Miniature Gardening in the Southeast

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

I was hired to do a talk and demo for three days so I took the opportunity to make three different gardens. The silver shrub is a Blue Star Juniper. The burgundy bush is the Helmond Pillar Barberry matched with Red Thyme. Perfect for an eastern or cool sun spot.

Miniature Gardening in the Southeast

When you start looking for the plants that will suit miniature gardening, you’ll find a new world of plants will open up to you. The same thing happened when I was asked to do a talk at the wonderful Epcot Flower and Garden Festival at Disney World. Southeastern climates with extreme heat and humidity will need plants that can withstand those conditions if you want them to thrive. I started my search with my short-list of ways to find plants for miniature gardening, consulted my library and found that some of our plants that we’ve been working with for years will work too. Here are the results.

What’s a Miniature Garden Plant?

Not everyone knows what a “miniature garden plant” is yet, and some nurseries are mixing up the fairy garden idea with miniature gardening. Just because it has a “fairy” name, doesn’t mean it will work as a miniature. And, just because it has small leaves, doesn’t mean it will suit either. Here, on the other hand, is what will work if you focus on the right combination of small leaves, slow growth rate and the height of the plant and its flowers. Note that what I mean by the height will depend upon whether you are using that plant as a tree, shrub or bedding plant – and that includes flowers too.

Look for small-leafed and slow growing:

- Rockery plants
- Miniature and dwarf plants, (‘miniature’ and ‘dwarf’ are growth rates)
- Alpine plants
- Baby plants
- Ground covers

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

For this set-up, I anchored the bed with a Top Point Dwarf White Cedar, (the tall tree,) the round shrub is a Red Tip Podocarpus and matched with Dwarf Mondo Grass and a Fairy Vine. A good combo for cool sun or part sun with regular water.

Tips for growing Two Green Thumbs’ trees in southern climates:

A lot of the trees that you buy in 4” pots for miniature gardening are little balls of young foliage. In cooler climates the air helps keep the plant at a comfortable temperature if you keep the conifer dieback cleaned out of the center where it tends to collect in the young shrub. In more humid climes, you can help the young shrubs get air circulation into the wee canopy by “opening them up.” With a little patience and a sharp pair of garden scissors, carefully prune out the middle branches on the shrub. Work gradually and always take the entire plant into consideration before each snip. Cutting the wrong branch or a “big” branch can compromise the overall look of the shrub. Start with cutting away any criss-crossing branches, snip any downward branches and then concentrate on shape.

Plant in part shade or part sun to avoid that strong afternoon sun. Many of our plants can handle the full sun in northern climates where the sun is a bit cooler, and the ground stays evenly damp. You can mimic these conditions by giving the plant a cooler spot to grow in with cooler sun, eastern sun, dappled light or on the northern side of the house.

Don’t over plant. Our tendency is to fill up the garden right away to get that look of a “real” garden – and that’s one of the joys of gardening in miniature: instant gratification. But, in some southern regions where there is a lot of humidity, the trees will appreciate any extra air circulation that they can get. So not only help the tree/shrub with a little pruning, plant the plants further apart so the air can go through the plants to keep them healthy.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The combination can handle a little bit more sun. The yellow shrub is a Limeglow Juniper, paired with a Teeny Mugo Pine and an Elfin Thyme for the lowest layer.

Rethink your plant selections. You can always change your thinking and consider the miniature and dwarf conifers as annual plants that will last for a couple/few months. Hinoki Cypress or any dwarf Spruce can certainly be enjoyed over the holiday months until they start to fade. Don’t’ think of the initial cost of the tree as an expense, but rather as entertainment, and amortize the cost over the 4 to 6 months that you can enjoy your miniature garden – I bet it’s cheaper than a latte! And, it’s easy to replace too – swapping out a miniature garden tree for a fresh one takes minutes – and you can still go to work on Monday morning a brag about all the gardening you got done on the weekend.

Here is a list of miniature garden plants that we stock in our online store that don’t mind the heat and humidity of the southeastern garden. Note that not all plants are not available at all times and there may be some trail and error needed in finding out what they need to be happy.

