants that hold water in their leaves.
Molly Davis, director of the University of Kentucky Arboretum, said when the arboretum has succulents, they are typically part of an annual display, because the plants don't survive the state's winter climate.
Davis said she owns a few succulents herself and finds them to be low maintenance and easy to care for.
"That's one of the beauties of them," she said.
Brown orders her succulents monthly from California when they're cuttings, or "baby succulents." She grows them in a nursery until they develop roots and then are planted.
"It's like Christmas every month," Brown said. "It's so exciting when my kids and I open the mailbox and see the box from California, because they're all different."
Succulents are diverse in shape, size and color. Some examples include graptopetalum, echeveria and sedum. Her favorite succulent for arrangements is called the "string of pearls."
Once the succulents have grown, she places them in antique containers: cigar boxes, tea cups or vintage toys that she finds at garage sales or peddlers malls.
Brown hopes to eventually hold workshops on fairy house floral design.
"I'm hoping to even develop it further and sort of collaborate with a charity and maybe do a few charity events," she said. Proceeds would go to charity, she said.
Her work can be found at the Woodland Art Fair in August, the Night Market until December and online at Etsy.com/people/courtneybrown2015.