Miniature Gardening is Growing Roots Worldwide


The Turkish version of Gardening in Miniature! Yay!

Miniature Gardening is Growing Roots Worldwide

I do believe the appropriate terms is, “AWESOME SAUCE!!”


Yeah, a surprise from my publisher arrived earlier this week: the Turkish version of Gardening in Miniature!

Thank you, Timber Press!

It was just a couple of weeks ago that we learned of a Korean version in the works. ;o)

‘Mom spricht kein Deutsch’ is German for Mom Doesn’t Speak German

And a funny thing happened the other day. My Mom was trying to order a couple of copies of the German edition of the book from website and, no, she doesn’t speak or read a word of German. (How she was able to navigate the site is beyond me but I was reminded of where I get my tenacity from. Lol!) So, we ended up with a few extra copies of Gardening in Miniature in German now available here in the USA!!

We have them up in the Etsy store here.

German edition of Gardening in Miniature

Gardening in Miniature – now available in German in our Etsy Store!


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How YOU Can Help Save Our Environment and Our World

Please join us and millions of other concerned citizens throughout the world, by simply signing a petition at

Please join us and millions of other concerned citizens throughout the world, by simply signing a petition at Pictured above is Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig that illegally docked in Seattle and is now on its way to the Arctic. This is not about oil.

How YOU Can Help The Pope Save Our Environment and Our World

The world needs your help!

In case you missed it, an important protest is going on online and here in the PNW to stop Shell from drilling in the pristine arctic. THIS IS NOT ABOUT OIL. It’s about putting corporate responsibility over greed.

There is a 75% RISK OF DISASTER that can NOT be fixed if anything does happen. A no-brainer you would think, but Shell is forcing their way up to the Arctic, ignoring rules and regulations along the way.

Simply put, the Arctic has a extremely important role in maintaining the balance of the earth’s climate.

Please join us and millions of other very concerned citizens throughout the world, US and Canada, by signing the petition at the very least at

Your kids and grandkids will thank you – and we do too.

YOU can help. Please sign the petition at and boycott Shell gas stations. Let’s see if we can ruin their environment before they ruin ours.

‪#‎ShellNo‬‪ #‎boycottshellgas‬

And Here’s The Pope’s Petition:

Pope Francis has launched his own petition to help save the environment and needs 25,000 signatures to bring this issue to the December Climate Change Conference in Paris:

To the Heads of State and the Governments of the nations participating in the 21st International Climate Change Conference, scheduled from November 30 to December 15, 2015 in Paris, France.

On behalf of our children, who without your commitment and action will inherit a degraded and dangerous planet.

On behalf of the poor of the planet, the first to be victimized by pollution and the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

On behalf of the whole human family, for which we all have a responsibility to care without regard to national borders or social divisions.”  – From the website where you can sign the petition.

(To my regular readers: Apologies for the soapbox. If we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything. Together we can make the right change for the health of our climate, and our children’s climate.)

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Declutter Your Fairy Garden with the New Bestselling Ebook!

 Sophisticated Fairy Gardening with

Thinking like a fairy can help you declutter your fairy garden, save money and make a prettier display. Our new eBook will help you do that.

Declutter Your Fairy Garden with the New Bestselling Ebook!

Decluttering is all the rage now with the new book that is making us tear apart our closets and cupboards. In the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, (affiliate link) Marie Kondo tells us to only keep what brings you joy. Funnily enough, that’s what we said except we called it love! In our new, bestselling ebook, Sophisticated Fairy Gardening: Advanced Techniques, Ideas and Imaginings, An Addendum to Gardening in Miniature.

Click to enlarge the photos.

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening with

A set of handmade fairy wings are ready to strap on so you can fly with your fairy.

