A player has a garden, in which may be grown nine plants at once (except that one or two may be replaced by a feeding table for wildlife). Plants generally take one to two weeks to grow, flower, and produce harvestable fruit; the higher levels take three weeks or more. Each harvesting helps save real rainforest.
You name and may rename your garden and your fairy. Pictures and descriptions can be added. You can leave messages for visitors to any garden you visit and on the profile page for its fairy. All is sweetness and light.
Clicking on an item in a garden generally gives you a menu of options. At the top of every screen is a panel of buttons taking you to about eight of the main parts of the site. "Find Gold" is a much-clicked button; another is "All Gardens", which lists your friends' gardens in the left column, your nominated favourite gardens in the middle column, and a selection of public gardens on the right. Colour coding alerts you to any that are frozen or have no plants or have wilting plants, and you see a symbol if a garden has a game, such as the "Mini Mushrooms" game, or has food on a feeding table.
Any player may water plants in his or her own garden or any other accessible garden, though there are some restrictions:
- A garden may be frozen, indefinitely, either by owner choice or after a week's absence; then there is no growth, no watering, and no wilting
- Watering a particular plant is not allowed within 5 minutes of the previous watering.
Watering and the acquisition of equipment and plants have a small cost in "gold". For example, watering a healthy plant costs one piece, watering a wilting plant costs two, and the stocking of a feeding table costs 5 for a plain offering and 10 for a mix that will attract more valuable wildlife and faster. Free gold is available at 3-hour intervals (generally 10 or 5 pieces) and as a reward for certain activities (some of which are a gamble but one of which is merely a race: gold goes to the first to visit the Fairy Profile of a Facebook Friend after gold appears in its Treasure Hunt). If there is none there, a notice will tell you when to expect it.
Another significant item of value is the diamond. Bonus diamonds appear now and then, and can also be "bought" for an average of five gold each by playing the "Mini Mushrooms" game after watering in a garden that has the game. On acquiring 25 diamonds, a player may throw his or her garden open to the public. Before then, only Friends can visit. A player may then expend six for some diamond dust to speed the growth of one plant.
Wildlife (ranging from mice to badgers to ostriches) attracted by food may be spotted by anyone who waters a plant: the garden owner earns a diamond or two or more, depending on the rarity of the wildlife, and the spotter if a visitor earns the same. Wildlife ranges from mice, squirrels and other garden animals, right up to giraffes, armadillos and meerkats. There are also mythological wildlife to spot and attract.
As one grows and harvests specified plants, one moves up the levels and more options become available. One can also indulge in side-activities such as Herbalism and Alchemy. A recent addition to the wildlife saw the introduction of special "Forest Jewel" seeds, which must be earned and cannot be purchased.