A”Little” Miniature Garden Help

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Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The online garden community came together over the last few weeks to help a friend who has always helped us.

A”Little” Miniature Garden Help

I love it when a plan comes together. Okay, it was really a community of gardeners’ plan that happened through a secret group on Facebook to make it a surprise. The online garden group organized a campaign over the last few weeks to help Annie Haven of Authentic Haven Brand Manure Teas get re-established after a long and painfully dry summer that put her business in jeopardy. The drought in California put far too many farms and farmer’s families in a tight spot and we were glad to be able to help Annie just as much as she helps us and our gardens with her organic line of natural teas.

Miniature Moo Poo Tea Bags

After shrinking the labels on our copier/printer, the next trick was figuring out the packaging.

Your Garden’s Health is Your Health

Annie’s Moo Poo Tea is made from composted manure that is free of antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO/GE feed, herbicide and pesticides. That’s not an easy feat among the shelves of chemical fertilizers and pesticides you see at garden centers, and the big-money advertising/product placement at the big-box stores over the last couple of years. Keeping a natural garden is more than necessary your children, pets and the environment, plus it is needed for the birds and other critters that help with the unseen cycle of garden-life that happens right under our noses.

But, as miniature gardeners, we don’t really want to fertilize our gardens too much because the plants will grow faster. The new potting soil that has fertilizers in it is the number one killer of miniature garden plants, and we try to educate every customer that buys our plants as much as possible. Regular potting soil, with no additives or polymers, usually has enough nutrients for the plants to grow at least two years before needing anything extra. And then after the two year wait, we usually recommend a mild, organic fertilizer. (Follow the instructions for using the regular organic fertilizers, some are time-released and others aren’t.)

Miniature Moo Poo Tea

I cut up a regular tea bag and quickly found out that using the loose tea for the dried manure wasn’t going to work. Instead, I used a cotton ball cut in half and rolled it up in tea-bag-cloth. To mimic the plastic bag, I cut up a corner of a small back and taped it with clear tape on the backside. Thankfully I had some “bigger” thread that looks like the twine that Annie uses on her packaging.

Authentic Natural Teas

So, where do we love using the Authentic Haven Brand Moo Poo Tea as miniature gardeners? Let me count the ways:Shop Miniature Gardens at Two Green Thumbs

-  Displays and Competitions: Start prepping your display garden by using Moo Poo Tea every time you water at least a couple of weeks before your big show. Go with the nature’s rhythm and use it during the growing season. If your competition is in the winter, compensate for the blast of nutrients by simulating spring – move the garden inside or to a warmer spot at least a month ahead of the contest so the plants don’t get too confused. Back off of the Moo Poo Tea after the competition, you don’t want the garden to grow, just to look its best. Graduate the garden back outside to the cold weather in stages being careful to avoid any extreme changes in light and temperature.

- Dividing and Repotting: Sometimes we get to this fun chore in the fall, but the spring seems to be better for when we really feel like being in the garden and getting our hands dirty. Give your smaller divisions and plant starts a good soaking in Moo Poo Tea before you transplant. I like to keep a bucket on hand when I’m sorting out my in-ground garden and put the new plants in it to keep them happy until I get back to my potting bench and start potting them up. “Water in” the new plantings with Moo Poo Tea to give them a good start.

Miniature Gardening with Moo Poo Tea

All that was left to do was to figure out the shot. This is our one-sixth scale miniature garden. A one-inch scale would have made the Moo Poo Tea package too small to register. 

- Rejuvenating: If your plants or garden gets too dry and the health of the plants begin to waver, soak the whole pot in a bucket of Moo Poo Tea for a couple hours. Making sure the soil is soaked all the way through by waiting for the air bubbles to stop and the pot to sink. Then take the pot out of the bucket and let the pot drain. Make sure the soil has dried-out to barely damp before you water it with regular water.

- Perfect for Young Kids and Pets: We relied on Moo Poo Tea this past summer when our dog was still a puppy because our regular organic fertilizer smelled delicious to our little girl! Oh my, she was so interested it it I had to put on the very top shelf of the potting bench! It only took one pot placed on the floor to realize that there was no way we could use it in our garden beds and pots. So, Moo Poo Tea to the rescue! While smelling equally as yummy to the puppy, at least absorbed immediately into the soil and gave our gardens the nutrients the plants needed – while NOT giving the puppy anything to get into. We kept the brewed tea in a reused kitty little bucket with a lid if we couldn’t use it all at once.