Red Tip Podocarpus – Podocarpus aplinus ‘Red Tip’
Blue Star Juniper – Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’
Groundcover Juniper – Juniper horizontalis
Tansu Japanese Cedar – Cryptomeria japonica ‘Tansu’
Ulmus parvifolia ‘Hokkaido’ – Dwarf Chinese Elm
Dwarf Mondo Grass – Ophiopogon japonica Nana
Fairy Vines – Muhlenbeckia complexa
Lily Turf – Lirope spicata
Sedums – small leafed

I’m posting from Disney World and I’m not able to link these plants to the store – yet. ;-) I’ll show the results of the demos on our next blog so stay tuned!

The books I consulted in my library, in addition to our bestselling Gardening in Miniature Book: Create Your Own Tiny Living World:

Succulent Container Gardens, by Debra Lee Baldwin, published by Timber Press

Miniature Garden Guidebook for Beautiful Rock Gardens, Container Plantings, Bonsai, Garden Railways, by Nancy Norris

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette newsletter. It’s FREE and you get a free PDF just for signing up with us! Join us here.

Your Miniature Garden Center

 

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Leave a Comment

Adjusting to the New Winter Weather in the Miniature Garden

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Oh how we love the miniature and dwarf Mugo Pines for hardy miniature gardening. Most are hardy to -40F. This is a one inch scale garden. The Sedums on the right turn red when stressed and they’ll go back to green when the spring decides to stay. This pot has been together for several years.

Adjusting to the New Winter Weather in the Miniature Garden

As our winters get colder and more ruthless in some parts of the country, we are finding ways to garden around the extreme temperatures and endless snow by planting in-ground, choosing hardier plants, and re-thinking of the ways we use plants. New challenges are in every part of the country it seems: drier in the southwest, colder in the southeast, more of everything in the northeast and a lovely combination of no rain/torrential rain here in northwest.

So as we move into spring, here are some changes that I’ve made to avoid disappointment that you might find useful too. I know I’ll keep killing plants as every gardener does – that is part of the journey of being a gardener – I just hope I don’t kill as many of them if I change, or, ahem, adjust the way that I garden.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

A half-inch scale garden with a Pixie Alberta Dwarf Spruce flushing out for spring. The plants fared well, the pot didn’t. It was one of my most-favorite pots too and I should have protected it over the winter by bringing it under our covered porch and keeping it close to the house. I knew better… I did!

Container vs. In Ground Gardens

When considering what hardy plants to use, note that the difference between gardening in a container and gardening in the ground is about 15 degrees. Plants grown in a container do not have the protection of the earth to keep it insulated, only the walls of the pot which don’t amount to much if Old Man Winter unleashes his fury. For example, the Mont Bruno Boxwood is hardy to Zone 4 or -30F. It was planted in a pot; the tree would only be hardy to -15F or to Zone 6, (USDA Zones.) So choose hardier-than-needed plants for your pots and you may have more success. (Here’s an overwintering blog for future reference.)

Choose Plants that are Hardier than Your Zone

A fellow gardener chided me on Twitter after I said I’m Zone 5 during a #GardenChat session one Monday night, “You are zone 7.” Not if you take into account the container rule and that’s where I was loosing most of my plants over the winter. Zone 7 means hardy to 0 degrees, Seattle’s coldest temperature to date from the 1950s. Seeing how the climate is changing, we just might get there again. But, I think (Yes, “think” – don’t ya love gardening?) despite the plant’s noted hardiness on the tag, if the plant isn’t ready for a drastic dip in temperature, it is not going to survive that cold snap unless it is hardier than we need it to be. So, I’m going to stay at Zone 5 for my plant choices just to see if that will work. Then I won’t have to worry about where I plant it either – in a container or in-ground – in theory.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

A quarter-inch scale garden with a Dwarf Pagoda Japanese Holly. My in-ground Japanese Hollies fared much better than my potted hollies and I lost several of them this past winter – they are hardy to -20F but they were planted in pots. That’s ground cover Elfin Thyme on the right.

Treat it like an Annual

It’s amazing that we will easily spend $20 on a tray of annual bedding flowers and not consider a tree in the same way. A large portion of our miniature and dwarf conifers are hardy to -20F but in some areas of the country, that is no longer the lowest temperature. So, why not think of that mini garden tree as an annual? Get it into your miniature garden design in early spring and you can enjoy it until the fall. If it overwinters, great! If not, then toss it in the compost and begin again next spring. A $15 tree that will last 5 months works out to cost $3 per month – half the price of a latte that lasts a half hour or a bouquet of cut flowers that only last for 5 days. It’s a bargain!

