Miniature Garden Ideas

Miniature Garden Ideas & Fairy Garden Ideas, New Videos!

A couple of new videos with a few miniature garden ideas and fairy garden ideas from your fellow miniature gardeners at TwoGreenThumbs.com, America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center.

Miniature Garden Ideas:

Fairy Garden Ideas

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Miniature Gardening: Go Ahead, Act Your Shoesize

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Photography Tips for Miniature Gardens and Fairy Gardens

Sometimes a shot that should work, doesn't look right. Here are some tips and ideas to get the most out of your miniature garden or fairy garden photography.

Sometimes a shot that should work, doesn’t look right. Here are some tips and ideas to get the most out of your miniature garden or fairy garden photography.

Photography Tips for Miniature Gardens and Fairy Gardens

Welcome to the dog daze of summah! This time of year often brings fleeting moments of reflection as we see the subtle signs of the changes of the season coming soon. The odd breeze that feels a little cooler, the late summer sunflowers doing their thing or the end-of-summer vegetables suddenly big and ripe, getting ready to fall of the vine. But, alas, let’s not completely pack-in summer just yet, you still have at least one thing to do in your miniature garden or fairy garden before summer ends: document it! Miniature Gardening: Go Ahead, Act Your Shoesize

Different types of gardens, miniature or full-sized, can come into their prime at different times of the year. It’s really dependent upon what you are growing in your miniature garden and where you are growing it, of course. A garden full of miniature and dwarf conifers just may look its best in the middle of winter. If the garden is made of of perennials and ground covers, right now, in the middle of August, may be the peak time for your garden. This year in Seattle, we are in a record drought and we are only watering what is necessary so I plan to photograph this year’s stage later in September. Whatever time that may be for you, remember grab your camera and document it. Gardens grow, plants grow, seasons change – but you’ll have the photo for forever.

Here are some more reasons to convince you to make the effort to photograph your work:

  • Bragging rights
  • You’ll need a reminder in the dead of winter
  • You can make a T-shirt or a mug for yourself, like I did here.
  • And give them as super-easy one-of-a-kind presents for the holidays for unsuspecting family and friends
  • Use the photos for your screen saver or wallpaper for your computer
  • You can start a scrapbook of your progress and show the stages of growth throughout the seasons and the years to add another level to your hobby

Here are some previous links to blogs with more tips and techniques for photographing small scenes:

Lights! Camera! Action! Photographing your Miniature Garden

Photographing Your Miniature Garden or Railroad Garden

And here is a visual essay with some more pointers to help you get the most out of your miniature garden. It’s very similar to getting your own portrait done, make sure all the details are primped and fluffed-up before you preserve your scene for all of eternity.

Establish your shot first, or choose the area that you want to document that has a focal point. In this study, the house and seating area is the focal point.

Click to enlarge the photos:

Cleaning:

Clean up the dead leaves. Carefully trim the dead branches and leaves from the trees and shrubs, pluck the dead leaves from the perennial ground covers. Clean up any debris on the garden "floor" to help un clutter the shot. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Clean up the dead leaves. Carefully trim the dead branches and leaves from the trees and shrubs, pluck the dead leaves from the perennial ground covers. Clean up any debris on the garden “floor” to help un clutter the shot. Work from one side to the other to make sure you get everything, then do it again. (This is what the professionals do, that’s why they get paid the big-bucks.)

Straightening:

You may have to click this photo to enlarge it. Make every accessory and house level to each other and to the garden. In a full-sized garden, the ground is normally level and each surface, or line, is either parallel or perpendicular with the house. You can see how topsy-turvy the scene looks now. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

You may have to click this photo to enlarge it, the lines show how topsy-turvy the scene looks. Make every accessory and house level to each other and to the garden. In a full-sized garden, the ground is normally level and each surface, or line, is either parallel or perpendicular with the house.