In our full-sized gardens, we just love it! It’s especially good for the heavy feeding plants like annuals and vegetables – and great for soaking seeds and bulbs before planting. We’ve tried her Alfalfa Tea for roses too – my miniature and full-size rose collection loves a good dose in early spring and another in early summer.

To find out more about Annie Havens’ Authentic Haven brand of teas here. You can order some for your garden plants through the website too – note that Annie always has free shipping!

Like this? Join our mailing list for more insight into the joy of miniature gardening here.

[Full disclosure: We don’t make any money from this recommendation/affiliation, we only believe in the product and the company.)

Miniature Gardening with Moo Poo Tea

 

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Inspiration from Adversity : Miniature Gardening on Pinterest

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs and Janit Calvo

Don’t be a troll. It’s easier, less stressful, and a lot better for your mind and health to be kind.

Inspiration from Adversity : Miniature Gardening on Pinterest

“It’s the price of fame.” A friend reminded me when I told her of my Internet troll that is stalking me around social media calling me names and telling complete lies about me. What did I do to her? I wrote a bestselling book on miniature gardening. So, after one minute of getting mad and frustrated, I realized that not everyone gets a stalker. Hey, maybe I am famous! Lol! Thanks, troll!

And what this immature woman doesn’t realize is that I came from a large family where I was the middle child and learned how to fight back. I learned many years ago to take adversity and draw personal power from it. I can make insults the wind beneath my wings now. I can turn anyone’s lack of confidence in me into personal inspiration. Tell me I can’t do it and watch me do it. So, thanks again, troll! I’m going to do more, write more, create more and yeah, you’ll be seeing more of my work simply because it helps people and makes people happy.

Pinterest is for Everybody

So, if you received a “Pin Removal from Two Green Thumbs” notice from Pinterest a couple of weeks ago, we apologize! 

In an effort to thwart this Internet troll, I had to delete several pins throughout the Pinterest site. I’ve re-posted some of them here so you can re-pin them to your boards. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for pinning politely and including the original link to the photo that you pin.

To tell if it’s a legitimate pin, click into the pin, and look at what is below the photo – it should tell you the website where it is from.

If it is NOT a legitimate pin, you will only see “Pin uploaded by pinner” or just the pinner’s name with no or very little explanation. In this case, this should be the pinner’s photo, and the description, I hope, should fill you in as to what it’s about. Otherwise with no source, credit, description or website below it, more than often not, it is somebody else’s work. See the photo below for an example of what to look for. 

These are Pinterest’s guidelines that are in place so that everyone can find out the source of that pretty photo, great idea or at least know where it came from. Without these critical links Pinterest, it becomes a useless photo album that teases everyone because they can’t find out where it came from, how to do it, or how to get it for themselves.

Pinterest Example

Look for the source of the link. We want to know how to make it or how to get it and your followers do too. That’s the point of Pinterest.

That said, here are some of the pins that were deleted for your re-pinning pleasure:

Two Green Thumbs Avatar

My main avatar throughout the internet. This photo was taken around 2005. Those are two Compressa Junipers on either side of the path.

Two Green Thumbs' Avatar

Another version of my popular avatar.

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs & Janit Calvo

This is a version of the ‘Pond-in-a-Pot’ project from my Gardening in Miniature book, 2013. That’s a Jacqueline Hillier Elm tree hanging over the pond. The flowers are miniature daisies.

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs & Janit Calvo

Silver & blue miniature garden for the holiday season, 2012, from our series, A Year in the Miniature Garden. Blue Moon Cypress on the left, Miniature Juniper on the right with the blue-bead garland.

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs & Janit Calvo

A miniature christmas garden from 2012. That tree is a Piccolo Balsam Fir.

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs & Janit Calvo

These were being called Bonsai from the pins I had deleted which they are not at all. You can get the look of a bonsai tree in your miniature garden but once you put the mini bedding plants, the patio and the accessories in there, it becomes a garden in miniature.

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs & Janit Calvo

This is The Garden Shed. It won Best of Show at the Seattle Dollhouse Miniature Show in 2005.

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs & Janit Calvo

This was a nice surprise all the way from South Africa. She found me at the big Northwest Flower and Garden Show around 2006 where she bought the furniture, birdbath and garden tools from me. She emailed me this a couple of weeks later. I was floored!

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs & Janit Calvo

A wedding gift for a couple of Fellow Miniature Gardeners.

And here is a bunch of great ‘pin-able’ photos from the Sierra Club’s website, click here.