“You can’t control the direction of the wind,
but you can adjust your sails.”
- adapted quote from Jimmy Dean

So, what about you? Have you made any adjustments on how you chose plants for the changing winters in your area? Please leave a comment below and include where you are and what zone you are in. Don’t know your zone? Here’s the USDA site where you can look it up with your zip code: http://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/#

And see our unique and specialized collection of plants for miniature gardening up in our online store here.

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette. We share it for free, to thousands of Fellow Miniature Gardeners throughout the world. Join us by filling out the form on our main website here.

Miniature Gardening

 

Comments (1)

A Look into the Future: Miniature Garden Trees

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

From the cover of the bestselling book on the subject: Gardening in Miniature: The Elf Dwarf Spruce stays in a tight canopy and gradually gets bigger as the trunk lifts the canopy off the ground.

A Look into the Future: Miniature Garden Trees

It’s that time of year, Fellow Miniature Gardeners, the time for new trees, new plantings and new ideas realized. It’s been a long, cold and dreary winter for a large part of North America, and it’s still going in some parts with snow last night. Ugh! I feel your pain, I’m a transplant from Toronto. Please hold on. Spring is coming! Also note that we can hold your order until spring arrives in your area. Simply place your order through our online store and then email us to tell us when to send them! Purchase reserves the trees. Easy-peasy!

If you’ve been following us for any length of time, you know that we’ve been miniature gardening full-time since 2001. With that kind of intensive, relentless focus, we have had the opportunity to watch how the trees grow-up to see how long they can stay a miniature garden tree. I think it’s safe to say, a long time!

It came as an “uh-oh” moment over a decade ago when I was selling the completed miniature gardens at street markets and craft fairs: I realized I needed to keep some miniature gardens to know what these trees look like when they grow up. I started collecting my own gallery of miniature gardens so I could share the results with you. Here are just a few of them shown in the miniature garden, and I’ve included a “regular” photo from the grower’s website – it’s how the plant would look if we left it alone and did not shape it into a miniature tree.

From photo above – see the growing details of the Elf Dwarf Spruce here.

Reminder Memo: “Dwarf” and “miniature” describe the growth rate, not the plant. Dwarfs grow from 1″ to 6″ per year. Miniatures grow less than 1″ per year.

Tompa Norway Spruce – Picea abies ‘Tompa’

The Tompa Dwarf Spruce was labeled a dwarf when I planted it in this container 10 years ago – now the grower calls it a miniature, with a growth rate of less than 1” per year. So easy to grow, it never complained at all. After 10 years, I grew impatient and needed to see what was going on and unplanted it – but I didn’t have to, it could have stayed in that pot for another couple of years, I think.

See the growing details, up in the store here.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

Here’s what the Tompa Norway Spruce looks like when you buy it from our Miniature Garden Center in a 4 inch pot.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

Here is what the Tompa Norway Spruce looks like if it is left alone to grow in a “full-size” garden bed. Quite handsome!

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

And here is the Tompa Norway Spruce in the miniature garden, after about 6 years with no pruning. The purple flowers are from the Ajuga, which is fairly aggressive in-ground but surprisingly very well-behave in a container.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

And here is the Tompa Norway Spruce, after over 10 years of growing in a miniature garden container. I pruned into a tree by cutting away the lower branches to show more of the trunk.

 Intermediate Sawara Cypress – Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Squarrossa Intermedite’

This little ball of goodness grows up into a fun shape that can suit a number of themes or garden-styles. If you leave the Intermediate Cypress to grow, it will get leggy like the photo of the miniature garden below and “grow-up” to be an informal tree form. If you shear it every winter when it is dormant, it will stay bushy and full (it’s great for topiary.)

See the growing details, up in the store here.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

This is how the Intermediate Sawara Cypress looks like when you buy it from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

This is what it looks like when planted in a “full-sized” garden and left to grow.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

And this is what the Intermediate Sawara Cypress looks like, left to grow with minimal pruning. The tree to the right is a Dwarf Pagoda Japanese Holly. I’ve left this garden a bit over-grown, it has a “sister-garden” that’s formal and I use them as bookends in the garden.

Top Point Dwarf White Cedar – Chamaecyparis thyoides ‘Top Point’

The Top Point Dwarf White Cedar is a very versatile tree. It does well in many zones, included the southern states, where not all conifers appreciate the warm, humid temperatures. I think you can shear it to encourage bushiness and branching, check out the difference:

See the growing details, up in the store here.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

The Top Point Dwarf White Cedar – how it looks when you get one from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

This is how it looks when left alone to grow in a regular, full-sized garden bed. What a great color and shape!

