About The Mini Garden Guru
About Janit Calvo, The Mini Garden Guru
Owner & Founder of Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center
She’s an artist, a gardening enthusiast all her life, and an entrepreneur with a joie de vivre that makes just about anything come to life. As a passionate creator, with a flare for producing pieces from simple concepts, images and objects, Janit Calvo has “shrunk” the world of gardening….in a good way.
As the owner and operator of Two Green Thumbs, a company she formed in 2001 after studying the art of gardening in miniature for years prior, Janit has introduced miniature gardening to new hobbyists and supplied quality products and services to existing gardeners. In her own way, she has created a buzz for all things naturally small.
At the booth during the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, 2009.
“I research what works then test it out…and keep doing
what is working,” says Janit. “I have a ‘create-as-you-go’
style that leaves room for lots of individuality.”
She perfected her venture by reading and researching about all aspects of the business and miniature gardening. Every weekend for years, Janit showcased and sold her art, including newly-produced miniature gardens, under a canopy at street markets around the greater Seattle area and connected with both locals and tourists. Janit’s unique and personalized creations attracted many to her mini worlds. Word gradually spread as people realized there was fun to be had. She quickly set up TwoGreenThumbs.com to keep the connection going and gradually built a network of customers throughout the country and Canada.
“I’ve had people break into tears and hug me and thank me
for introducing them to mini gardening,” says Janit.
“It’s like bringing Mother Nature into their lives.”
Still selling at street fairs and farmers market, Janit expanded her “road show” to a number of garden and miniature shows throughout the state. Eventually she was featured in the Seattle Times, Digs Magazine in 2006, and in national magazines specializing in dollhouse miniatures that same month, which pushed the trend further. She has since been featured in Chatelaine magazine, in radio shows in mid-west and in the Seattle Times and King 5 News, highlighting her booth and display work at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. Janit has taught thousands of people the art of gardening in miniature through demonstrations and seminars throughout the local garden and miniature clubs of western Washington and through her intensive workshops at her studio.
“I always wanted to work with beautiful things,” says Janit.
“I love nature, its patterns, colors….and being an entrepreneur
was attractive to me. It’s an privilege to be able to combine them.”
Since starting Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center, Janit has inspired thousands of people all over the world and has instigated people to start their own miniature garden businesses using her model. Now, nurseries and garden centers are calling her for advice and resources on how to include this new level of gardening into their stores.
Doing a demonstration for the Plain Garden Club here in Washington State.
“My favorite tweet of all time:
‘My quarter-life crises has to wait. My Mom
is playing with her miniature gardening.’ “
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Janit is a 1996 graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design, a prestigious college in Toronto known for its graduates who have succeeded in architecture, animation, fine art and graphic design. She says her eye for quality and visual stimulation began while working in several family-run businesses including antiques, estate jewelry and publishing. It was here that she honed her skills in photography, book cover design and advertising. She also sharpened her business skills in management and finance.After 32 years in Canada, Janit’s passion for art and design launched her travels to England, Spain, Scotland, the U.S. east coast, Mexico, Dominican Republic, across Canada (she planted trees in B.C!), Jamaica and Costa Rica (where she met her husband). She moved to Seattle, Washington (the Evergreen State) in 1998 and worked at a local nursery while starting a greeting card business with her husband.
|“The photograph to the right was our first miniature garden that lasted for 3 years with minimal maintenance. The wood box I made for it fell apart before the garden did.”The scene is 10.5 wide and fooled the garden gurus at the nursery where I was working at the time. They thought it was a photo of a real, life-sized garden.”|
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
“Whatever you do make it fun,” says Janit.
“I love learning new things. Getting creative and
combining the ‘real’ world…nature….with art
makes it that much more inspiring and enjoyable.”
So her love for nature took her back to the soil, seeds and sunshine. She soon developed new and improved ways of turning life-sized gardening into natural miniature artistry. Motivated by seeing plants grow and flowers bloom, Janit started Two Green Thumbs prior to 2001 after a life-changing moment. When out for a walk on a gray day in Seattle, the illusion of a pink Camellia growing before her eyes, recaptured her passion for nature. Hailing from Toronto, flowers in January was something completely new to her.
“I’m the type of person that sees beauty in lots of things,”
says Janit. “I can see potential in a broken twig.”
She says Two Green Thumbs is a culmination of being the only miniature garden center in the industry (at that time) and forging into new areas of creating inspiring, personable and attractive art. “Teaching others how to garden in miniature is rewarding and emphasizes my ‘grow your own world’ theory,” says Janit.
At the big Spokane Garden Expo, 2009.
WAY OF LIFE
Today, Janit is content with life as a patient gardener who is driven by problem solving, innovation and the art of perfection. She spends much of her time making mini gardening accessible, affordable and personal to each customer. Beyond gardening, Janit practices yoga, jogs, loves to cook and dabbles in her fine art projects. Her first book is due out in Fall of 2012.
“My work is my life and my art,” says Janit.
“I’d like to grow the business until my heart takes me back
to my paintings and sculptures.
As for miniature gardening…I believe it’s a timeless hobby.”
Setting up a display for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in 2007.
Janit always brings something different to each show.
TWO GREEN THUMBS MINIATURE GARDEN CENTER
The First in Miniature Gardening
Miniature gardening now for over 11 years and selling miniature gardens since 2002, Janit Calvo has achieved great success by providing a warm and friendly service of tried and true products that customers have been looking for.
Today, the business offers:
- A complete online Miniature Garden Center for browsing and purchasing
- The Mini Garden Gazette: A monthly newsletter that contains tips and information on miniature gardening
- This Mini Garden Guru Blog exploring the hobby in depth, and then some
- Janit’s Etsy Shop – handpainted, customized, unusual and often one of a kind miniature garden ideas.
“The hardest part of mini gardening was finding
the right plants and accessories, which is
why I started Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center”