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Framing:

Pick your frame. Do you want to use it as a print for your wall? Or for a screensaver? Choose a rectangular orientation. This rectangle could be bigger to capture more of the interesting flora behind and beside the house. Leaving room on the other side of the bridge on the left side, you can include that wonderful trunk of the Pieris japonica 'Little Heath,' or Little Heath Japanese Andromeda. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Pick your frame. Do you want to use it as a print for your wall? Or for a screensaver? Choose a rectangular orientation. This rectangle could be bigger to capture more of the interesting flora behind and beside the house. I would leave more room on the other side of the bridge on the left side too, you can include that wonderful trunk of the Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath,’ or Little Heath Japanese Andromeda with the variegated leaves.

 

A vertical orientation looks great on social media, but, more importantly, it might be a better fit for where you want it framed and hanging in your house. In this frame, there is a bit too much room above the house and the balance is a little disproportionate. The house-scene should be more towards the middle of the shot, or slightly off center for more interest. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

A vertical orientation looks great on social media, but, more importantly, it might be a better fit for where you want it framed and hanging in your house. In this frame, there is a bit too much room above the house and the balance is a little disproportionate. The house-scene should be more towards the middle of the shot, or slightly off center for more interest.

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A square orientation to the frame creates a cosy shot if you want to focus on the house-scene, but, again for this scene, I would pan-out to include the trees and foliage around the house too. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

A square orientation to the frame creates a cosy shot if you want to only focus on the house-scene, but, again for this scene, I would pan-out to include the trees and foliage around the house only because I’ve gone to all the trouble of planting and growing them in.

Perspective:

You have several choices of perspective when photographing your miniature garden or fairy garden. The above photos are from a worm’s-eye-view (or from the fairy-eye’s point of view.) But you can raise the viewpoint up a little to make a squirrel’s-eye-view (Yep, that’s our new technical term for it. Lol!) And, of course, you can do a bird’s eye view and shoot it from above, looking down into the scene but this doesn’t really read well if you have a bunch of trees in the way.

Same scene, different day. By moving the viewpoint up a bit, you may be able to work-around the uneven-ness of the ground if you having trouble getting everything level.  http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Same scene, different day. By moving the viewpoint up and over a bit, you may be able to work-around the uneven-ness of the ground if you having trouble getting everything level.

Take a couple of test shots and load them on your computer or tablet for inspection. If it’s a go, shoot away. Take plenty of photos, you can always delete them but you can’t always recreate them.

Once you capture your great shot, remember to back it up or save it somewhere else just in case. Or, maybe make a T-shirt out of it. Lol!

The fairy houses and accessories in this blog is from our good friends over at Plow & Hearth. Find our bestselling Gardening in Miniature book there too!

For more realistic solutions for your miniature garden or railroad garden, visit your Miniature Garden Center store here.

Like this? Are you serious about miniature gardening? Join us here for your free monthly Mini Garden Gazette newsletter. You’ll get a free PDF just for joining us. Sign up here.

Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.com

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It’s a Miniature Garden and Fairy Garden Round-Up!

It's a Miniature Garden and Fairy Garden Roundup on the Mini Garden Guru Blog!

It’s a Miniature Garden and Fairy Garden Round-Up!

Ah, summah! It is my favorite time of year. Things slow down a bit, there is still lots of daylight left to enjoy the evenings and the warm weather makes easier living, no worries about being cold and wet. How is that for optimism as we are in the middle of the driest season ever in Seattle history? [Insert a glass of water here.] Thankfully you can always make a miniature garden anywhere and anytime!

So this week, while I slow down a bit and catch up on some writing, I thought to check-in with a few fellow garden bloggers that I hang out with on Facebook to see if they were gardening small – and they are! Yay!
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Let the Round Up Begin!

~> Stephanie, over at The Garden Therapy blog reminded me of a guest blog I did for them on how to make a miniature patio for your garden.

~> Barb from the Our Fairfield Home & Garden blog is loving the fairy garden idea with a DIY Horseshoe Fairy Door Project, A Fire Pit Fairy Garden, Making Fairies from Natural Materials and How To Make Fairies for Free. But wait. There’s more. Here is her Rustic Cottage Getaway in a Terrarium.

