Posts Tagged condo gardening

Easy, Quick & Fun: A Miniature Garden Pumpkin House

Halloween Miniature Garden

Once the pumpkin house was carved, it was easy fun setting up this shot in the miniature garden.

Easy, Quick & Fun: A Miniature Garden Pumpkin House

After years of creating and growing with this new-again hobby of miniature gardening, it’s a wonder that you can come up with anything new, huh? But, alas, it’s the variables that rope you in and keep the ideas dancing in your head in the wee hours of the morning. So many plants, pots, accessories, sizes, themes and designs to keep you creative!

What to do? – You can whip together a small 4″ pot for a great hostess gift, or plant a bigger garden in a tall pot to live by the front door to greet your visitors with.

You mean I can plant a garden now? – ‘Tis the season and you can start with Halloween, carry on through Thanksgiving and into the holidays with the same garden – or make a new one each month. Container and miniature gardening can be done anytime, anywhere, so don’t wait for the seasons to have a reason!

Halloween Miniature Garden

We tried shooting with some extra light off to the side, but found them a bit distracting from the pumpkin house. We found the light-up ghost for $1.99 at Rite Aid.

Shooting in the Dark:

- Set up your shot in the daylight and start shooting when it’s dusk. If it gets too dark, the camera can’t see the plants with the natural light and you can’t see the surroundings. Photoshopping it afterwards tends to look too contrived.

- Use a tripod or something sturdy to hold the camera in place. The camera’s shutter will need to stay open for a few seconds, by keeping the camera steady, it will stay focused.

- Try a couple of different settings on your camera. If you have automatic “scene” settings, try the food and/or museum settings first. Turn the flash off if the camera sets it off automatically. If you are tinkering with manual settings, try upping the exposure compensation to a brighter setting.

- Load your photos from your camera before you take the scene apart. Seeing the images on a bigger screen gives you another perspective and you can see what needs tweaking, fix it and reshoot it.

- Be prepared to work fast, as soon as that sun sets you have a limited amount of time to use that dwindling light. If you can, do it again the following night. If you’re an early bird, try this at dawn but set up the shot the day before when you can see, have the candles ready to light and have a piece of cardboard or plastic to sit, kneel or lay down on.

Halloween Miniature Garden

I cut the squares for windows, then sliced up the cast-off pieces to make the “window panes” and just wedged them in place. The pieces will dry out and shrink so either keep some extra pieces cold and damp to replace the strips when needed. If they dry out too much, get the hot glue gun to tack them in place from the inside. (Assuming the inside flesh of the pumpkin has dried out as well. Remember that it’s only temporary.)

Miniature Garden Clean-Up Tip: For your Halloween set-up, leave the fallen leaves scattered around the miniature garden. It will look more natural. Don’t worry about detailing the garden either, the focus will be whatever is lit up. In this example, the eye will go to the pumpkin house first, the ghost second, and then take in the rest of the scene.

Miniature Halloween pumpkin house

The impromptu patio was taken out of a miniature garden and reused here. It’s made from our Mini Patio Mix Kit, a special recipe just for miniature gardens. You can customize to fit any garden and won’t wash away in the rain. 

Have a happy and safe Halloween! 

In case you missed it:

How to Carve a Miniature Pumpkin

Halloween in the Miniature Garden

Our main website with galleries and FAQs

Our online store, The Miniature Garden Center

Like this? Then you’ll love our FREE Mini Garden Gazette! Join us here.

Miniature Garden Trees

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More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

Indoor miniature gardening

Create this Indoor miniature garden as a centerpiece for the holidays at our Nov. 23rd workshop at Swansons Nursery, Seattle Wa. (Click the picture to get to the calendar for more workshop details.) This pot is about 12″ wide.

More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

Don’t you just love this hobby? The seasons changing can only mean another miniature garden and now you can make one for the indoors! Do you want a wee beachy-garden scene to get you through the cold months? Or, create a miniature gratitude garden for Thanksgiving? Let’s recap what you need to know, and then follow with a few examples of the different indoor miniature gardens we’ve grown over the years.

Ten Golden Rules are from The Houseplant Expert, Dr. D. G. Hessayon, my favorite go-to book for indoor plants and a great reference for your bookshelf. Here’s a quick summary of his top 10 adapted for miniature gardening.

1. Don’t drown them. Roots need air as well as water. Let the soil dry out until barely damp. Put your finger down into the soil about 1” deep to test and yes, your finger is still the best way.

2. Give them a rest. Plants need less water and feeding in the winter. Some plants may not look as good, or need cutting back, before the new growth signals their return. Be patient and follow the plant’s signals.

3. Accept the loss of “temporary” plants. Some plants are not meant to live more than a season or two. Some miniature gardeners treat outdoor plants as short-lived houseplants during the winter. The Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Spruce, or the Pixie or Pixie Dust, is often used this way because they are true miniature Christmas trees.

