Posts Tagged indoor plants

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!

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Visit our store for more ideas and inspiration here.

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When Pottery Barn Meets Miniature Gardening, Black Thumbs Ideas, Part 1

Pottery Barn Demo & Book Signing

It was a lot of fun showing everyone what I came up with when we joined Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center with Pottery Barn. That’s me, with my back to the camera on the right.

When Pottery Barn Meets Miniature Gardening, Black Thumb Ideas, Part 1

I had been on high-alert, looking for different ways to grow indoors when Pottery Barn called. They wanted me to do a miniature garden demonstration at one of their stores here in Seattle. My first thought was “indoor plants” and my second thought was, “Oh, cache pots.”

A cache pot is simply a pot without a drainage hole in it. Its main purpose is to hide the nursery/plant pot so you can put it anywhere you like, on your TV  –  whoops, I’m dating myself, remember when you could do that? – Okay, you can put it on your mantle, your dining room table or even in your bathroom. When the plant needs water, you take the plant out of the cache pot, water it and put it back. Easy-peasy! It’s the perfect spot for seasonal color too, just keep in mind that the seasonal plant won’t live too long but you can have fun swapping it out for something different next season.

So, being the miniature garden nut that I am, I had to bring a little Two Green Thumbs flavor into the mix and here’s what we came up with.

(CAVEAT: Watch any pot, saucer or cache pot on your wood surfaces. If the cache pots are not glazed china, they may wick moisture onto your good wood surface – and I’ve seen some antique glazed china wick moisture too. Find plant coasters at your local independent garden center, they will have a few options for you and you can pick up a couple of 4″ houseplant at the same time.)

Pottery Barn Gig Creates More Miniature Gardening for Indoors

This was part of our display for the demo at Pottery Barn. We re-invented the cache pot and combined it with a little miniature garden idea.

Pottery Barn Gig Creates More Miniature Gardening for Indoors

A cache pot in a bowl filled with tumbled pebbles give the illusion of a miniature garden with the cache pot being a “large” container. The brown weathered markings of the cache pot was picked up in the color of the bowl – it was rimmed in the same brown.  That seaweed-type plant material on the “patio” is artificial.

More Miniature Gardening Ideas for Indoors

You can still have fun with the tiny miniature garden details. That’s a real baby Hen & Chick in the tiny pot. The gnome is staked to stay in plants. (Find him at TwoGreenThumbs.com)

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

So, I brought the idea home and tried some different combos. Some of the smaller gardens made me say, “Oh, how twee!” I’ll show you more details of the wee ones in part two of this blog post.

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

Using the cache pot in the dish idea, I came up with my own version. Even though my cache pot was a bit tall, it still worked in this shallow dish.

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

And tried it with a couple of different houseplants… That’s a pilea that’s a bit leggy.

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

And here, with a perfect Primose for spring. Still very fun and really, really simple – this is the perfect idea is for any black thumb, or think retirement centers where the ability to dote on plants may be limited.

More Miniature Gardening Ideas for Indoors

I tried it in a basket. It didn’t work as well as the dish but I think it could with the right combination of cache pot and basket. I lined the basket with a plastic bag before putting in the cache pot and then pouring the pebbles around it.

See the variety of miniature pebbles and tumbled stone here.

More Miniature Gardening Ideas for Indoors

The same basket as above but with a Variegated Boxwood tree. The black, poly pot was a little too big for the cache pot and didn’t look right despite me trying to hide it with moss. This scene could have used another birdbath or more miniature garden art to help tell the story.

Find the Variegated Boxwood Tree here. Need miniature driftwood? Find it here.

Different Ways to Grow Indoor Miniature Gardens

Just like all things miniature garden, the fun is in the details and you can customize your miniature garden do suit just about any occasion.

Find our miniature water features and birdbaths here. And see what miniature pots we have in stock here. And that’s a real engraved rock too – see more here.

Like this? Then you’ll love our newsletter, The Mini Garden Gazette. Join us here: http:/www.TwoGreenThumbs.com.