I know I missed some reposting some pins. If any of your favorite photos aren’t here, please get in touch and I’ll dig them out.

Like this? Then join us for more fun in the miniature garden here.

And here is our Pinterest boards if you are interested in seeing more: http://www.Pinterest.com/Janit

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

 

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Happy Halloween in the Miniature Garden

Happy Halloween from TwoGreenThumbs.com!

Happy Halloween from TwoGreenThumbs.com!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN
from Your Miniature Garden Center, TwoGreenThumbs.com!

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Halloween DIY: How to Make Miniature Zombies

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Don’t throw away your broken and weathered miniature garden accessories, they can make terrifically unusual and one-of-a-kind Halloween decorations. 

Halloween DIY: How to Make Miniature Zombies

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Steve pegged this one – pardon the pun. The peg-leg was his idea as well as the bandages, then it was all fun from there.

I normally don’t care for gore and blood. Dress up like a zombie for Halloween? No thanks, I’d rather be anything else. I used to like the old fashioned horror movies that left much to my own imagination and that was, and still is, puh-lenty for me. Do you remember being completely freaked-out when you heard “The call is from inside the house.” in When a Stranger Calls. See? That thought still makes me crawl up into a ball and shudder.

When I started to consider this miniature zombie idea, it took me awhile to add the blood-red, and I was even apprehensive about the foot bones on the gnome. But as soon as I did, I knew what had to be done. And you know, it was really, really fun to do! So I hope your like me and saved your broken and weathered miniatures, now get them out and prepare for some kind of Halloween fun. These little zombies are sure to surprise and delight anyone who sees them in your miniature or fairy garden. Remember to mix them up with gravestones because that’s where they came from, right? Too fun!

Here’s a step-by-step how to of how I made a regular Bather figure into a zombie. I chose the garden miniatures without much clothing so I could focus on the vieny, bruised zombie skin to get my point across. I used acrylic paint for the washes and seal them with UV Protectant spray to preserve the color. Following the how-to are more before and after examples of zombie bashing.

Click the pictures to enlarge them.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

I chose the less-clothed figures because I wanted to age the skin.

Find The Bather here.

Find David here.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Wash it with a coat of white paint.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Gently blot off the white paint until it looks like pasty skin. You can add more white paint and blot again if needed. Let it dry or use a hair dryer to speed up the drying time.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Using a fine-tipped Sharpie, draw on the veins on the skin. You can use paint, but a marker is easier to control.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Make sure you vein all the skin-parts. Blacken the eyes too and make bags under each eye.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Dull  the vein color with another wash of white paint.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Blot off white paint. Let dry or use a hair dryer.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

With a dark gray color or Payne’s Gray, paint the skin-parts with a wash of gray. Paint the hair with either a solid coat of paint or a wash to let the hair texture show.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Blot off the gray paint from the skin. Get the gray into the folds and creases so it looks more defined.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Paint the clothing any color you like. Of course, I choose green. ;o) Keep working the skin with washes until your happy – or until she looks dead enough. Let dry.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Using white duct tape, cut tiny strips our for the bandages. Get another pair of hands to help you or put the roll between your knees while holding one corner and cutting as straight as you can. It is a zombie so don’t worry if it is a bit crooked or choppy.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Cut several strips at a time, then cut them off the roll, it’s easier. You can use cheesecloth and white glue for a different type of bandage but it will take a couple of hours for the glue to dry thoroughly.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Bandage up your miniature zombie wherever you see fit. Use a couple of layers and remember not to be too neat.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Ow. It looks like her arm hurts. Lol!

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

With the gray wash, paint over the bandages to age and dirty them.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Paint a wash on the clothing too – zombies are from the grave and are supposed to be messy. I went back in with the Sharpie and marked up the clothing at bit. Add subtle washes of green and blue for more bruising if you want. Darken the eyes with more gray wash.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Add the final touches of blood red around the bandages, lacerations on the arms and legs, blood drips from the ears, mouth and nose and maybe a bang on the head. Ew. Lol! Spray with sealer or UV spray.

Here are some before and after examples so you can really see the difference.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Isn’t she lovely? From elegant to scary… very… scary.

Find the Bather here. 

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Before. After. Alive. Undead. Lol!

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

I used the same process as the step-by-step Bather Zombie above with washes of white, gray and red. The googly-eye really did the trick too. Hiding the glue with miniature sand is perfect for the zombie theme. Note the foot-bones, it really brought home the idea of a severed foot.

