The hustle and bustle of the everyday world can seem overwhelming at times.  Minutes filled with endless errands, hectic work schedules and a variety of obligations of every persuasion can result in a blur of days bleeding into the next with nary a single moment to catch one’s breath.  Electronic devices whiz and bleep to remind us of the next leg of the race as we drink coffee and apply makeup while we drive in a vain and often harrowing attempt to steal back just a little time to stand still and collect our thoughts.  A tiny reprieve from the twenty-four by seven world that we live in, where a trip to the ladies’ room is often nothing more than a quest  for solace, a chance to close the door and dream of being, well, anywhere else!  It is in these rare moments of clarity that we realize as much as we love our lives and all the quirky little bits that go along with it,  we cannot deny the need every now and then to neatly hang our suits in the cupboard, put on our play clothes, and go off in search of a little magic.

We are so pleased that you could come along with us as we continue our series “The Toads At The Rally” where we participated in the “Parksville Qualicum Beach QR Code Road Rally 2013”.  While magic can be found just about anywhere,  Parksville and Qualicum Beach have always been some of  my very favourite places to go looking. Crammed with all sorts of wonderful things to see and do from museums and antique shops to burgers on the beach under straw umbrellas, we really thought that we had overturned every stone there was.  But that’s the most magical thing about magic, it happens when you least expect it!

Faerie Houses - Milner Gardens and Woodland - Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Milner Gardens and Woodland – Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

On this particular day we found ourselves at Milner Gardens and Woodlands, a place that we had been meaning to visit for quite some time.  As we strolled along the pathways that meander past a vegetable garden, a nursery, and a tea house among others, we found some relief from the warm afternoon sun in the cool shade of a forested area just off to the side.   Happy for the reprieve and completely engrossed by our conversation, we very nearly missed this tiny abode built into the tree.  Decorated with a bright red door and blanketed in soft, green moss, it became all at once apparent that we had unwittingly stumbled into a faerie garden!

Faerie Houses - Milner Gardens and Woodland - Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Milner Gardens and Woodland – Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

When I was a little girl, I had a bed spread that was covered in little ballerinas.  Whenever I had a bad dream, all I had to do was imagine them all dancing on my bed.  As hundreds of tiny white and pink tutus twirled in unison, it was never long before I found myself drifting off once again to the dulcet tunes playing gently in my imagination.

Faerie Houses - Milner Gardens and Woodland - Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Milner Gardens and Woodland – Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

The wonderful thing about believing in little ballerinas is that it makes it ever so easy to conceive of tiny little faerie-folk.  Once we discovered our third miniature abode, we started to dash back and forth, eyes darting into the shadows for any hint of another hidden homestead.  I must say that this lovely blue one is my very favourite, with a rustic wooden dock and dreamy reflecting pond.

Faerie Houses - Milner Gardens and Woodland - Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Milner Gardens and Woodland – Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

If you have ever gone in search of faeries, you surely know that they are a bashful and private bunch.  Ever-weary of anyone over ten inches in height, and probably rightly so, their houses blend into the scene around them, making them almost impossible to find.  So we did what any smart pair of toads would do, we followed the children!  Close to the ground and seemingly in endless supply of energy, they found faerie houses in nooks and crannies that we could scarcely fit through.  This island cabin has a handy feathered sailboat to ferry this faerie to the mainland!

Faerie Houses - Milner Gardens and Woodland - Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Milner Gardens and Woodland – Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Each and every house was different, using materials gathered from the forest floor to create a shelter as unique as the  faerie who lives inside.

Faerie Houses - Milner Gardens and Woodland - Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Milner Gardens and Woodland – Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Some hang from trees and can be easily mistaken for bird houses, but don’t be fooled!  A  ladder made of sticks and yarn is a sure sign that a faerie lives here.

Faerie Houses - Milner Gardens and Woodland - Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Milner Gardens and Woodland – Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Some are very grand, like this charming home built into a tree stump complete with a large porch and a stone walkway.  This clever faerie family has the perfect yard for hide and seek, in fact I am certain that I saw one of the leaves move as we walked away!

Faerie Houses - Milner Gardens and Woodland - Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Milner Gardens and Woodland – Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Some are simple and cozy, the perfect place for a cup of sweet tea at the end of a long day of moss gathering.

Faerie Houses - Milner Gardens and Woodland - Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Milner Gardens and Woodland – Parksville/Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As we strolled along the path we came upon this little wagon stuffed with flowers and feathers.  Try as we might we just couldn’t find the faerie who belonged to it, but no doubt next time we will likely find another faerie house, this one decorated in purple flowers.

Thank you ever so much for taking some time to join us on this delightfully unexpected adventure.  As we reluctantly turn and head back to reality, we can’t help but smile as we ponder the best kind of magical moments…those that are shared with our dearest friends!

Until next time!

Warmly,

Mrs. Toad




  1. avatar Rachel Cohen says:

    Hi Mrs. Toad,
    A wonderfully delightful post with magical images to match!! 🙂

  2. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    What a lovely trip through the enchanted forest, Mrs. Toad. As you’ve pointed out, we all need a little escape on occasion. 🙂

    These are all wonderful shots and as always, enjoy the opportunity to read your posts.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      It is always such a pleasure to see you here Jimi, thank you for your wonderful comments and your friendship and support!

  3. avatar dragonflydreams88 says:

    . . . fairytale fabulous!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Everyone needs a little fairytale in their lives once in a while! Thanks so much for popping by today!

  4. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Great images and write-up Mr & Mrs Toad. These photos remind me of a miniature Shire from the Hobbitt.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thanks ever so much Len, it really did feel like we stumbled into a scene from the Hobbitt! Thanks for your visit today!

  5. avatar Edith Levy says:

    What a wonderful spot…likes like its out of “The Hobbit.” Excellent post.

  6. avatar ken bello says:

    WOW! There is magic here!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Indeed Ken, it really felt as if we had stumbled into a fairytale! Thanks ever so much for popping by.

  7. These are great Mrs Toad, what a fun series and photographed so well, great post!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Michael, we cannot wait to go back and see what new houses have appeared. So nice to hear from you today!

  8. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Cool set of little houses! Love the one the moss and the red rubies on top!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      It really was magical when we noticed our first little house, we had no idea that such a wonderful place existed!

  9. avatar LensScaper says:

    What a joy to read that is, and the images too. It’s only when you finally escape from the rat race and slow down the pace of life in retirement, that you realize quite how ludicrous life has been in work. Life is still busy, but it’s a different type of busy-ness. The ‘busy’ is because I like it that way not because it has to be that way. And there is always something that can be postponed, and there is always time for an extra coffee!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Ahh, you have absolutely hit the nail on the head Andy! It is in these unexpected, wonderful moments that we realize that there is so much more to life than, well, just life! Thanks for your wonderful thoughts, as always!

  10. avatar Chris Wray says:

    What an enchanting place! Thanks for sharing your story and photos.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Chris, it is made more fun through sharing with wonderful friends such as yourself! So nice to see you here today!

  11. Looks like a wonderful place Mrs. Toad!!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      It was truly an unexpected gem, we cannot wait to go back! Thanks ever so much for taking the time to visit us today!

  12. avatar Jim Nix says:

    what a beautiful place to explore Toad, nice work here sir!