4. Give them extra humidity. The average houseplant needs more humidity in the winter as the forced-air heat dries out the air quite quickly. By misting or grouping your houseplants around your miniature garden, you can maintain a better level of moisture in the air around the plants.

5. Treat trouble promptly. With Google at our fingertips, there is really no reason not to be able to identify a plant-problem quickly and easily. State the problem plainly; name the plant and search under Google Images to find it faster. For example, “brown spots on parlor palm leaves.” Search at least two or three sites to get a better perspective of the solution. Not everyone is an expert out on the Internet, most often the most simple and natural solution is best.

6. Know when to repot. When the plants start to look sickly, then it may be time to repot. Look for the roots growing out of the bottom drainage holes to know when.

7. Choose wisely. Right plant, right place. You can’t grow a sun-loving plant in a dark corner nor can you grow a shade-loving plant in front of a sunny, southern window.

Recommended Tools:

  • Water can with a long, narrow spout to get the water through to the bottom of the plants. Get used to how it pours before using indoors or you’ll make a big mess the first time.
  • Mister – but know which plants like more, which like less.
  • Saucers AND protective pads with plastic on one side, felt on the other. Don’t trust any pot or saucer on your good wood surfaces. Use an extra moisture-barrier-pad recommended for plants with a plastic backing to avoid wicking. I’ve seen cork mats, but I’m not sure if they wick moisture or not.
  • Organic fertilizer. Avoid chemical fertilizers of any kind, the plants just don’t care for it and it builds up in the soil.
  • Soft sponge for cleanup.
  • Old kitchen spoon for repotting and fork for raking.
  • Scissors or small garden shears – or both.
  • indoor Potting Soil – Use potting soil without any extra fertilizers or moisture-retaining polymers. Look for an organic, indoor potting mix for a general-purpose soil that will be okay for most of your houseplants. Succulents, cacti and African Violets need more drainage material, like vermiculite or perlite.

You will notice that there is not a lot of variety yet in the plants that are shown here. That is because I killed the rest of them. Yep. I tend to kill indoor plants a lot better than our outdoor plants. The plants shown here are some of the tougher plants I have found for gardening in miniature. For the most part, I’ve included the plant’s names, and the growing notes under each photo.

Indoor miniature tropical garden

A Parlor Palm and Norfolk Pine anchor the garden, filled in with miniature Aloe and Hawarthias as the understory. The Pine was left in its original poly pot to help keep the roots damper than the other plants. The lagoon-shaped pond adds to the theme. (“Janit Calvo’s Lagoon Pond” is now discontinued.) This pot is about 22″ in diameter.

Indoor miniature gardening

One of our all-time most popular plants, the English Variegated Boxwood stands alone to make a simple gratitude garden for a sunny spot. This pot is about 8″ wide.

More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

A baby Parlor Palm on the left and a Kingsville Dwarf Boxwood on the right. This miniature mediation gardens need regular water and bright light. This pot is about 8″ wide.

More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

The tree in the back is the Variegated English Boxwood, to the right is Dwarf Mondo Grass, a small-leafed succulent with an elusive name ;o), in the foreground, two Kingsville Boxwood shrubs. Needs regular water with bright light. Sedum cuttings in the urns will last a few months before needing replacing. Large size or one-inch scale accessories. This pot is about 20″ across.

More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

The same garden as above, but with medium size, half-inch scale accessories and gravel mulch in the garden beds. You can see how the smaller accessories are swimming in such a large pot, but also notice how big they make the whole garden appear.

Indoor Miniature Gardening

A custom-made miniature garden planter from England. Elwood Cypresses on the each end, Dwarf Mondo Grass behind the urn, sedum cutting in the urn, a small boxwood shrub to the right of the bench and baby tears as the “ground cover.” (Get in touch with me if you want more info about this handmade planter.) This garden needs bright, indirect light and a very cautious watering schedule as this box has no drainage holes. This container is 21″ wide by 9″ deep.

Indoor Miniature Gardening

A finished project from my book, Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World. Clockwise from the tall Elwood, to the left is a Sugar Vine (Cissus striata,) Baby Tears and a Variegated English Boxwood. Bright light with regular watering, the Sugar Vine will need cutting back every year to slow it down. This pot is about 12″ wide.

Indoor miniature garden

A simple Fairy Vine and a handmade trellis is the perfect place for an daily empowering message. The “boulder” anchors the garden and makes it look established. This pot is about 7″ across.

Indoor miniature mediation gardening

Our Complete Indoor / Outdoor Miniature Garden Kit has our three most-durable indoor plants, from left to right: the Dwarf Mondo Grass, Variegated English Boxwood and Baby Tears. The Kit includes the stone, Mini Patio Mix and different accessories. This pot is about 10″ across.

Indoor miniature gardening

An impromptu miniature garden centerpiece for Halloween that I made a few years ago. It lasted about three weeks before it turned to mush. I would try this again with a taller pumpkin – the candle burnt the top of the “greenhouse.” The pumpkin was about 10″ in diameter.