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

And how the tree looks in the back of a miniature garden after a few years living in the same pot. The two shrubs on either side are White Pygmy Sawara Cypress that are just starting to flush out in their creamy growth for spring. The “grass” or the Irish moss is surprisingly tolerant of the limited space to grow, I’m not usually that lucky with this plant, and after 2 or 3 years, it usually needs to be replaced.

Blue Star Juniper – Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’

The Blue Star Juniper was a little surprise to see as it grew up – it really takes on the look of a big, fluffy tree in miniature. Drought tolerant, loves the sun and the stars on the tips of the branches keep me delighted throughout the year. It really is a super star! It loves well-drained but evenly damp soil and can tolerate some dryness – but not too often nor for too long.

See the growing details, up in the store here.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

The Blue Star Juniper, how it looks when you get it from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

The Blue Star Juniper if left alone to grow in a full-sized garden. Look at that blue color!

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

And the Blue Star Juniper after a 3 or 4 years in the miniature garden. I keep the leggy branches in check with a little winter pruning. 

Slowmound Mugo Pine – Pinus mugo ‘Slowmound’

The dwarf and miniature pines are a delight to grow and can work well in the southern regions with evenly damp soil – plant it in part sun to help maintain the even dampness – but it can tolerate a little dry soil from time to time. Just don’t let it dry out too often for too long.

See the growing details, up in the store here.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

Slowmound Mugo Pine in it’s 4 inch pot from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

The Slowmound Mugo Pine after many, many years in a regular garden bed.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

The Slowmound Mugo Pine after a few years in the miniature garden. Next winter, I’ll top-prune it to keep the overall shape in check and see if it needs some more pruning on the lower branches to show some more trunk. Once an accessory is placed next to it, it will cinch the scale.

Moonfrost Canada Hemlock – Tsuga canadensis ‘Moonfrost’

This charmer is a favorite with the colors changing throughout the year, but it can be pruned into a tree form. Winter shearing keeps up the color changes, otherwise it will stay a celery green color all year.

See the growing details, up in the store here.

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

The Moonfrost Canada Hemlock in its 4 inch pot from .

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

If left alone in the full-sized garden bed. She sure is pretty!!

Miniature Garden Trees from Two Green Thumbs

Pretty lil’ thing! The Moonfrost Canada Hemlock, shown here after about 3 years in this pot. I’ve left out the accessory on purpose so you can see the tree. 

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette ~> a FREE monthly newsletter of all things miniature garden. Join us here. 

Miniature Gardening

Comments (1)

What Garden Fairies Really Want That NOBODY Will Talk About!

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

Foolin’ around with the fairies for April Fools Day.

What Garden Fairies Really Want That NOBODY Will Talk About!

Fooling around with the fairies for April Fool’s Day! Click to enlarge the photos.

Come and play with us – we just have a little fun in the miniature garden! Join our email list here to receive your FREE monthly Mini Garden Gazette, the world’s most popular newsletter about miniature gardening. It’s written by miniature gardeners, for miniature gardeners.

Sign up through our main website here.

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

What did YOU think that fairies needed that nobody talks about? Leave your comments below, we would love to hear from you!

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

The backdrop was made from a bamboo placemat. We glued stakes on the back to hold it rigid, and to stake it. The trees were painted for more color. That back vase is just that – it’s not planted up – the branches will last for a couple of months before they will need replacing.

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

I found this miniature bathroom set many years ago at a miniature show. It’s discontinued, but it’s the PERFECT fairy bathroom! Lol!

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

Customized fairy figure. It’s a Mary Brown fairy that I glued material onto, painted, painted and painted in layers, and remade into my own lil’ fairy.

April Fools Day in the Miniature Garden

 

 

Comments (3)

Miniature Gardening at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Part 2

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Recap: The miniature garden demonstration went very well, it was the biggest book-signing at the show up to that day! I was tickled to be able to show veteran miniature setting artists a new way to garden in miniature.

Miniature Gardening at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Part 2

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind book tour. Now I know why celebrities only make the media ’rounds every couple of years and I did a fraction of what they do. Glad to be back at my desk and catching up on all things miniature garden. As promised, here’s part two of the Philadelphia Flower Show – the inside scoop…

The Philadephia Flower Show has been my holy grail since I first heard about the Miniature Settings exhibit many years ago. It is the only show to embrace this level of gardening and, boy, it was so inspiring to see them up-close and personal. To get an inside tour from Dr. K. herself, Louise Krasniewicz, the Vice Chair of the exhibit PLUS to have time to dream and scheme with Ron Hoess, the Chair and veteran miniature setting artist, was just the icing on the cake.