Here is an excerpt from our Sophisticated Fairy Gardening ebook on decluttering and simplifying:

“Less is More

The three critical words of design: less is more. Focus on doing fewer things really well to create more of an impact. This idea resonates through all types of design, not just garden design. The smartest-looking interior design photos are usually very simply decorated with clean lines, patterns and colors that are chosen individually for their strong presence. The reason books are printed with margins around the side, and why paintings look better in frames, is because of the white-space, or visual-relief, that is created around the words or artwork. The white-space gives the chance for the eye to rest and it balances the visual impact in our brains so we can see and synthesize the information more efficiently.

Doing more with less is may be why your fairy garden doesn’t look right. By cluttering the scene with multiple patios with pathways going to and fro, filling the patios with swings, furniture sets, houses and fairies with stairs leading here and there to nowhere, nothing really stands out to the viewer. The scene is clumped together in the mind as one heap of accessories.

To undo and redo, clean all the accessories out of your fairy garden and sort them into two groups, ones that you really love and adore, and ones that you don’t. Put only the accessories that you adore back into your garden by grouping them into smaller scenes. Gift the rest to your local girl scouts, sell them at a garage sale or give them to a thrift store.”

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening with

It is a lot more than child’s play when you add a little sophistication to your fairy gardening. The baby carriage is made out of walnut shells and lined with feathers.

There is more insight on fairy garden design, miniature garden plants, landscaping and to learn about why we are having a hard time making the fairy garden look realistic, in our new ebook Sophisticated Fairy Gardening: Advanced Techniques, Ideas and Imaginings. By Yours Truly, Janit Calvo, is available in digital PDF dowload from our online store here so you can get it right now. Note that is an addendum and it references our Amazon bestseller, Gardening in Miniature many times throughout the PDF for more insight and information.

And it’s coming to Kindle soon too!

Like this? Then join us as we dig deeper and deeper into the miniature garden hobby right here. [Warning: May or may not contain fairies.]

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

Our new eBook! For Advanced Fairy Gardeners only. It’s an addendum to our Gardening in Miniature book. Click the picture for more.

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New Miniature Gardeners: Be Patient with Your Learning Curve

All gardeners kill plants, the professionals just don’t tell you about it.

New Miniature Gardeners: Be Patient with Your Learning Curve

This past spring was a bit of a challenge for any gardener. With the temperatures rising and falling within a day in Michigan, the flooding in Texas and the midwest, the drought in California and now in Washington State, it’s a wonder why we even try to grow a garden. But to have a garden is to have hope. And for some of us, to surround oneself with nature’s beauty is necessary, so, try and try again.

If you are a new gardener, you may think that it’s your fault your plants died – or, you could blame the store where you got the plants, that’s always easier, isn’t it? “I should have been more careful.” “I shouldn’t have bought those plants.” “I should have sheltered them before the temperature dropped.” “I should have…” Please don’t “should” yourself. Learning to do anything is a journey, and gardening is a journey too, not an end result.

If you expect to stumble when learning something new, you can welcome the challenge and try again instead of getting discouraged.

The Learning Curve

 Definition: The rate of a person’s progress in gaining experience or new skills.

I love to hate learning curves.

I love them because I know that if I try something new, I will fail, mess it up or at least have to do it over at some point before I learn to do it well enough. If I expect that dip in the curve, I won’t get so down on myself and throw it out the window – literally. Steve still teases me about that one day I spent the afternoon trying to make miniature dress for one of our greeting card ideas. (It’s how we stumbled upon the idea of miniature gardening.) I finally finished the dress, whipped it out of the sewing machine, cut the threads and then tossed the dress out the open window in complete frustration. Lol!

And I hate learning curves because of that same reason. Who has the time to do it over? What about the price of trying again? But why can I do anything I want perfectly the first time?

Gardening is a journey, not a destination.

Repeat with me:

Gardening is a journey, not a destination.

So remember the learning curve and give yourself a huge break. Now go get some more plants and try again because they don’t grow on trees, they ARE trees.