SEE more of our plants that we recommend for indoor miniature gardening here.

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Gardening in Miniature book

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Indoor and Outdoor Container Ideas for Miniature Gardening

Miniature Garden Houseboat

We made this wood box to hold this house boat idea of pine and stained in on the outside but, as all wood does outside, it will rot slowly. If you want your miniature garden to last, our favorite recommendation it still high-fired pottery, available at your local garden center.

Indoor and Outdoor Container Ideas for Miniature Gardening

We’ve corralled all the blogs about the containers that we use for miniature gardening all in one place this week. There are so many different ways to garden in miniature, and so many different containers to use in the marketplace, this summary will help guide you in choosing the right container for your next miniature garden. But before you start, decide where the miniature garden will live when it’s done, and then you can narrow down your size, color, shape and material.

About investing in the right container.
A miniature garden can stay together for years, choose a container that you will want to live with – for years.

Miniature Gardening in Recycled Containers, Part I
Planting in suitcases, drawers, wheelbarrows, metal water cans, anything metal, wood crates and trugs

Miniature Gardening in Recycled Containers, Part II
Planting in shoes, boots, broken pots, pumpkins, teacups, bowls and dishes.

How to plant a miniature garden in a big pot, part I
Tips and info on how to plant in deep pots.

How to plant a miniature garden in a big pot, part II
What to do before you begin. About water control plus tips for moving large containers.

Keep gardening this winter with indoor miniature gardens.
About indoor miniature gardens, dish gardens, open terrariums. How to make a mini scene with a “full-size” houseplant pot.

How to winterize your miniature garden containers
Tips on how to protect your outdoor containers through the winter.

Your local, independent garden center will have the best selection for all your container garden ideas. Follow their recommendation for durability and overwintering. Avoid the big-box garden departments for your pot-shopping, their staff is usually inexperienced with what works over time.

In our new book, Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World, we explore the different kinds of pots, where they are most useful, and how the pot can help get your theme across to the viewer. The book is quickly becoming the bible for miniature gardening if you haven’t got your copy yet. Here’s a link to read the customer reviews and editorial reviews on

Miniature Garden under snow

If you like to watch the miniature garden age and grow together, invest in a pot that will last.

Miniature Garden Group #2

All shapes, sizes, colors and materials, the pot choices are endless. START by choosing where the garden will live, then you can narrow down the size, color and shape to look for.

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette! Our FREE monthly newsletter on everything miniature garden. Join us here.

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New Miniature Garden Plants for Indoor or Outdoor

Miniature Garden in a trug

A miniature garden to go. Jervis Canada Hemlock on the left, Elf Dwarf Spruce in the middle and the Jacqueline Hillier Elm on the right. Note the cute little trunk of the Elf Dwarf Spruce.

New Miniature Garden Plants for Indoor or Outdoor

We have been working hard at restocking the store for the fall and holiday season with a ton of new miniature garden plants and accessories – and we’ve outdone ourselves this time. I think we’ve amassed the largest collection of miniature garden trees shrubs and plants for retail sale all in one place. Over 75 different trees, shrubs and bedding plants for your miniature gardening pleasure!

We also had a chance to source some different plant choices for different climates too. The Red Tip Podocarpus is a great plant of for the southeastern U.S.; the Mugo Pines are still perfect for northern climates with a hardiness of -50F. Brrrrr! But let’s run down a few more of the new and exciting plant additions this season.


Baby Boxwood for the Miniature Garden

Baby Boxwood plants from left to right: Justin Brouwers, Variegated and Suffruticosa. Slow growing plus a little trimming keeps them small in the miniature garden.

Baby Boxwood

We have two new boxwood trees, the Justin Brouwers and the Suffruticosa boxwood. As with all our boxwood that we use for miniature gardening, these plants are baby plants that you can keep trimmed small for your miniature garden. All varieties can be grown indoors with plenty of light and some direct sunlight. They like regular water, potting soil with no additives, and your container must have a drainage hole in the bottom – these plants do not like their roots wet.

The difference between the two: Justin Brouwers wears a darker green and smaller leaf and the growth habit is more upright or shrub-like. If left outside over the winter months, Justin Brouwers will hold its green color. The Suffruticosa’s leaf is a bit bigger and more rounded but the overall shape is similar to a young tree. If kept in full sun outdoors, it will turn that bronzy color in the winter.

Dwarf Spruces for the Miniature Garden

Dwarf Spruces for the Miniature Garden. The Elf Dwarf Spruce is the one on the cover of Gardening in Miniature

Tis the Season for Dwarf and Miniature Spruces

An accidental moment of cuteness has happened, we have nine different dwarf and miniature spruces all together at once. It’s like a family reunion without the bickering. Big and tall, round and small, we have one to suit almost every situation. Spruces are an outdoor plant but they can be brought in for up to 2 to 3 days to enjoy over the holidays here is a blog on how to do that properly and safely.