Best selling Gardening in Miniature book

Click the picture to get your autographed copy from our online store.

~> Pam of The House of Hawthornes (it sounds so regal!) creates a Fairy Garden with a Circus Theme here and check out her complete tutorial on How to Make a Terrarium.

~> Melissa, The Empress of Dirt, (more royalty!) has a very popular and very cute blog on How to Make a Suitcase Fairy Garden.

~> Lynne from the Sensible Gardening blog made a fairy garden in a pan here.

~> It looks like Shelley from the Slow and Dipity blog had a ton of fun creating several mini gardens for her fairies.

~> And, the season is approaching: Halloween! Both of these gals are up in beautiful British Columbia. See Stephanie’s (Garden Therapy) Miniature Graveyard here and Kristin’s Halloween-Themed Miniature Garden from That Bloomin’ Garden blog. 

Now if you are serious about gardening in miniature, please join us here for your monthly Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter. It’s free and it’s fun! You’ll get a free PDF once you confirm your subscription through your email. Join us here.

Thank you for reading! Happy Summah!

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

 

 

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Miniaturizing Mulch for Miniature Gardens or Fairy Gardens

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo from TwoGreenThumbs.com

Miniaturizing Mulch for the Miniature or Fairy Garden

Here is a common question we received from a fellow miniature gardener the other day, “How do I reclaim a garden bed that is full of weeds? Do I use landscape fabric?”

My answer: “I would go the lasagna gardening method. After you weed it out as much as possible, place layers sturdy cardboard down and pile the compost on top it. The cardboard with biodegrade eventually and you’ll be left with a fun, workable garden.

That breathable landscape fabric is a nightmare to work with over the years. We inherited a garden with it and it’s gross – and it’s always there – and it doesn’t work. The weeds will grow on top of it and root into the fabric so when you go to pull the weed, the fabric comes with it. With the lasagna gardening method, you can plant on top of it right away. No waiting. We tried it with our miniature garden, now 5 years old, and layered on top of clay soil and grass. It worked like a charm.”

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But, don’t just take only my word on it. Here is a short video by a garden guru based in Ontario, Canada, Doug Green. He has also spent come quality time in the southern United States so he has a great perspective on all things garden. Doug Green, is an author and expert gardener of 40 years. He’s great to follow, we love and appreciate his frankness. His website is huge and chock-full of garden information, photos, and tips for all kinds of gardening.

And here is more information about mulching in miniature in an excerpt from the new best-selling pdf, Sophisticated

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.

Fairy Gardening: Advanced Techniques and Imaginings, about mulching in the miniature garden or fairy garden:

“Mulch is known to be a full-size solution for weed suppression. It works by blocking the sunlight from getting to the soil, preventing annual weed-seeds from germinating and slows down the growth of perennial weeds. However, seeds blown into the garden by the wind or dropped by birds can still germinate on top of the mulch, but can be pulled easily. Examples of organic mulches include bark mulch, compost, grass clippings, pine needles or nutshells. Inorganic mulches, (meaning they don’t break down,) are rocks, pebbles, crushed gravel and crushed glass. If you are creating the fairy garden for children to play in, stay away from the crushed gravel or glass and look for tumbled glass or pebbles instead.

Organic mulch is one that naturally feeds the garden soil, like sifted-bark or compost, you won’t have to clean it up or keep dealing with it when you plant or dig in the garden bed. But you will have to reapply each year at the very least. Here are some miniaturized suggestions for mulch, or rather, suggestions that can be miniaturized.

Bark mulch generally tends to be too coarse for our miniature purpose; it’s chunky mulch that literally doesn’t fit in the miniature fairy garden. The chunkiness of the bark simply overwhelms the miniature scale. If you do use this type of mulch, think about sifting it to get the biggest chunks out using a piece of wire mesh, or by spending a few minutes sorting it by hand if it is for a small fairy garden. For larger areas, consider compost instead. Dress the miniature garden beds with it to make the plants stand out nicely and it will feed the soil and the plants at the same time. “

Like this? Then you’ll love Sophisticated Fairy Gardening: Advanced Techniques and Imaginings, it’s an addendum to our Gardening in Miniature book.

And if you are serious about all things miniature garden? Join us for your free Mini Garden Gazette newsletter published monthly. Sign up here and you’ll get a free pdf once you confirm through your email.

Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.com

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10 Steps to Renovate a 10 Year Old Miniature Garden in 10 Minutes

 Miniature Garden Renovation by TwoGreenThumbs.com

10 Steps to Renovate a 10 Year Old Miniature Garden in 10 Minutes

“Don’t just sit there, grow a tree!” is my first thought whenever I see the box that’s been kicking around the office since

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

Pot finally cracked in July 2015.

2005. I’ve kept it for reference because this is – so far – the only tree seed that has worked for me. The side of the box says, “Guaranteed to Grow! Just add: sunshine, water & love.” For $4 I thought, “What the heck, I’m feeling reckless today, I’ll give it a try.” ;o) The seeds are from GrowATree.com and the website is still there – in the same condition it was in 2005 if you want to go back in time and see how the Internet looked back then. It’s Picea pungens ‘Glauca’ or Colorado blue spruce.

The seeds come from Bucksport, Maine. Apparently I lost the instructions that were included but I recall it said to mimic a forest floor when planting and nurturing them. It worked. Hover over the pictures in the collage to see the dates the photos were taken. I am missing a few photos – it was used in our A Garden for All Reasons at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in 2008. You can see it on our Flickr page in the front of the display with the black arbor in the back (the photo needs updating to fit in their new format.) And I know I took other shots of it too but they must have been a part of a hard drive crash a couple of years ago unfortunately.

Oh, and this lil’ garden was rejected from the Guinness Book of World Records. I submitted it as the world’s longest living and smallest miniature garden but it didn’t pass the criteria. I would have preferred a rejection letter too, as opposed to an email. Framing an email isn’t as dramatic. It’s still a record-breaker in our books though!

See our 10 minute renovation after the collage.

And just to note, I did nothing special in growing them. The main thing with such a small garden over 10 years is to (a) keep track of it and (b) to water it. Personally, I’m still surprised it’s still alive after a major house-move and three years of writing and promoting a book. I have Steve to thank for that!

How to Renovate a Tiny Miniature Garden

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

1. Take the pot off the rootball.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

2. Take all the accessories, the patio and stones out.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

3. Take the moss off the top of the soil.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

5. Gently peel away the roots. You’ll find them wrapped around the edge. Cut the long roots with a sharp pair of clean scissors.

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Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

6. Gently loosen or divide the trees to fit them into the new pot. The rule of thumb is to never take more than one third off at a time – this means roots and foliage.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

7. Fit the trees into the new pot gently. Arrange them like a forest, plant them off-center for more interest. Face the best side of the tree to the front. Trim off any lower branches that need it.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

8. Put the patio, pond back in. Fit the rocks in where the look natural.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

9. Plant the moss back in the gaps with the bare soil. The moss will help slow down the water evaporation. Trim the moss to clean it up, trim off any lower branches if needed.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

10. Water thoroughly until it comes out the bottom of the drainage hole. Fill in any gaps in the soil if needed. Spray off the patio, clean off the outside of the pot, fill the pool and your done.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on it for the rest of the dry summer months, and we’ll make sure it gets enough water in the winter – and we’ll keep it sheltered from freezing just to be safe. By next year, it should have fully recovered and will be hardier in the dry months as well as the colder months. Like this? We’re digging deeper and deeper into the hobby every week. If you are serious about miniature gardening, join us! Sign up here and confirm through your email.  And visit our online store here.   Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.com

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Keep Calm and Make a Miniature Garden

Keep Calm and Make a Miniature Garden

Keep Calm and Make a Miniature Garden

There will be a slight pause in the program as we put the final touches on the new members-only Miniature Garden Society website.

Interested? Your membership will not start until the website officially opens. Get on board today and join us now. We only have one beginning and you can be part of it. 

Here is more information and a list of all the perks – including a standing discount for any of our stores – and if you are aware of my work, you’ll know that there is a lot more coming. Join us here.

 

http://twogreenthumbs.com/Miniature_Garden_Society.html

 

 

 

 

Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.com

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How to Get the Garden Into Your Fairy Garden

Put the garden into your fairy garden and create enchantment at the same time.

How to Get the Garden Into Your Fairy Garden

So there is was, a huge box full of soil with toys scattered about, a plant in one corner and a house in the other. I looked up and took in the gorgeous view of Lake Washington.

Did she know who I was? Should I tell her?

I didn’t know what to say. The woman only knew I was into miniature gardening, she didn’t know my history nor my day-job.

Maybe I could switch the conversation to the sunset.

But I see it everywhere on the web these days. Boxes, wheelbarrows, pots, containers and even in-ground: fairy gardens without any sort of garden element, maybe a plant or two. Perhaps we should start calling them fairy sandboxes? Fairy soil-boxes?

You can get the garden into your fairy garden even if it’s in a pot. Here is a short visual essay, using fairy accessories, to show you how planting a few trees and shrubs for your fairies to hide in, can increase the enchantment dramatically.

Click the photos to enlarge them.

Tip 1: By using the accessories in the garden as you would in your full-sized garden, you can begin to sort out your garden rooms.

Tip 1: By using the accessories in the garden as you would in your full-sized garden, you can begin to sort out your garden rooms.

The little shrub on the left is a Duflon Fir. The tree on the right is a Majestic Japanese Holly.

(Garden at top: Elwood Cypresses with ground cover Thyme on the left and Cranesbill Flore Pleno on the right.)

Tip 2: Create garden beds like you do in full-sized gardening. Include plants with different heights and textures.

Tip 2: Create garden beds like you do in full-sized gardening. Include plants with different heights and textures.

The tree is Jervis Canada Hemlock.

Tip 3: Less is more. One idea at a time, one idea per pot.

Tip 3: Less is more. One idea at a time, one idea per pot. Keep it simple.

The tree is Nana Hinoki Cypress.

Tip 5: Let it grow. Give the miniature and dwarf trees a chance to grow in and up. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Tip 5: Let it grow. Give the miniature and dwarf trees a chance to grow in and up. It may take a few years, but you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. You can always start with bigger trees, but be prepared to pay dearly for them.

The tree in the back is Jean Iseli Hinoki Cypress (we don’t see that tree very much these days, the Nana Hinoki Cypress is very similar.) The bushes in the front are Podocarpus babies.

Tip 5: If you have a large container, create garden rooms by dividing up the space with garden beds or rockeries, like you would do in a full-sized garden.

Tip 5: If you have a large container, create garden rooms by dividing up the space with garden beds or rockeries, like you would do in a full-sized garden. Above, I made one side a realistic garden and the other side was very fairy.

This was an indoor garden I made for a Plow & Hearth store. I used Wilma Cypress and Variegated Boxwood trees, combined them with Dwarf Mondo Grass, Baby Tears and small ivy starts.

Tip 6: Make them work for it. We have a tiny secret garden behind this patio. Only the very observant see it.

Tip 6: Make them work for it. We have a tiny secret garden behind this patio. Only the very observant see it.

The tree is Jervis Canada Hemlock (can you tell it’s a favorite tree of mine? More coming in the fall.)

**Not all trees are available at all times. Please join our email list to get notifications when new and different trees arrive here.**

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

Our new eBook! For Advanced Fairy Gardeners only. Click the picture for more.

Want to know more about getting more garden into your fairy garden? Here is our new ebook, Sophisticated Fairy Gardening: Advanced Techniques and Imaginings. It’s an addendum to our Gardening in Miniature book – kind of like the missing chapter but a whole lot more.

Like this idea? We dig deeper than anyone into the miniature garden hobby. Join us for your free monthly Mini Garden Gazette newsletter. You’ll get a free PDF after confirming through your email. Join us here.

Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.com

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