Carry on to Part II, our new Twee Gardens. Miniature Garden Ideas for Black Thumbs.

Miniature Gardening

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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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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.

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The Great Annual Miniature Garden Contest

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

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Caring for Your Indoor [Miniature] Gardens

Caring for your stressed out indoor plants

Our regular houseplants got a bit stressed out during the flower show. This is our front room after the cleaning. We kept the two possibly-problemed pots separated after finding the source and cleaning all the other pots, the shelf and the general area. 

Caring for Your Indoor [Miniature] Gardens

With all the hustle and bustle with the Northwest Flower and Garden Show last week, our office, home and studio quickly disintegrated into mayhem. Add a houseguest that stays for the 10 night duration and we have ourselves a perfect storm of disorganization and chaos.

But it was fun, wasn’t it?

So, I wasn’t surprised on the Monday after the show when Bruce found some eaten leaves on one of the houseplants in the front room – thankfully our miniature plant nursery is outdoors where the weather takes care of the inventory for our store – but our full-sized indoor plants were just as about as stressed-out as we were.

The one pot that came through unscathed? Our tropical miniature garden!

Whenever I find some evidence of one unwanted visitor on my plants, I go into stealth-cleaning-mode, stop everything, inspect and dissect everything around the houseplants, and look for the source. Heck, I can catch up on work later, right? Ugh.

Here are some quick pointers that came out of this latest cleaning binge. Now that the winter is waning, your regular indoor plants may be griping a bit too.

1. Inspect all leaves, stems and trunks for anything outside the norm or any sort of damage. For example:

  • edges of the leaves are missing
  • rolled edges of the leaves
  • tiny spider webs
  • weird casings attached to stems
  • little green/white/black bugs hanging out on new stems or new leaves2.

2. Inspect all the pots on all sides, underneath the pot, under the saucer too. Look for tiny eggs of any sort and bugs of any kind, of course.

3. If you aren’t afraid of bugs, squish anything you find instantly with your fingers. (I know, it’s gross, but they piss me off! Lol!) I’ve heard of gardeners getting tweezers and dropping them into a bowl of vinegar and water, or water and rubbing alcohol, the main idea is to get something the bugs won’t like in the water so they die.

Indoor Hibiscus

Insect damage on our baby Hibiscus! Look for the source in, on, underneath and around all your pots when you see something like this. The little critter was rolled up inside the leaf.

What to do?

What to do if you find something more than a bug or two? Then it’s time to kick some butt and take no prisoners!

1. Take apart everything in your plant area.

2. If it’s warm enough to put all the plants outside – 50 degrees is a tolerable temperature for indoor plants for a couple of hours, I think. Use the kitchen floor if the weather isn’t cooperating with your plans.

3. Hose the plants down with a gently but firm spray from the hose to knock off any bugs or pests. Give the saucers a good spray.

4. If it’s not warm enough, the shower will work. Use a screen in the drain to catch any soil or leaves so they won’t plug up your plumbing.

5. Gently wash each leaf with your fingers. Tilt the pot so most of the hose/shower spray goes over the pot through the leaves, not into the pot – you are trying to wash the bugs away, not down into the pot.

6. If the invasion is extensive, deep-six that plant! Get rid of it and throw it out. If it’s a precious or rare plant, connect with your local garden center for specific recommendations. You can bring in a leaf or stem for inspection but make sure it’s sealed in a zip-lock bag.

7. Be sure to inspect the under side of the pot, it is a perfect environment for critters: barely damp, dark and out of the way.

8. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the pots and saucers.

9. Cut off and throw out in the trash, any dead, diseased or dying foliage.

10. Remove any dead leaves from the underneath the plant – they give the pests a place to hide.

11. Churn up the top layer of soil with a rod or a fork.

Miniature Indoor Garden

Our tropical miniature garden was in the middle of it all – and remains healthy and happy! Right plant, right place is key.