Here are my favorite exhibits with a little insight as to why I think they worked so well. It took me going back later on Saturday night to realize there was an outdoor section on one side and in indoor section on the other. Of course my fave was the outdoor displays. OMG – Every time I look at these photos I want to drop everything and make something! Taxes? Paperwork? What IS that?!?! Lol!

Remember, click to enlarge the photos to see the details. All gardens are 1″ scale (1:12th scale.)

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – Mythical Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Pamela Goldman. This was a clear favorite. The intricate colors and textures of the tile work combined with the lush foliage created a very exotic scene.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world but the location was never known. It’s present-day location is in Iraq. Pam Goldman made the trip to the area to gather inspiration for this display – I would like to take a moment to thank her for doing so, and to say, “You forgot to take me with you!” Lol!

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

The use of “big” leafed plants and palm leaves immediately placed this in context to be from a hot climate. The turquoise, blue and gold colors create a rich backdrop for the plants. The components, the pillars and staircase, gave the artist more opportunities to show-off intricate tile work and bring different colors into the palette – but not too many as to clutter the idea. The combined greens of the plants offer balance from the colorful, detailed work.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

The fountain in the back corner worked with a trickling of water. Note how she hung strands of the String of Pearl succulent down from the wall planter beside the fountain to look like ivy. The cheetahs inside the palace cinch the idea that the scene is something not-of-this-world.

Sorry about the glare in these photos, all the displays were behind glass.

Philly-Miniature_Garden_Settings 8 (1)

Blues, blues and more blues are carried up into the sky. The tile work of the fountain really conveyed the age with its patchwork details and timeworn form. The layers of walls behind and beside the fountain help the archaic feeling of the scene.

Master of Suspense: The Birds by Louise Krasniewicz

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

The Master of Suspense: The Birds display by Louise Krasniewicz. Louise created the major components from scratch after finding it difficult to purchase the right kind of buildings and fences that were exactly to scale, and had the right age to them. The judges got out their ruler when they saw the “regulation-sized” mailbox in the front that was in perfect scale that appeared a bit big, but wasn’t at all. You can start to see how challenging this is when the rulers come out.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Master of Suspense: The Birds by Louise Krasniewicz – right side. The school on the right was just lovely in detail, some of the windows being opened and others closed, was a nice touch. The judges commented on such a bare sky, but I seem to recall how bare the background and ocean sky felt in the movie. What’s right? Maintaining a balance within the miniature scene for the viewer, or producing a loyal representation of the subject, in this case, the movie The Birds?

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Louise created the monkey bars and the birds from a 3D printer and after many attempts, she nailed it. About 4 different sizes/styles of crows were made in multiples, then she bent the wings in different ways to create a dramatic murder of crows. There was no question where this scene was from and it delivered the message instantly.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Louise’s garden beds were so sweet. She plays with rooting cuttings and uses them while they are very young. Begonias and succulent starts are her favorite. The different sizes and colors of leaves create a realistic garden bed. She made the pretty picket fence from scratch in perfect scale, which only added to the realism.

Note that Louise’s miniature garden plants are grown specifically for the show and meant to only last for the two weeks that the show is up, (includes set-up days before it opens.) Katy, Ron Hoess’ other half and the brains behind the plant nomenclature, told me of a time when she kept the garden part of their display together after the show, and placed it on the windowsill at home. It lasted about a month before it was overgrown and leggy. Even though this way of miniature gardening doesn’t last long, I imagine it’s very fun to create.

Come to think of it, it’s how the full-sized garden shows are created in the middle of winter too: they force the plants to leaf and bloom in greenhouses to get the ready for the big display gardens. Quite a feat!

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Louise had well over 30 different plants in her mini garden beds. More textures and color were used throughout the rest of the garden.  The result was a very realistic garden similar to what was in Annie’s garden in the movie. Note how the path is aged with tiny weeds growing in between the bricks on the left.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

After getting to know Louise a bit, I knew that every detail was carefully thought out — even the door is cracked open, stirring anyone’s natural curiosity. The lavender house, the pretty white trim and fence, combined with the pale sky made the perfect backdrop for the black crows. I thought this a great balance between miniatures and garden.