Find the Green Gnome here. I call him the All Knowing Gnome. There are more styles of gnomes – and smaller ones – here.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

A little humor always helps. I laughed when I glued the moss on his butt. He deserved it. Lol!

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Spooky the Cat just got creepier. As soon as I glued a google-eye on it, Steve wanted to bandage the other. Note the small details like the gash on its front leg.

Find Spooky the Cat here.

Now you don’t have to wait until you break something either. You can easily snap off a leg or a head and get on with it. The one thing to remember when intentionally breaking any resin miniatures is that they may not break exactly where you want them to – so go with it, be flexible and have fun. Thankfully, zombies don’t care about what they look like and you can always use a bandage to cover something up.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

Boy with Duck. When the duck’s head chipped off, I was about to throw it out but kept it just in case. I’m glad I did. Gruesome! The wings are from a bat toothpick: I snapped them off, carved them to match the curve of the back, hot-glued them on the back and used white glue and sand to hide the glue. That’s artificial moss on the rock. Poor duck.

Find the Boy with Duck.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

What? I can’t hear you. What did you say? Half-deaf zombie rabbits. Gross but effective.

Find the rabbit here. 

This was from last week’s blog post. You can now see where all the parts came from.

Miniature Zombie Gardening with Janit Calvo

The  Lady Pumpkin Head – the pumpkin was staked on the body with a small rod for strength. The Skull Birdbath – the skull beads stacked nicely on a rod from the base right up to the basin. I used two-part epoxy and hid the glue by sprinkling sand and moss on it while it was wet. Then I painted them with washes of acrylic until I was satisfied that they looked ancient enough.

Find the all our birdbath styles here.

Find our pumpkins in two different sets here and here.

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Miniature Halloween Garden

 

 

 

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Miniature Halloween Gardening with Plow & Hearth

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Many are called but few are chosen: when I came across these baby snails during the photo shoot, I knew what I had to do. See the bigger one on his lap. Snails are not included. Lol!

Miniature Halloween Gardening with Plow & Hearth

Have a “little” fun in the miniature garden by mixing and matching Plow & Hearth’s fairy items and houses with their holiday accessories. In this blog today, we’ve used their houses in a couple of different gardens so you can get a better idea of what they look like. I’ve made notes about the plants and design throughout as well.

Click to enlarge the photos to have a better look.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

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- The backdrop of the Wilma Goldcrest cypress (aka Lemon Cypress) behind the Stucco Fairy Garden Cottage adds a splash of color in the winter months. If the temperature dips to freezing, I’ll have to cover them somehow, they are hardy to 0F.

- To make the hill, we mounded up the soil, planted the top then placed the stones and stairs into the side of the mound. We’re gradually adding little ground covers in between the stones to help hold the soil in place – a technique used in full-sized gardening here in Seattle to prevent mudslides.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Bird’s eye view so you can see what’s going on. 

- That “big” tree up on the hill is a Jervis Canada Hemlock. The ground cover that is cascading down the hill is a ground cover thyme.  The wee shrubs lining the fence on the right-hand side are Alpine Spireas that are getting ready to shed their leaves for the winter.

- We usually use our Mini Patio Mix Kit to lock in the stone sheets but you can use them without and fill in the gaps with more soil. In a climate like Seattle, moss will eventually find its way into the cracks if I can leave it alone for a few seasons.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

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- Get “matchy-matchy” with your patio and houses, it just looks better. See the photo before this one to compare – it looked alright until we switched houses and found that this combo was much prettier. Pick up the colors of the house when selecting your miniature patio materials.

- When placing your items in your miniature garden, place them as you would in your full-size garden to help the realism and the enchantment. Leave pathways clear for foot traffic and the door free of clutter to go in and out. Make your path and patios cohesive by creating them with the same stone, or at least the same color of stone. See our Patio and Path Department for more ideas.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The Thatched Fairy Cottage can look like a completely different house when turned at an angle. The sides of all the houses have cute details, windows and flower boxes.

- Since working with the Plow & Hearth miniature fairy garden houses and accessories in our new in-ground garden, I must point out that I have some neighbors walk by and don’t see these fun details at all – and they don’t even see me in the garden either  - and others just melt, point, giggle and say OMG alot. Lol!

- The Halloween Accessory Set from Plow & Hearth is very sturdy and staked with a rod to hold their place in the garden soil. Great for kids 6 and up, and perfect for “big” kids like you and me!

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

I had to try the baby snail on the ghost too. Cuteness abounds!

Like this? They you’ll love our monthly Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter delivered to thousands of fellow miniature gardeners throughout the world. Join us here by filling out the form and confirming through your email address.