12. While your plants dry out a bit, wipe all the shelving down in your plant area with vinegar and water.

13. Sweep corners, underneath and around the plant area.

14. Top-up any container that needs a bit of soil.

15. By now the plant’s leaves should be dry. Use Safer’s Soap and spray all the plants that were directly affected by the pests. Note that this spray sometimes comes in concentrated form and follow the directions carefully. Safer’s soap is an organic pest control and is earth-friendly.

16. Put everything back together and place the non-infected plants back in place. Give every pot a thorough watering.

17. Keep the infected plants separate from the healthy ones. Take a week to monitor the infected plants before putting them back with the other plants. You can baby them with a soil-conditioner like Moo Poo Tea but wait until spring give them a proper fertilizing.

18. Pat yourself on the back, you just got a leg-up on your spring cleaning.

Take a moment to figure out why the invasion? When plants are healthy, they are able to resist pests and diseases. It’s only when they are stressed out that they get “sick.”  In our case, almost all our plants were super-dry and they didn’t get their regular watering with all the hub-bub going on. But all-in-all, I lost one plant but saved the 14 others. Whew!

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Results Are In! The Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

The Best Container for the Annual Miniature Garden Contest 2012

Best Miniature Garden in a Container: Glenna of Rochester, NY made this little gem with her boyfriend, Wyatt. We (the judges) thought it particularly charming with the stairs going down to the grotto-like pond. (Made with Mini Patio Mix.) The plants are perfectly in scale and the pretty color scheme match the pot too. The whole “look” is softened by the tumbled, smooth-edged stones. Glenna and Wyatt – you are hired!

Results Are In! The Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

What a terrific contest this year! Thank you all for your hard work and your creative ingenuity. We had 20 entries from the US, one from Canada and one from India. The level of miniature gardening made the judging particularly difficult this year. Steve and I had to bring in a couple of gardener friends for some objective opinions because we just could not decide!

If you missed it, here’s last year’s contest and the halloween contest.

And the winners are:

Best Miniature Garden in a Container: Glenna of NY (top)
Best Halloween Miniature Garden: Karen of MA
People’s Choice Award: Mary Jane of NE
Honorable Mentions: Debbie of CA & Laney of MS

It was great to see some out-of-the-box entries. We may have to open up another category for next year for more fun. Laney’s bedpan garden got the most groans and one “Eeeew!” Laney did reassure me that the bedpan was scrubbed before planting. But note that when I followed up with her, the plants were suffering in the metal bedpan so it was taken apart to save the trees. The rusted metal pan was harmful to the plant’s roots so don’t try that at home. ;o)

Here are all the winners followed by all the entrants. After getting this altogether, I think this is my most favorite blog of all time! Check it out:

Best Halloween Miniature Garden: Karen of MA

The Best Halloween Miniature Garden for the Annual Miniature Garden Contest 2012

This Pumpkin Village, made by Karen in MA, won Best Halloween Miniature Garden this year. We deliberated a bit as to whether it was a garden because it was labelled a “Pumpkin Village” but – it’s in a container and has a garden in front of the village. Can’t beat logic! This is so creatively fun with the all the row of houses. Great job, Karen!

People’s Choice Award: Mary Jane of NE

The People's Choice Award of the Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

People’s Choice Award goes to our second-time winner, Mary Jane from Nebraska. Very Pretty!! We just fell in love with the blue and white combo – just charming! We were glad to see “The People” loved it too! Congrats, Mary Jane!

Honorable Mention: Debbie of CA

Honorable Mention, Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

Honorable Mention for the Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012 by Debbie from CA. This was so pretty, we had to make two Honorable Mentions! Everything works together in scale and color – the colors of the plants as well as the color of the accessories and the pot. The pond and swan create a peaceful effect; the patio on the backside adds another dimension. Very sweet, Debbie!

Honorable Mention: Laney of MI

Honorable Mention, Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

This darling little gem won Honorable Mention by Laney from MI. It was in line to win the Best Container before being ousted at the last minute by Glenna. There are koi fish in the pond which Laney layered in with clear resin and finished it up by floating lily flowers on the very top. We loved how Laney built in the patio all around the pond with our Mini Patio Mix Kit. The “wall” of cypresses and trellises in the back work to contain the scene. The sweet alcove made with the red arbor holds a bather sculpture. The shoes and hat on the chair creates the story.

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

We loved this one too! From Laney of MI. It was the meandering path that led over the bridge and through the woods… Perfect eye candy, Laney!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

This one may have opened up another category for next year. A miniature garden with an outhouse planted in a bedpan by Laney from MI. Hilarious, Laney, yet – well done!

And all the talented Entries:

Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

We loved the colors in this entry by Barbara of CA. The red bridge and trellis tied in nicely with the ponds and Asian seat and pots. Great work, Barbara!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

A backyard garden by Lori of WA spreads out to a few different “rooms” in the garden. Love the addition of the miniature glass garden art and the lanterns. Way to go, Lori!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

A spooky little Halloween garden by Lori of WA. It kept us looking for more and more details, lol! Terrific, Lori!

Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

A nicely aged miniature garden entry by Lori of WA. The Green Carpet Juniper is beginning to look like the perfect tree in this cute little scene. The scale is perfect. Nice garden, Lori! (Psssst, the fish needs some water…. Lol! ;o)

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

A garden getaway from Sonya of MI. What a peaceful scene – love how the hose is left out – very realistic! Lol! Wonderful, Sonya!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

A serene scene from Sonya of MI. If the brick wall wasn’t behind it, one may just think it was a full-sized garden! Lovely work, Sonja!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

This lovely garden scene was created by Sonya of MI. We love how the fence completes the back of the garden and contains the scene. The furniture in the front and the pot details keep the interest. Very pretty, Sonya!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

A fairy garden by Michelle of TX and yes, it’s in a hot-pink wheelbarrow. Love how the path meanders from the pond to the arbor to the house to the…. and it’s portable! It’s a sweet scene, Michelle!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

This cute indoor garden comes from Mabelle of CA. We loved how the taller trees created a canopy over the pond. Checkout the miniature potted plants – cute! Delightful, Mabelle!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

All the way from Canada! This sweet vignette by Mary is just charming with the ivy growing up the lighted gazebo. I’m coming over for tea, Mary! ;o)

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

Brought to you by ‘Dawn’not So’patient’ from Facebook. A very cute fairy garden. We suspect she’s not from Facebook, but from someplace down south by the plants she’s used. Very enjoyable, Dawn!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

A charming miniature garden by Pat from MI. The colors of the accessories and basket tie it all together in a nice neat little scene. Adorable, Pat!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

This very fun miniature garden comes from Jeeva from India. The greens and reds really work well together to create a rather exotic scene. Enchanting, Jeeva!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

This pretty garden is from Hollie of KY. The tans, creams and whites contrast nicely with the greens of the plants and pot. A pretty scene, Hollie!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

Our only Christmas entry by Hollie of KY. The wreath and garland are handmade by Hollie. (There weren’t enough entries for this holiday category, unfortunately.) Very creative, Hollie!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

And our only in-ground entry too – by Hollie from KY. See the witch’s legs underneath the ivy on the right?  (There weren’t enough entries for this in-ground category, unfortunately.) Too fun, Hollie!

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

This miniature halloween scene comes from Deb from IN. Love the tiny gargoyles on the fence posts. Very scary, Deb!

Best Miniature Garden in a Container: Glenna of NY, close up view

Two Green Thumbs Annual Miniature Garden Contest, 2012

And lastly, another visit to our Best Miniature Garden in a Container Winner. Time to drink Alice’s elixir, shrink down…. and relax… Thank You, Everyone!

Wow, now you can see why it’s my favorite blog of all time! Thank you everyone for participating!

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Stay tuned to next week’s blog when we breakdown some of the gardens and go into detail on the plants and trees used here.

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More From the Miniature Garden Archives, Part II

Miniature Garden Plants

Mixing up the textures and the colors of the trees, shrubs and plants create an authentic garden scene in miniature.

More From the Miniature Garden Archives, Part II

Here are more of the many miniature garden images that we put aside for our upcoming book from Timber Press that got crunched in our computer, we couldn’t use these for print so here they are for you miniature gardening pleasure and inspiration. Notes about why we love these plants are in the caption below the image. See Part One from May, click here and we got a chance to highlight our Miniature Houseboat Garden in July, click here. 

We love junipers for the Miniature Garden!

A Miniature Beach Garden – the dwarf Junipers are excellent choices for hardy, full sun gardens.

Dwarf Junipers are just a pleasure to grow in the miniature garden. They come in many shapes and colors, they are really hardy, can take full sun and can tolerate a little dry soil too. Above, the upright column of green is a Miniature Juniper, the lower one on the right is the Mother Lode Juniper. The Mother Lode is technically a slow growing ground cover shrub but it makes a surprising reliable miniature garden plant that changes colors through the season. Trim any wayward branches when you see them.

Miniature Garden in half inch scale

Pair your dwarf Junipers with other plants that love full sun and well-drained soil for the best results.

The miniature bedding plants used there are mostly sedums. In the pots on the left, we used sedum cuttings and a baby Hen and Chick. On the right in the foreground is Elfin Thyme. All plants in this combo can be grown in full sun and well-drained soil. (The pots and bird feeder have been discontinued, unfortunately.)

Miniature Garden Plants

Fernspray Hinoki Cypress is a favorite for the miniature garden. Here it is paired with Red Thyme. (The chair has been discontinued.)

The Fernspray Hinoki Cypress is one of the faster growing dwarf trees that we carry. Its the shape that really sells us – and it changes colors in the winter for added charm. Prune away the bottom branches to show some trunk to make it look like a tree. The marble and pebble patio is locked in with Mini Patio Mix, it’s a permanent fix to your miniature patio woes.

A Peaceful Miniature Garden Scene

A peaceful miniature garden scene. 

The Hinoki Cypress above is several years old and paired with bedding plants that enjoy regular water, and part sun (meaning a maximum 6 hours of direct sun.) There is a Fairy Vine (Muelenbeckia complex) growing up the trellis on the left, Platt’s Black Brass Buttons (Leptinella squalida) below it, and Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) on the right. We used sedum cuttings for the wee pot.

Miniature Garden Vine and Trellis

A simple garden vignette can bring a little peace and tranquility indoors.

In this miniature garden, the miniature arbor becomes the focal point. Without the arbor, it would just be a plant in a pot. We matched the miniature pebbles with larger “boulders” to lend an air of permanence to this garden. This particular plant, the Fairy Vine, will last for a couple of years in this pot before needed more room or dividing. It will go through a dormant period in late winter and get a bit leggy, just cut it back and it should flush out in new growth in the spring. Fertilize in spring if it’s been in a pot for more than a year. Note that the Fairy Vine is a bit aggressive in some areas when planted in the ground.

Indoor Miniature Garden

Add a slice of the outdoors to you indoors this fall with an indoor miniature garden.

This Variegated English Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Variagata) is a great little tree for indoors or out. The two tiny green shrubs in the front-most bed are the Kingsville Dwarf Boxwood (Buxus microphylla ‘Compacta’) Boxwoods need plenty of light to grow indoors – with some direct light if possible. They are great for a bright shade spot outdoors too. Be careful to let the soil dry out to barely damp in between waterings to avoid overwatering. The pot is about 18″ in diameter. (The white bench and pots in this photo have since been discontinued.)

Miniature Garden Tree, Moonfrost Canada Hemlock

The Moonfrost Canada Hemlock is a very reliable tree for the miniature garden.

The Moonfrost Canada Hemlock is a wonderful little tree for the miniature garden. Prune up the bottom-most branches to show a bit of trunk to make it look like a tree. It can be grown in part shade to cool sun – in a pot or in the ground. The colors change throughout the seasons too: The celery green color in the summer turns to a mottled pink in the winter, the new growth in the spring is a creamy white. Trim the branches of the Moonfrost in late winter to keep the colors vibrant.

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