Gardening in Miniature book

The tree on the cover is an Elf Dwarf Spruce

As requested, we have stocked up on our cover-girl-tree this season, the Elf Dwarf Alberta Spruce. That is the tree on the front cover of the Gardening in Miniature book. We’ve had that little guy approximately 13 years by our calculations – they are 3 to 4 years old when we get them in from the grower. In a couple of years, you will wake up one fine morning and discover the cutest trunk lifting the wee canopy up off the ground and it just gets better with age.

For the holidays we have a trifecta of Alberta spruces here for your every need. The dwarf Alberta spruces, the ‘Pixie’ and the ‘Pixie Dust,’ are both miniature spruces with slower growth rates than the popular ‘Jean’s Dilly.’ The main difference is the ‘Pixie Dust’ gets a blush of creamy white tips in the middle of the summer that looks somewhat like pixie dust.


Dwarf Hinokis  for the Miniature Garden

New dwarf Hinokis for the miniature garden offer new colors, textures and shape.

Oh Hinokis!

We also have several new and exciting and Hinoki Cypress to offer. The new Thoweil Hinoki Cypress proves to provide a gorgeous wall of green-ness for the miniature garden. Look forward to this one growing up and out and provide an upright broad shape that can anchor the back of the miniature garden.

Two new little balls of green goodness have arrived as well. The ‘Ellie B.’ and the ‘Gnome’ Hinoki Cypress look the same when young but will grow up into two different shapes: the Ellie B. will grow upright into mounds of congested foliage, looking like a cloud, and the Gnome will stay globe-shaped and close to the ground.

New trees on standard for the miniature garden

New trees on standard for the miniature garden. Thyme Leaf Cotoneaster on the left, Streib’s Findling Cotoneaster on the right.

Cotoneaster = “Coh-tone-ee-ahs-ter”

And now that miniature garden is out of our backyards, in the mainstream and is practiced worldwide, our beloved local growers have caught up to us and are attempting to furnish our needs. If they would only ask us, huh? But we certainly can give them points for trying. The two plants that happen to be in question are both Cotoneasters on standard. Who’s up for trying one?

“On standard” usually means the plant has been grafted onto a long trunk. For these Cotoneasters, the grower has groomed the plant’s own trunk to be the standard, so you will see new growth along the stem throughout the year. Pinch off any new shoots that pop out when you see them to keep the trunk clean and the plant’s energy going to the top.

The Thyme Leaf Cotoneaster has really tiny leaves and the branches will grow up and out from the middle of the shrub. You can trim it into a ball, square, or any shape you like.

The Streib’s Findling Cotoneaster has larger leaves and will naturally cascade down. This will create an opportunity to trim it into umbrella-shaped canopy, which will be very charming in miniature, especially when it flowers in spring.

Both Cotoneasters will produce the cutest little white flowers in spring followed by red berries for the fall and winter months. I’m not sure you can go wrong with either one; we’re keeping a set for ourselves and looking forward to seeing them grow in the miniature garden.

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette. It’s free, fun and filled with miniature garden goodness. Join us here.

The Great Annual Miniature Garden Contest

Join us for The Great Annual Miniature Garden Contest – imagine the possibilities!

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The Most Creative Review on Gardening in Miniature Book

Texas Triffid Ranch

The Texas Triffid Ranch – Odd Plants and Oddities For Odd People – another source for creativity and ideas. This is his masthead.

The Most Creative Review on Gardening in Miniature Book

As the book reviews keep flowing in and around the Internet, one stands out among the rest as the most creative book review I’ve read – never mind receiving. Paul Riddell is the imaginative brain behind The Texas Triffid Ranch. His slogan is “Odd Plants and Oddities for Odd People,” he had me at the word “odd.” Lol! Check out this book review and let me know if you’ve ever come across one that is more creative than this:

Review: Gardening in Miniature by Janit Calvo

And here’s a couple of more links to his miniature garden research and suggestions on his blog. Paul has had a love for dinosaurs since childhood and miniature gardening was one of the ways he would play and learn about them. Do a search on his blog for ‘miniature garden’ and you’ll get to more of his info, resources and ideas on tools, books, dioramas and more. Especially if you have young boys around – you’ll love his take on miniature gardening.

Paul’s essential reading on miniature gardening 

Walking with Miniature Gardens

From the gallery of Texas Triffid Ranch

Paul’s miniature gardens aren’t just gardens. They usually contain a link to the past – or the future. Click the picture to go visit his gallery.

Paul also does a ton of work with promoting unusual plants through his nursery, lectures and trade shows in the northern Texas area. One of his specialities is carnivorous plants – some of which come in miniature, I might add! He also specializes in prehistoric plants and vivariums. Check out his main website, see his gallery and event schedule here:

Follow his journeys on his Facebook page and I guarantee you’ll never look at life the same again,

Gardening in Miniature Book

Now available at a bookseller near you!