Find your miniature garden trees, shrubs, plants and patio materials here, in your Miniature Garden Center.

Miniature Halloween Garden

 

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Decorating Fun in the Miniature Halloween Garden

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

Decorating the Miniature Halloween Garden with a blend of DIY and new accessories. That’s a Cotoneaster with the berries on the left, and the “big” tree is a Nana Hinoki Cypress.

Decorating Fun the Miniature Halloween Garden

TIEG Chris Halloween

Chris, ViAnn and Della, of The Inland Empire Garden Club fame, go big each Halloween.

I saw a friend’s post on Facebook this morning showing her full Halloween display all a-glow and ready for The Day. So, I collected a bunch of my own miniature Halloween items and raided both of our online stores to see if I could do the same. It kinda worked, but I’m really missing the lights. Check it out, there are some DIY ideas in here that you may be able to use!

Happy decorating!

Click to enlarge the photos.

 

Halloween in the Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Skeleton Birdbath: What to do with your broken miniatures? Glue them together a different, creepy way. Use moss and sand to hide the glue, then give it a light wash with acrylic paint, first in moss-green, then in payne’s grey. The bottom of this birdbath is part of a Grapevine Birdbath.

See the Grapevine Birdbath here. Above, see our Cotoneasters and Hinoki Cypress here.

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

Skeleton Birdbath: Top view. The top of this birdbath is from our Cherub Birdbath. I used a smaller skull bead and some moss to hide the big chip in it. Again, I hid the glue by sprinkling moss and sand on the wet glue.

See the Cherub Birdbath here. See all our birdbaths here.

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

Large size tombstones are the perfect scale. Staked to hold in place in the garden soil.

See our one-of-a-kind, large size tombstones here, in our Etsy store.

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well. We pinned the skull to the pedestal by drilling a rod through the back of the skull and a hole in the top of the pedestal. A little two-part expoxy made a nice, sturdy bond. That painted pumpkin is from the same set we carry in the Two Green Thumbs’ store.

Find the skull on pedestal here. We’ll have that creepy hand available in our Etsy store next week. (Email if you can’t wait: info@TwoGreenThumbs.com)

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

Isn’t she beautiful? This was made from the broken base of the Cherub Birdbath and one of the pumpkins. I colored in the eyes, nose and mouth with a fine-point Sharpie marker. A tiny rod with a little two-part epoxy holds the pumpkin on the neck.

See the Cherub Birdbath again here. The pumpkins are available here.

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

Skeleton torches are fun and easy to make. We used shish kabob skewers, drilled small pieces of driftwood, stacked them with the skull beads and glued in place with two-part epoxy. 

Find the green table and chair set here, in our Etsy store here. See it in white here.  See the black lamppost here, it’s staked on a rod to hold up in the soil.

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

Cute details on the Pumpkin with Lid. The ferns in the background is really a ground cover, not a fern, it’s the Platt’s Black Brass Buttons.

See the Pumpkin with Lid, the smaller pumpkins are available staked here. And, Spooky the Cat is here. Find the Platt’s Black Brass Buttons here.

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

Are you scared yet? This skeleton urn can be planted in different ways. Here we used a bit of preserved moss with Red Dragon Sedum cuttings. That’s Mr. RIP on the right. 

Find the skeleton urn here, in our Etsy store, it comes with Sedum cuttings. See Mr. RIP here.

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

Celtic Cross Tombstone has wonderful detailing. Large size now available.

See the Celtic Cross Tombstone here. See smaller staked tombstones, medium size/ 1/2″ scale here.

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

Tiny, medium-sized (1/2″) Tangerine Chair is just too cute. You can use it as decor for your large-size (1″) decor – as you would in your full-size decorating.

See the tiny chairs here, it’s also available in lime green, pretty blue and cherry red. See the pumpkins and cat in our Halloween Department here.

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

I broke this St. Francis figure and couldn’t find the head – so he got a new one. I really hope St. Francis doesn’t mind. Lol!

See the all our miniature garden figures here.

Halloween in the Miniature Garden with Janit Calvo

DIY Halloween Banner – free for all who sign up for our Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter!

Like this? Join us here to find out how to get this DIY Halloween banner.

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Working with Mini and Fairy Houses in the Miniature Garden

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Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Working with Plow & Hearth’s miniature garden houses today. We’ve worked their Fairy Garden Cottage with Turret into an already existing miniature garden layout here and found that it can add another level of curiosity and enchantment.