See more of Louise’s work, along with the rest of the artists, on her blog here. She had a more than a little fun with it after the show ended!

 

The Lady of Shalott, by Deb and Jim Mackie

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

The Lady of Shalott, by Deb & Jim Mackie. Was a beautiful representation of the painting. I think everything was made from scratch, including the boat and the figure. The water is resin.

See how the boat was made from scratch on Louise’s blog (aka Dr. K.) Miniature Flower Show Settings. Scroll down through the blog, Dr. K. shared several pictures of Deb and Jim’s progress.

Philly-Miniature_Garden_Settings 7 1 (1)

Jim and Deb Mackie did a fantastic job in adapting the painting to “3D” – not an easy feat as you can’t really see what is going on beyond the boundaries of the painted canvas. (The painting was an interpretation of a poem.) Light symbolizes life, which is why two out of the three candles on the bow of the boat are blown out – a premonition of what’s about to happen.

For the story behind The Lady of Shallot, we rely on our favorite Internet resource, Wikipedia.

Philly-Miniature_Garden_Settings 7 1 (1)

Deb Mackie’s specialty is miniature fine art dolls. You can see the fear of the unknown on Lady Shallot’s face as she frantically searches for her Lancelot – time is of the essence! The draping tapestry dipping into the water is a perfect touch. The brick work on the castle was impeccable. Note again, how all the background colors are monochromatic, the figure and tapestry are from a much brighter palette. This directs the viewer’s eye to the main character.

See Deb Mackie’s Etsy store here. 

Hepworth: The Modern Stone Age by Lori Anne Currall

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Hepworth: The Modern Stone Age by Lori Anne Currall. Is just lovely. The soft color of the stone walls are a perfect replica of Barbara Hepworth’s St. Ivy Garden Studio in the UK. The scene is so intricate with dust on the floor, dirt in the corners and several cats mewing about that you don’t quite notice the miniature Hepworth sculptures on the tables and in the garden.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

This was another scene where it was so well done, it looked like a scene shrunken from full-size. I love the windows that peek out into the garden to show another piece of art by Hepworth. The pots look like they were found at a garage sale and plants are in perfect scale while being slightly unkempt – as it would in an artist’s studio where the focus is the art.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Lori Anne did a wonderful job with the flooring. Not all the tiles would age exactly the same, and they would become uneven over time too. Check out the well-done plumbing underneath the sink.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Bare bulbs, little messes and wonderful in-scale details help the viewer put the story together quickly and easily. A pair of glasses on the table – was the artist JUST here?? It’s the traces of life you can add to your scenes to not only help with the realism, but to help tell the story.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

“Daylight” streams through the skylight to illuminate the scene – the perfect light for an artist. Look how Lori Ann included a few auxiliary lights coming down from the ceiling on the left. Just lovely! When can I move in?

The Inside Scoop

Because the Miniature Settings Exhibits are temporary, they tend to be made from tape and cardboard just like a full-sized stage setting where the public wouldn’t see the hidden “duct-tape and chewing gum” that holds it all together while the show goes on. Again, this is where the difference between our miniature gardens and these miniature settings lay: we try to get ours to stay together for as long as we can by using authentic materials and true miniature plants.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Inside the Miniature Settings Exhibit from the Philadelphia Flower Show that ended March 9th. The walls are re-used from year to year and you can see the displays are held up by tiny tables and sometimes paint cans (see on the left!) I imagine it’s pretty chaotic during set-up but nary a miniaturist was in sight when Louise gave me the tour.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

I’m not sure but I think this was Louise’s exhibit, the creator of The Birds. Lol! Many different sizes of crows, from full-size and smaller, were randomly displayed here on the backside of the exhibit ant on the front-side too. It was too fun!

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Extra plants were kept handy – see the wagon on the right – some of the more fragile plants had to be switched out during the show. The exhibit had to be accessible as well, to water and maintain the plants. You can see how the artists create light streaming through the windows in their displays. Note that some of the smaller lighting, like in the lamps and wall sconces, were made from dollhouse-lighting.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

The best flowers from Philadelphia Flower Show? Were from fellow Miniature Gardener, Pauline, who went out of her way to see me – and to bring me flowers! I brought them home with me. Lol! Thank you, Pauline!

Like this? We are everything miniature garden here on the Mini Garden Guru Blog as we celebrate 5 years blogging about this very creative hobby.