If you like everything miniature garden, join us to receive your free Mini Garden Gazette newsletter here. You’ll get a free PDF just for signing up.

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Growing Small in Different Ways with Indoor Bonsai

Bountiful bonsai is different way to grow fruit trees indoors with limited space.

Growing Small in Different Ways with Indoor Bonsai

The new hobby of miniature gardening overlaps many different types of gardening and brings them together into one very special package. One of those forms is the art of bonsai, what we call the godfather of miniature gardening, an ancient art form of gardening small started centuries ago in China.Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

We insist on calling bonsai “art” because of the strict rules applied, as well as the commitment and focus needed to sustain it. Bonsai literally means ‘tray-plant’ and it’s the shallow tray in proportion to the tree that defines a true bonsai. You’ll find some call a small tree in any pot bonsai, but if you return to the literal translation, there is no question about the definition of true bonsai.

But with miniature gardening, we can have our bonsai and go on vacation too. We plant our young trees in deeper pots and let the trunks thicken while it lifts the tree canopy off the ground, the branches develop gradually, and you get the look of bonsai without the unyielding maintenance schedule. So, when I was sent this interesting book to review, I knew it was right up my alley. I’ll never pass a fruit tree at the garden center again without considering the potential.

Bountiful Bonsai: Create Instant Indoor Container Gardens with Edible Fruits, Herbs and Flowers by Richard W. Bender (Tuttle Publishing, 2014) is a fun way to enjoy the art of bonsai – and you can eat it too.

The author Richard Bender includes a long list of edible plants you can bonsai for indoors.

The focus of the book is edible trees that can be grown indoors, a very fun idea made achievable, thanks to the author, Richard Bender. Richard takes you through the true art of bonsai, and then explains how you can achieve the look of bonsai quickly, with a few compromises.

The book then lists a number of different kinds of plants that can be grown this way: cherries, oranges, guava, coffee, lemon, lime, figs, basil, thyme, mint bushes, the list goes on. Hungry yet? This may be the book to keep in the car just in case you come across a potential candidate at your local independent garden center. The number of different possibilities alone is inspiring in itself.

Richard doesn’t leave you there either. There is a chapter on long-term care that includes some easy indoor light ideas, planting, pruning and fertilizing, then followed by a chapter full of cooking ideas and more.

It’s a cute and inspiring book. If you are a foodie and a gardener, this book is for you. If you want to step into the world of bonsai, this is a great introduction to the art. Or, if you are like me and like growing different ways, this is for you. I can’t wait to see if I can build one into a miniature garden too.

Find it through our affiliate link on Amazon here.

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The Art of Miniatures with Caveman Al

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

“Rock Island” is a dream. There is a chair next to this display where you can get eye-level with the scene and enjoy all the tiny details.  See below for the list of fish and critters.

The Art of Miniatures with Caveman Al

“If it’s not built from scratch, I can’t call it art.”

– Caveman Al

We followed the line of pavers next to the parking lot behind the building. “She said it was in the alley.” Steve and I were apprehensive about nosing around, it looked like someone’s backyard. We passed another little walkway lined with roses and saw a man looking back at us through the door. I recognized him immediately and gave a little wave. “I saw that confused look on your faces and knew you were probably looking for me.” He opened the door and welcomed us into the cutest studio on earth.

Meet Caveman Al. He has been designing homes and miniature making since he was 8 years old. He doesn’t work in any particular size

Miniature Making with Caveman Al


– I think the project dictates the scale – and everything is made from scratch.

Yep. Everything. No sourcing, no customizing, no scouring the internet for the perfect miniature to complete a scene. Al makes everything, including the fish in the sea and the leaves on the trees.

I wanted to stay and play.

Here are some photos I took with my iphone, (I should have brought my good camera!) so make sure you head on over and visit his website & gallery, Al has a bunch great photos of projects that we did not see in the studio when we visited. All his artwork is for sale and he does some custom work too.