Working with Mini and Fairy Houses in the Miniature Garden

Working a tiny house into your miniature garden design can add another dimension to an already existing layout. Once the viewer sees the tiny house, the story starts to evolve and curiosity starts to bubble and perk as the questions begin: Whose house is that? What’s going on inside? I wonder if I can I see inside? Houses and buildings are especially effective with young children because their ability to suspend realism is very endearing, as well as the house being big enough not to get broken or lost in the garden bed.

Shop Two Green ThumbsSo, with a little help from Plow & Hearth today, we have a few houses to play with in various ways in our miniature gardens here at our studio. It is interesting to note that the few rules that do apply to miniature gardening apply to using miniature houses too. We found that it is still the combination of plants, patio and accessories with the house, that come together to create that “Aaawwww!” moment that delights and enchants instantly. Let’s take a look at the photos to see what works and what doesn’t.

[Click on the photos to enlarge them.]

In the photograph above, we fit the house underneath the canopy of a Jacqueline Hillier Elm, top-left corner, next to small Shimpaku Juniper shrub to the left of the house, you see the tiny trunk. The tall column of the Sky Pencil Japanese Holly to the right of the house works as an anchor point and helps to put the building into perspective for us. The patio and furniture helps deliver the scale.

The bottom layer is filled with small-leafed Sedums and ground covers to cinch the garden beds and to nestle-in the accessories. I resisted the urge to clean-up the shot and left the fallen leaves and debris alone. Note that the simple things, like a log or a boulder, can add a sense of permanence to the scene.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The same house, simplified. If you took away one element, the plants, the patio or the chair, the scene would look incomplete.

Here, we’ve used the same house in a different part of the garden – it’s Plow & Hearth’s Miniature Fairy Garden Cottage with Turret. The fine-foliage of the beautiful Tansu Japanese Cedar canopy on the right helps to put the house in scale, the smaller Balsam Fir and ground cover Red Thyme finish the simple scene on the left. If we didn’t have the patio and chair to complete the idea, the house would look a bit lost. This patio is made from rolled marble pebbles and tumbled glass pieces and laid-in by hand with our Mini Patio Mix Kit.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

I think there needs to be something else going on, like a birdbath or patio furniture. The house seems a bit lonely. Lol!

When photographing the houses, we found more mystery by photographing the scene from behind a taller tree or full-sized plant. That is a Pixie Dwarf Spruce on the right and another Balsam Fir on the left. The big trunk behind the house is a full-size Alpine Fir. The patio was made from our stone sheets and locked-in with our Mini Patio Mix Kit. This is Plow & Hearth’s Resin Thatched Fairy Cottage.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Fitting a scene in an already existing garden still needed a bit of help to look right.

It was very fun to walk around the garden and see where the house looked its best but, funnily enough, we had to go back to our main components to get the look that we wanted. The patio and pathway situated the house enough to make it look like it belonged there and the smaller plantings brought the scale down to match the house. Here, in this photo, there were a couple of miniature garden trees and trees to work with: that amber-colored shrub to the left is a small heather and then to the left of that is a Pixie Dwarf Spruce help layer the full-size plants down to miniature.

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Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

I couldn’t resist pairing the house with the reds and pinks of that Rose Glow Barberry behind it.

Now you can start to see how the smaller plantings around the house make it work. Now I want to live there. This is the Plow & Hearth Miniature Stucco Fairy GArden Cottage with Thatched Roof.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The ground covers in this part of the garden were planted about 4 years ago. You can see how fun it is to left them grow and weave together. I’ll have to get in there next spring and weed out the New Zealand Brass Buttons (the mini fern-like plant) as it is fairly invasive.

Just a little patio is all you need – pardon the pun – this one was made from marble pieces, an ivory stone sheet and our Mini Patio Mix. The Plow & Hearth Adirondack chairs are an invitation to come on in and sit down. The stumps are staked to hold in place in the garden soil. Again, the rocks add a sense of permanence. Find the miniature garden ground covers up the our online store here.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Have fun tucking some miniature details here and there to pique the viewers curiosity and force them to come in for a closer look.

Sedum cuttings in the wee pots make the perfect miniature container plants. Now you can see how aggressive that New Zealand Brass Buttons is but it grows on runners, so you can easily shovel-prune it or pull up the runners by hand. But boy does it look sweet.

Plow & Hearth carries the best book on Miniature Gardening too, if I may add. See Gardening in Minature: How to Create Your Own Tiny Living World up in their store here.

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Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

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