You can sign up to receive emails when a new blog is posted up on the right, >>

OR you can join our Mini Garden Gazette newsletter and receive our summaries once a month,  sign up on our main website here.

Miniature Gardening

Comments (2)

Miniature Gardening at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Part 1

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Demonstration & Book Signing

Yours Truly, me, Janit Calvo, doing a miniature garden demonstration at the Philadelphia Flower Show on my Gardening in Miniature book tour. The Philly Show was my holy grail. What’s next? Get me to the Chelsea Garden Show! Lol!

Miniature Gardening at the Philadelphia Flower Show, Part 1

I am very pleased to be reporting in from the Philadelphia Flower Show today and bring you a review of the popular Miniature Setting exhibit. I’m pretty sure it was the busiest exhibit at the show with a constant line-up of people shuffling through to see in the dozen window boxes. Up until now, I’ve only seen pictures of it and didn’t realize how much fun they had with the idea. In this post and in the next, I hope to share some of the things that surprised and delighted me.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

The line-ups around the Miniature Settings Exhibit were one of the biggest, constant lines in the show.

I also had the opportunity to meet the Vice-Chair, Louise Krasneiwicz and Chair of the exhibit, Ron Hess and his wife, Katy. What. A. Treat. Louise was gracious host and, not only gave me the inside scoop/tour on the Miniature Settings exhibit, she helped with me with the logistics of my talk, turned into my rhodie and my photographer. (She is SO hired!) Afterwards, we unconsciously sought out every miniature garden and plant in the show – honestly, we had no agenda, we just did –  Lol! What fun surprise to meet a kindred spirit!

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

The exhibit is roughly 25′ long by 12′ wide – my guess-timate. Windows are framed nicely and cleaned of nose-prints several times a day.

A Little About the Philly Flower Show

If you’ve never been, the Philadelphia Flower Show is the oldest and biggest flower show in the nation, if not the world. Founded in 1827 by America’s first horticultural society, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, the show is now 33 acres big with the garden exhibit space taking up a good 10 acres of that, in the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philly.

It’s a bit different than our Northwest Flower and Garden Show, with more attention given to individual gardeners and artists to participate and show off their growing skills and creativity. At the NWFGS, it is all professionals exhibiting – but, hey, the PHS has had a little, teeny bit of a head start in developing their program, eh?

Enough of the talk, lets get to the photos! I’m not going into a lot of detail right now because there is so much to say and, well, you know me! Next week, I’ll walk through my favorites and we can really have a good look and discussion about the plants too.

Oh, and all the plants are real – which was a surprise to me. When I first looked into this show years ago, I remember a lot of the plants being artificial, but the rules have always been, you must have at least eight rooted plants and the display scale is 1 inch = 1 foot. Click to enlarge the photo.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – The Studio Boat by Paul & Nancy Hannum & the Norristown Garden Club.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings -Painters’ Duel in Collioure, France by K Bright & SK Sullivan.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings -The Lady of Shalott, by Deb & Jim Mackie.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – Mythical Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Pamela Goldman.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – Master of Suspense: The Birds by Louise Krasniewicz – left side.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – Master of Suspense: The Birds by Louise Krasniewicz – right side. We’ll see more details in a later blog.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – Frida Kahlo – An Artful Life by Barbara Campbell & Georgianna S. Hoffmann.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – Gavin’s Masterpiece by CKP.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – Hepworth: The Modern Stone Age by Lori Anne Currall.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – Wright Beside Them by Nancy Grube. 

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – Living with Keith Haring by Ronny Smith

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – Workshop of the Maestro by Beverly Sue Palaia.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Settings – A Sculpture Garden by Christine Donahower, Craiger Drake & Maryalice Cheney.

It’s The Same, But Different

Note that this type of miniature gardening is different than what we normally do here at The Mini Garden Guru blog and Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center. Our miniature gardens can last for years, the plants in this display are meant to last for days and some plants are switched out during the show because they reach for the light too quickly, or crash under the stress. It’s a different set of “problems” for the miniature gardener to solve. (We love problems, they bring opportunity for creative invention!)

After the book tour when things settle down I want to go more in-depth about how our fellow MGs in Philadelphia grow and nurture their plants for this 8-day show. In the meantime, hop on over to Louise’s blog, aka Dr. K, Flower Show Miniature Setttings, The Dirt on Putting one Together… And stay tuned next week: we’ll go more in-depth about our favorite Miniature Settings display.