Click to enlarge the photos.

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

Every leaf was made from scratch. Al uses vellum, wire, polymer and marble dust to create the leaves. Each leaf can take almost half an hour to make. The tree is about 15″ tall.

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

The studio was tiny, about 15 by 12 feet but it was filled with Al’s creations. Al got the nickname, Caveman Al, from a newspaper article about his work several years ago.

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

It’s just a little vacation. Crystal clear resin lets us enjoy every inch of detail. The sign says, “Al’s Island Reservations Only”

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

Don’t sneeze. Steve holds one of Al’s tiny sharks, about 1/4″ long.

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

The walls are lined with more photographs of past projects, processes and details.

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

A step-by-step on how Al makes a palm tree.

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

Okay, this is the house I’m building when I win the lottery – with Al’s permission of course. The house is called Walnut Manor and it’s 1/96th scale. The floors can be lifted off in layers so you can see all the juicy details. Note the pool in the center and the garden all around the house.

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

The second floor of the Walnut Manor. I love the balcony in the middle, overlooking the pool.

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

Miniature scenes of all shapes and sizes are everywhere in his studio. Al calls them “Personal Walls” The items on the floor reflect the people in the frames. Al does custom work too – wouldn’t this make a great gift for a Mom or Grandmother?

Join us for more miniature gardening!

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

I think this gazebo is large size or 1″ scale. Of course I fell in love his garden miniatures.

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

Al was a delight to talk to. His sense of humor shows up in his art – if you look closely there is a naked man waiting for his laundry in “The Laundwich Shop” – a sandwich laundromat.

Miniature Making with Caveman Al

Hanging out with Al makes me want to quit my day job and make miniatures. If you are ever in the area of Anacortes, he is worth a visit. You can find Al on the Anacortes Art Walk, on the first Friday of every month.

Checkout more of the lovely details on Al’s website here. There are a ton of photos in his gallery, including photos of his masterpiece, the “Out to Lunch” house shown above.

America's Favorite Miniature Garden Center


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Plants for Growing Small: Miniature Gardens, Fairy Gardens, Railroad Gardens and Bonsai

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Plants for Growing Small: Miniature Gardens, Fairy Gardens, Garden Railroads and Bonsai

It happens every spring. The trees inspire me to write about them. So when I searched for what I had written before, I came across a boatload of my blogs from years past. Whew! Who knew so much could be said about a few little plants? Let me count the ways! But first, some MORE insight for your planting pleasure.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The bright yellow Golden Dwarf Japanese Yew foliage contrasts with the deep red leaves of the Bagatelle Barberry and the emerald green foliage of the Just Dandy Hinoki Cypress in the front. A great combination for full sun but may need protection from that hot afternoon sun if you are in a warmer climate. A colorful combo that’s hardy to -20F – the Yew and Barberry are hardy to -30F. For the ground covers, or the miniature garden bed, the Red Thyme and Miniature Daisy have red accents to them and deep green leaves to match for a lovely combination for your miniature garden.

 Yummy Planting Combinations

I’m like a kid in a candy store every spring. It’s all I can do not to plant up every container I have with the yummy combinations of the miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs this season. So, instead of monopolizing all the plants in the nursery for my own enjoyment, I thought to share some of the combinations and ideas that pop in to my head every day through this visual essay.

Click the photos to enlarge them.

Find all the trees we have in stock, right here.

Whipcord Western Red Cedar on the left, the Variegated Boxwood at top right and the Loowit Japanese Hemlock on the bottom, right. A sweet combo for cool sun or part sun. Hardy to -20F, the Cedar and Hemlock are hardy to -30F. For the lower story in the garden bed, echo the dramatic flair of the Whipcord Cedar with Dwarf Mondo Grass and anchor the setting with the low-growing Elfin Thyme.

Just Dandy Hinoki Cypress is paired with Tom Thumb Cotoneaster on the right. Perfect for cool sun or part sun and both are hardy to -20F . We can enjoy how the Tom Thumb Cotoneaster is exfoliating with the leaves that turn red before they drop. The red stems of the Tom Thumbs would match perfectly with Red Thyme.

Yellow and green combinations brighten the cloudiest days. Counter clockwise from upper left is the new growth of the Humpty Dumpty Dwarf Spruce, the Golden Devine Barberry and the Pin Cushion Hinoki Cypress. Full to part sun, watch that afternoon sun in the summertime if it’s planted in a container. All are hardy to -30F. The yellow centers of the miniature daisies are a perfect fit and the deep-green daisy leaves will match the mature leaves on the Dwarf Spruce. Blue Star Creeper would be a nice match too.

Find all the trees we have in stock, right here.

The red leaves of the Bagatelle Barberry pick up the new buds on the Slowmound Mugo Pine. The gray-green foliage of the Tsukumo Sawara Cypress. Full sun, again watch the container in that hot afternoon sun. Hardy to -30F. With the young Cypress and Pine shrubs, choose a low-growing ground cover. The White Thyme is a brighter green color and a perfect match.

Fairy Gardening with Two Green

Bulata Japaneses Spirea is paired with the Squarrosa Intermedia Cypress. The tight, dense foliage of the Cypress is pleasantly contrasted with the leaves of the spirea. The flowers are the icing on the cake. Hardy to -30F. Full or cool sun until established. Elfin thyme and perhaps a Crane’s Bill to mimic the spirea leaves.

The Jersey Jewel Japanese Holly is just coming into bud, it has the cutest little flowers. We paired with a dwarf Canada Hemlock for a combo for part sun or part shade. Hardy to -10F, the Hemlock is hardier. For the understory, Dwarf Mondo Grass, Corsican Mint or Baby Tears.

The Slowmound Mugo Pine on the left, Golden Devin Barberry up at the top right and the Blue Pygmy Juniper on the bottom. Full sun but watch the Barberry with that hot sun. Hardy to -20F, the Pine and the Juniper are hardier.  If you like that blue-green of the Blue Pygmy Junipers, accent it with Woolley Thyme and some small Hens and Checks for more texture.

Find all the trees we have in stock, right here.


A Round Up of Miniature Garden Plant Posts:

Insight on how to choose what plants will work for you, from our 101 Beginner Series:

– Indoor versus outdoor plants

– How to find the plants


Reviews and previews about the new plants coming out on the marketplace:

– The Evolution of the Miniature Garden, February, 2015

– New Miniature Garden Plants for Indoor or Outdoor, September, 2013

– Favorite Plants for a New Season, September, 2013

– New miniature garden trees for the new hobby, Part 1 and Part 2, June 2014

– About the plants that the winners of The Great Annual Miniature Garden Contest used in their gardens, November, 2012


More insight:

– Examples of popular plants that don’t work well in the true, living miniature garden

– What do the miniature and dwarf growth rates mean?

– About how the trees grow, includes photos of established plants in regular full-sized garden beds


For Fun:

– For the Love of Miniature Garden Plants, September 2010

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!

Different Plant Ideas

– What’s the difference between the plants I saw at the Philly Show?

– Have fun with air plants in the garden

– Ideas for black thumb gardening part 1 and part 2.


More insight: 

– Avoid common mistakes by knowing what they are.

– Are you plants having issues? Don’t wait until it’s too late to act.


Miniature garden plant suggestions by region:

– Connecticut, Colorado and New Mexico

– Texas.

– Southeastern States.

– Pacific Northwest and Maritime States includes all the plants we carry in our online store. Here is a miniature garden by a couple of gurus here in the PNW.

– Canada (call ahead to verify, links haven’t been updated.)


Whew. I think I need a nap after that. I probably missed some too. Like this? Want to go deeper into the miniature garden hobby with us? Join us here.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo


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