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Miniature Gardening in Recycled Containers, Part II

The Miniature Garden Shed Project

We wanted an aged look for this miniature garden idea so we used weathered wood to build it. We put screen-mesh down on the bottom to help keep the soil from draining out the seams and the drainage holes.

Miniature Gardening in Recycled Containers, Part II

This is a continuation from last week’s blog, Part I, where we covered planting in suitcases, drawers, wheelbarrows, metal cans, wood crates and trugs. Today, we’re covering shoes, boots, broken pots, baskets, teacups, bowls and dishes. Whew! Perhaps it’s time to create a “Most Unusual Category” for our upcoming Annual Miniature Garden Contest being announced next week.

Recall Grandma’s words, “Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.” As gardeners, we are natural stewards of the earth and I feel that we have an unspoken mandate to do what is best for the environment above and beyond what’s trendy or cute. Let me know what you think out this statement in the comments below – are we obligated to take into consideration the rules of reduce, reuse and recycle, first and foremost?

Miniature Boot Pot

A boot pot – in miniature. The original idea was to extend the life of an old shoe, to keep it out of the landfill for as long as possible.

Planting in Shoes and Boots

Shoes and boots make a great whimsical container for small plants but you are speeding up their trip to the landfill if you choose to plant up a decent pair of shoes that can be used by someone else. The idea behind the shoe-pot was to plant up an old, worn-out shoe to prolong its life and keep it out of the landfill. Pick a pair of shoes that you have saved from the garbage bin instead of plucking it straight out of your closet that will be better sent to Goodwill and reused by someone else. Try painting them if you want to do create something really unique.

The Broken Pot Garden

This idea has been circulating like mad on Pinterest and Facebook. If you use a broken pot to nest your miniature world in it, will be a temporary world. First of all, a lot of the pots used are terracotta which will add to the failure rate dramatically. Terracotta is very porous and wicks the moisture out of the soil and away from the plant’s roots. Secondly, not having a complete pot surrounding the soil will allow the moisture in the soil to evaporate very quickly. Once that soil dries out completely, the result will be dead plants – and a broken pot.

CAVEAT EMPTOR (means “Buyer beware”) – If you do enjoy this broken pot idea, please don’t buy a broken pot. I have heard of garden centers selling broken pots for this idea and, I’m sorry, that just tightens my jaw. Know that any store is going to throw out the pot anyway, you are doing them a favor by carting it away – for free. And use plants that can take the dryness too, like Sedums and Hens and Chicks.

Miniature Garden Containers

This pumpkin made a fun temporary garden. It lasted about three weeks before it turned to mush.

Miniature Garden Containers

Spooky! Before it turned to mush… ;o)

Planting in Baskets

Baskets lined in moss are for temporary arrangements. The moss does not keep the moisture in the soil, the basket dries out very quickly, the moss turns yellow and it becomes a big, dead mess. (Moss needs humidity because it absorbs water through its leaves.) This idea comes from the floral industry and can be a pretty display that lasts if it is done right. Place the whole pot and saucer, or a combination of small pots with saucers, in the basket and hide those plastic pots with moss. Find a good selection of different sized saucers at your local nursery or garden center.

Plastic-lined baskets don’t let the moisture out of the soil, the water doesn’t not let the air into the soil, plant’s roots rot and it’s a slippery slope to certain plant death. Use this kind of basket the same way as above, and place the whole potted plant in the basket – because it’s lined in plastic, you may not need the saucer. Always be wary of placing that planted basket or any pot on any surface, the moisture will damage wood surfaces quite quickly.

The wicker that the baskets are made of needs to stay dry to keep its rigidity, strength and shape. When baskets are made, the wicker is soaked in water to stay plyable while it is woven. Once the weaving is done, the basket is left to dry and it is really not supposed to be wet again. With the constant watering that your potted basket will need, the wicker will loosen up, the integrity of the weave will be compromized and lead to – you guessed it – landfill.

A big miniature tea cup garden

The miniature garden planted in a big teacup will need very careful monitoring – it doesn’t have a drainage hole so there is little room for error in watering.

Gardens in Teacups, Bowls, Dishes

Miniature Patriot Garden

Miniature Patriot Garden – A tiny mugo pine planted in a cup. I drilled a drainage hole in the bottom first. This will last about 2 years in such a tiny cup, then it will need repotting.

I know, a miniature garden can be really cute planted in a teacup or china-bowl. But without a drainage hole, you’ll have to be very attentive to the watering almost every day. If you over water it then you have a stressed out plant until the soil can dry out a bit. I have very little luck with containers that don’t have a drainage hole, life gets busy, Steve waters, then I water it again – and we end up with a little rotted mess. Then Steve backs off on the watering, I back-off thinking Steve is watering – and we end up with a dry-crispy mess. Fun, huh?

However, if you must go forth with this idea because it is a cute one, borrow the trick from last week’s blog and monitor the dampness of the soil by using a wood skewer tucked in the back of the garden. If the wood is damp, hold off on watering, if it’s dry, then water.

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette, a monthly newsletter sent around the world to Fellow MGs everywhere. Be sure to look for the FREE pdf you will receive after you confirm your subscription through our email. Join us here.

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs

Miniature Gardening Ideas, Plants, Patios, Accessories, Kits and More!


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Gardening in Miniature is Launched PLUS Northwest Tour Dates!

Gardening in Miniature is Launched PLUS Northwest Tour Dates!

Gardening in Miniature Book

Now available at a bookseller near you!

Timber Press officially launches its campaign for our brand, spankin’ new book, Gardening in Miniature: How to Create Your Own Tiny Living World next week. Let the fun begin! Life on earth will never be the same… garden history is forever changed! Yay!

For those who have been following our journey over the last decade, you’ll know what a milestone this is for us. For those who have just joined us, welcome to the cutest and most creative hobby in the whole-wide-world – miniature gardening where craft meets garden. Really, how fun is that?

We snuck the news out to our email list last month, and those of you that got a copy, congrats on nabbing a first edition! A second edition printing has already been ordered, they were afraid of running out. And, hey, Timber Press, be afraid… be VERY afraid! ;o)

More Bragging Rights

Gardening in Miniature has already topped several charts on Amazon. Over the last few of weeks, we’ve maintained the #1 spot in the Miniatures Department, we’ve occupied either the #1 or #2 position in Flower Gardening, AND we’ve maintained the #1 position in the Hot New Releases for Garden and Landscape this past week. I’ll take it!

Insert the happy dance here.


Gardening in Miniature Book

We’ve maintained the miniature gardens that were photographed for the book. We’ll go into more detail throughout the launch-month – Stay tuned!

Where to Find Your Copy?

Find your copy of Gardening in Miniature wherever books are sold – all the stores, online and brick and mortar, should have their books by now. Amazon[dot]com, of course, and your local Barnes and Noble bookstore have them – so you can save on shipping and shop locally. There are also bunch of independent garden centers, museum stores, gift shops and hobby stores have ordered the books in so you can support the local independent retailers.

Find a copy up in our online store, we have the only autograph option online. (Wink!)

Gardening in Miniature Book

It didn’t sink in that I was published until I saw a stack of them on my desk…

What’s to Come – Locally:

Seattle Mini Book Tour – Come and see us! 
We would love to meet you! 

Bring your friends, grab your neighbors, come,  fill a seat at our next seminar and find out what all the fuss is about!

I’ve been corralling new information for the talks that are based from the projects and photos in the book, Gardening in Miniature. We’ll are bringing the same gardens that are in the book to the following talks so you can see them up close and personal – and you can see how they’ve grown in too. Please join us for more fun!

The underlined links will take you to their website for directions and information:

Molbak’s Nursery, Woodinville
Saturday, July 13th, 12pm to 1pm – Free

Swanson’s Nursery, North Ballard
Sunday, July 14th, 11am to Noon – Free

Ravenna Gardens, University Village
Sunday, July 21st, 2pm to 3pm
$20 – reserves your copy of Gardening in Miniature book!
Call to register: (206) 729-7388

Touring Out of State: Timber Press is sending us to the major shows around the country for the next few months and into next year’s round of garden shows. I will be sure to post and send any news that I get so we hope to meet you one day! Join us to get any news delivered straight to your inbox. (And get our free PDF download after you sign up!)

Gardening in Miniature Book

Steve customized the customized the rusty, worn-out tractor. The bumper sticker says, “Eat Dirt.”

Online Fun

We have a bunch of things planned for the month-long celebration. Contests, giveaways, stories behind the gardens in the book, plant details, mini how-to’s, and generally much hoopla and merriment. Join us by signing up for the blog over in the right-hand side or, sign up for our Mini Garden Gazette newsletter – join us here. 

Find the all the miniature garden plants, accessories, kits and more here:

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs

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July 4th & Canada Day in the Miniature Garden

July 4th in the Miniature Garden


July 4th and Canada Day in the Miniature Garden

In a continuation of our series, A Year in the Miniature Garden, here is July 4th in the Miniature Garden – and a little Canada Day celebration too!

In case you are just joining us, we are using the same miniature garden throughout the entire year and decorating it to suit as many occasions as we can muster. The challenge is building: to create a different look for the upcoming occasions, rather than falling back on the usual chair-table- plant-decoration scene. It’s a test of creativity but, hey, you know I love a good challenge. ;o)

Click here for a previous post with more July 4th (- as well as watering tips to help your garden beat the heat this summer.)

The rest of the series to date:

Father’s Day in the Miniature Garden

A Birthday in the Miniature Garden (with links to Canadian plant resources)

Mother’s Day in the Miniature Garden

Earth Day in the Miniature Garden

Spring [Easter] in the Miniature Garden

St. Patrick’s Day in the Miniature Garden

Valentine’s Day in the Miniature Garden

Happy Fourth!

July 4th in the Miniature Garde

I had to do it. I stained our favorite cedar deck with washes of red and white, and left the blue of the wood. It certainly added charm. The wee flag is a toothpick decoration – look in the party department at your favorite grocery store. The fireworks are made of paper and can’t be left outside. For the staining, use an artist’s acrylic paint set from an art, craft or hobby store, it’s easy water clean-up. Find the beer tub, deck and barrel-planter up in the store.

July 4th in the Miniature Garden

I didn’t leave a lot of room for a lot of accessories, I’m running out of room as the plants grow in – but I do find focusing on the plants and garden, rather than the accessories, is much more relaxing to look at and live with. Keeping it simple makes it easy to maintain. Find the barbecue and plants up in the store.

July 4th in the Miniature Garden

The Hen and Chick rosettes are now snuggled into the Wooly Thyme. Both love full sun and can tolerate a little dry soil now and again. See what plants are available here

July 4th in the Miniature Garden

I had to expand the deck area to make room for the barbecue. We hauled in a couple of pavers to do the trick. Confetti-stars add a bit of twinkle to the scene.

Canada Day in the Miniature Garden

Oh! Canada! My home and native land. To change from Canada Day in the Miniature Garden to July 4th, add blue and stars. ;o) Find the red chair and birdhouse up in the store.

Canada Day in the Miniature Garden

I found some old “stubby” beer bottles and a tiny case of beer from a Bob and Doug Mackenzie toy set in our stash. We call cases of beer that size, two-fer, a two-four is a case of 24 bottles. Right on, eh?

Find most of the plants and accessories here, in our online store, Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center.

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Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs

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How to Plant a Miniature Garden in a Big Pot, Part 1

Miniature Gardening in Large Containers

From the Archives, 2004: Our first display at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. A good tip: pick a pot with a lip on it so you have something to grip if you have to move it or pick it up (not like the pots above!)

How to Plant a Miniature Garden in a Big Pot, Part 1

Miniature Gardening in Large Pots

From the Archives, 2004: This pot is 17″ high and 14″ wide and big enough to put a path through the middle of it.

Planting a miniature garden in big containers creates room for more fun. You can break up the design into a couple of smaller gardens with paths leading to and fro, make a huge yard with several focal points happening around the edge of the pot, or have enough room for a small house or building, a particular favorite of fairy gardeners. We talk about the different kinds of pots that can be used miniature gardening in our new book Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World, but here are a few more tips on how to save some time and money – and your back – when working with very large pots or containers.

What’s Deep?

What do we consider a deep pot for miniature gardening? Any pot that is deeper than 14″, in my opinion.

Another popular question when planning a miniature garden in a huge pot is, “Should I put something in the bottom before I start planting?”  Yes, and there are several reasons why you can go ahead fill that big container up with some sort of filler, leaving 8″ to 10″ from the top of the pot, before you add regular potting soil that will make you, and the plants, happier in the long run.

The miniature garden plants that we recommend to use are usually small to start with, so they don’t need a lot of soil to get growing. I find some types of plants tend to falter when planted in a huge container full of soil, as most plants prefer a smaller root environment when they are young. We call it “swimming in soil,” when the water wicks away from the plant’s roots to the bottom of the pot where gravity pulls it, and the moisture doesn’t stay around the roots where it is needed. Then the roots dry out, the plant starts to stress and falter. By using filler, it shortens the depth of the soil, prevents the water from wicking, the soil stays damp longer and the roots stay happy.

Miniature Gardening in Large Containers

From the Archives, 2004: Planting miniature gardens in large pots leave more room for creativity.

Fill ‘Er Up

Another reason to use filler on the bottom of the pot is huge pots can get really heavy. The spot you choose may be perfect for that garden this summer and into next summer but you may want to eventually move it. The two most popular ways to fill up your pots are:

Styrofoam peanuts or popcorn: Most packing peanuts are biodegradable now so put them in a plastic shopping bag, tie the bag shut and place the bag upside-down in the pot so water doesn’t get inside and stagnate. If you are using a really big pot, use several of bags-full and fill the pot up to about 10” to 12” from the top.

Miniature Gardening in Large Pots

Upside-down poly pots make a great filler. Smush them to fit them in.

Upside-down black plastic nursery pots: Start with big 1 or 2 gallon pots in the center of the bottom of the pot and work in the upside-down 4” pots, squishing them so they fill in as much space as possible. You can cut a couple of pieces of cardboard and layer it on top of the upside-down pots to create the “bottom” of the pot, or you can just start filling up the pot with soil.

We’ve heard of people using upside soda-cans and they would work only if they are rinsed out really, really well. Otherwise the sugar in the soda would draw unwanted pests to your container.

Note that this is for miniature gardening with small plants. Bigger plants mean more roots. If you are creating mixed containers of regular perennials and nursery plants you may want to use soil all through your container to leave plenty or room for root growth.

Stay tuned for Part 2! This was getting too long and I have more tips and techniques to share.

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Decorating Your Miniature Garden for the Holidays

Christmas in the Miniature Garden

There’s that magic of the Holidays – in miniature! Read on to find out more…

Christmas in the Miniature Garden

The same miniature garden as above in daylight. This pot was planted about 7 1/2 years ago. That shrub on the left is a Mother Lode Juniper and on the right is our favorite Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Alberta Spruce. (Pronounced “John”) The bottom most branches have been pruned to show off the great trunk that has been developing slowly. The pot is a little over 15″ wide and about 12″ deep.

Decorating Your Miniature Garden for the Holidays

One of the many enjoyable aspects of this super-creative hobby is decorating your miniature garden throughout the seasons. And, of course, one of the most fun, is for the Winter-Christmas-Holiday-Hanukkah-Kwanza-Solstice-Season. (Did I miss anyone? ;o)

You might be skeptical, thinking that, “Come on, Janit, how hard is it to decorate a miniature Christmas tree?” Well, that could be the difference between a tree decorated by Martha Stewart compared to one by Charlie Brown. But, with a couple of hints and some insight, derived after experimenting each holiday season for the last 11 years, you can easily give your miniature garden the designer’s touch with the right ingredients.

Blue and Silver Holiday Miniature Garden

Blue and Silver for Hanukkah. The grass on the left is a Silver Lily Turf (Liriope ‘Silver Mist’)   The bushy shrub on the left is the new Blue Moon Sawara Cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Blue Moon’) The tall tree is a Miniature Juniper (Juniperus communis ‘Miniature’) Wooley Thyme cascades down the front, intermixed with small Hens and Chicks. The cedar deck was stained a grey color to match the color scheme and that tiny lantern ball is lamp work glass bead from artist Chuck Pefley. See more of his work at

Choosing What Works

You’ve probably seen miniature trees with a wide variety of individual ornaments placed carefully spaced throughout the tree’s boughs, interwoven with garland and ribbon. It is quite beautiful. But, the little balls, ribbon and garland are glued in place with a hot glue gun. That’s not really a great idea for your living miniature tree unless you don’t care if you kill it. In that case, get the hot glue, ignore the tree’s screams and throw it out after the holidays. ;o)

By now you’re thinking, “But Janit, they have mini ornaments at the craft store. What’s wrong with using those?” Well, it takes a TON of fiddling and fussing to get the strings around the branches of the tiny tree. It’s mainly because of the string itself gets in the way. After hanging the ornament on the tiny branch, the string sticks out even though you try to poke it inside or try to sneak it behind some foliage. Then, when you finally get the string hidden, you realize that the ornament fell out-of-place and you need to start all over again!

If you want to use the garland and the ornaments together – well, I haven’t figured that out yet because if you put the garland on before the ornaments, you won’t have access to all the branches for stringing the wee decorations. But, if you put the garland on afterwards, you will disturb and/or hide the ornaments!


My time and patience is better used elsewhere and I bet yours is too.

Sigh, the trials and tribulations of a miniature gardener…

Christmas in the Miniature Garden

Different textures help make the magic. The tiny presents are place in the boughs of the tree. This pot will stay where it is so we don’t have to tie or fasten them down. Note the different directions of the garland.

The easiest and the most straightforward way is to go with strings of lights and decorations. It takes the least amount of patience and it’s quick and easy. Weave them into the tree and try to mix up the direction of the strings so the tree doesn’t look like it’s in bondage.

Miniature Garden Christmas Decorations

Floral berry picks or holly berry picks poked into the tree work well as long as the tree stays in one place. They are easy to remove too!

For the ornaments, we use the small berry picks that the florist uses. Find them at your local craft store or wherever they sell artificial garland. They are available in green or yellow to look like miniature fruit, but they aren’t found as readily as the “holly berries.” Poke them into the tree at various intervals followed by poking few miniature bows throughout the tree and you are off to the next holiday project.

Christmas in the Miniature Garden

The wire bows are simply poked into the tree, held in place by the branches. If this were a gift, the wires can easily be wrapped around the branches. Do this before you place the ornaments.

Christmas in the Miniature Garden

Stretch out your holiday dollar by decorating the front-side of the tree only – but make sure place the garden up against a wall or hide the backside somehow. Make sure the wires are hidden behind the tree so you can’t see them from the front-side.

Christmas in the Miniature Garden

These lights were found at Michael’s Crafts and are meant for the artificial trees – they are not meant for outdoors so they shouldn’t get wet. Most of them have a place where you can plug in an adapter and have them run on electricity – this better for the environment too. Place them in a plastic bag and hide it behind the pot. Use some holly branches to disguise it, or make a fake gift box to house them in a clever way.

Christmas in the Miniature Garden

Christmas in the Miniature Garden. That’s a Piccolo Balsam Fir with red Thyme. And another lamp work glass bead from Chuck Pefley’s studio hangs from the hook to balance out the wee scene.

See our selection of decorations, lights and garland packs up in our store here. And there are more in our Etsy store here.

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