So, every display got a 1st, 2nd, 3rd place or Honorable Mention ribbon, but which one do you think won Best in Show? Leave it in the comments below and please don’t spoil it for the others if you know.

Inspired to make your own living miniature garden? See what’s up in the store this week. Our miniature garden plant and accessory inventory fluctuates from week to week. Click-in here.

Your Miniature Garden Center

Comments (4)

Miniature Garden Ideas for Black Thumbs, Part II

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

With this idea, you can grow a little something just about anywhere.

Miniature Garden Ideas for Black Thumbs, Part II

With a name like Two Green Thumbs, I tend to turn-off non-gardener immediately. I don’t mean to, if they only knew that I’m pretty good at killing plants too. So, the other week when I was brainstorming for my Pottery Barn gig I had to switch my thinking to be more inline with their inventory. It wasn’t hard to get enthusiastic about their products – someone give me a gift certificate and I’ll show you how fast I can use it – but it was a bit of a puzzle to come up with new and different ways to use living plants. Here’s the second half of what I demonstrated for our fellow miniature gardeners at the University Village Pottery Barn store.

See the first blog post here on easy cache-pot gardening, When Pottery Barn Meets Miniature Gardening.

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

A close-up shows the hidden tequila bottle that holds the houseplant cuttings. We call them twee gardens.

Twee Gardens: Miniature Fun with Houseplant Cuttings

For the beach garden that looks like a terrarium, I placed a clear glass tequila bottle in the bowl first, then layered in the different stones and sand. Between each layer of stone or sand, I put a piece of landscape cloth to help preserve the layers. Any kind of cloth or paper will suffice because it’s not supposed to get wet.

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

I used two Pothos cuttings at first – but it didn’t cut it, then added a couple of Begonia branches for some much-needed height. After they root, I can either plant them in soil by transitioning them from water, to wet soil, to regular damp soil gradually, for the best success. Or, I can leave them to grow in the water. Easy. Peasy.

This can be done with any theme. I always tend to go for a beach theme because its one of my fave places to go and I seldom have a chance to because of my work, so I getaway in small doses. (Ha! Do the puns EVER stop? ;o) The patio was taken out of a regular miniature garden than needed repotting. The adirondack chair , logs and shells with the superfine sand in perfect scale, delivers the message perfectly.

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

Now you have an idea for that darling candy dish or vase that you’ve had for years but never used for anything – a twee garden!

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

I’ve been holding on to these small glass vials that I think are from the medical industry – does anyone know what they were used for?

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

Aaaand that little vials sits in this vase just right.

When you put it together, hold the vase at the height that you want inside the vase/dish and then pour the pebbles in. If you mess-up, dump it all out in a tray or cookie sheet so you can corral the pebbles easily.

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

Looks like dessert! Wouldn’t this be a perfect centerpiece for a wedding or special event? Those are Hinoki Cypress branches that last for a surprisingly long time – but they probably won’t make a very successful plant start.

The Definition of Twee: In British English it is used much more widely for things that are nauseatingly cute or precious. - The Urban Dictionary

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

This vase is buried about half-way into the pebbles. That is an Adromeda ‘Little Heath’ branch that lasts a long time in water but I don’t expect it to root in soil. Note that the miniature accessories will tell the scale, and the story.

I’m not expecting this Andromeda branch to root although it might if I leave it in the water long enough. With this idea, you can treat it like a flower vase too, and refresh different cuttings whenever you want. A friend with a garden would be very handy to have, and they probably won’t mind giving you a wee branch of something on a regular basis.

A quick list of plants that apparently root well in water: succulents, vines, spider plants, pothos, mint, basil, rosemary, African violets, begonias, coleus, geraniums, impatiens and willow. Experiment!

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

I put in a fresh Andromeda Little Heath branch for a show the Seattle Miniature Show past weekend, and all of a sudden it needed something taller. The miniature tower birdhouse fit the bill perfectly.

See our selection of bird houses here.

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

With this Twee Garden idea, you can grow a little something just about anywhere, and you don’t have to worry about the water or dampness. I used a turkey baster to direct the water right into the vase. Squirt gently!

See our selection of miniature furniture here.

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

I brought the group to the Seattle Miniature Show and, everyone liked it! I won the second place ribbon!

Like this? The you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette. Join us here.

Visit our store for more ideas and inspiration here.

Miniature Garden Center

Comments (4)

Older Posts »
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,856 other followers

%d bloggers like this: