Once upon a time, there was a young girl called Trina. She lived in a place called Stevenage in Hertfordshire. A large town, not that far from London, and where racing driver Lewis Hamilton was born. Trina liked to visit her local park and adventure playground. And on the way there, she used to pass a house that had a front garden full of gnomes. Trina found this ‘Gnomeland’ enchanting and it’s a memory that she has treasured ever since.

As the years went by, Trina grew up, found a job, got married and had children. Just like anyone else. Twenty five years ago she moved to her current house on Elm Avenue in Beeston. Many miles from Stevenage, London, and famous racing drivers, but still a place with parks. Sadly not many gnomes, either in gardens or not.

One day, some four years ago, Trina was in a local shop, and she came across a little door on a shelf. An idea appeared in her mind. She remembered the gnome garden of her childhood. “I’ll buy this and turn the tree outside my house into one where fairies live.” So, she did. Even though the tree is a hornbeam, and not an elm.

Trina also put some stones round the base of the tree and added some soil. She tried planting some flowers, but they sadly died, due to the roots of the tree. But moss and some little plants like alpine speedwell and sweet violets do grow. Disaster struck one day when someone stole the fairy door. Trina was heartbroken, and posted a message on Facebook, asking for its return. It wasn’t, but six other replacement doors secretly appeared instead.

Aunty Trina, as she is now known, started to add various things to the fairy garden. Little seats that she had made from willow. A duck pond, a path, so the fairies wouldn’t get muddy feet, and other bits and pieces, just to make it more inviting and homely for the tiny people. Local children like Erin, and adults started noticing the tree fairy house and began leaving notes and cards, saying how nice the garden was, or asking what a fairy’s favourite food was. Aunty Trina likes to read these and replies to them on the tree fairy’s behalf. She leaves them by the tree, so that they can be picked up the next time someone passes by. The tree fairy house is now so popular, that it has its own Facebook page: ‘Tree-Fairy Beeston’. It has also been seen in local magazines and on the television. Which is more than any gnomes have. Especially those from Stevenage.

The tree fairy likes to participate in events like Easter, Christmas, saint days and other special occasions. And so, with Aunty Trina’s help, they will decorate the garden with anything suitable. Aunty Trina has several drawers full of things that she’s made or collected, one for each season, and others for special occasions. It’s something that she hopes to continue with for many years to come.