Miniature Garden Theme Focus: The Wizard of Oz

A Wizard of Oz miniature garden. It's still growing in and getting better and better each year.

A Wizard of Oz miniature garden. It’s still growing in and getting better and better each year.

Miniature Garden Theme Focus – The Wizard of Oz

August 22, 2009

I met Marie through the Northwest Flower and Garden Show here in Seattle about eight years ago. But, it was a couple of years later when she came up with the idea of creating a miniature garden with a Wizard of Oz theme in the parking strip in front of her house.

Looking for a place to start, I began by watching the movie.

I had to watch it from start to finish, just enjoy it first and then I was able to watch it again for the props, scenery and landmarks that could be worked into the garden. By going through the movie twice, it really let me focus the second time, as I wouldn’t get distracted by the wonderful story line and forget to scrutinize the props and the settings.

I went back to Marie and her garden plot and we decided to block off sections of the movie to create the garden as the story unfolded. It did help that the garden was one long plot – 6 feet wide by 20 feet long, perfect for any storyboard idea.

Here are the sections we came up with and the major components that made up each section:

The Munchkin Village – Dorothy’s landing.

Props – The yellow brick spiral. Dorothy’s fallen house. Ruby shoes.

Plants – Japanese Cedars, (Cryptomerias japonica), for their weird and bright colors. Groundcover Junipers, (Juniperus horizontalis), for more color. Brightly colored hens and chicks, (Sempervivens), miniature daisies (Bellium miniuta) and pink sea thrift (Armeria) where the flowers come up as pompoms out of the foliage.

Miniature stump and axe mark where Dorothy met the Tin Man.

Miniature stump and axe mark where Dorothy met the Tin Man.

Friendly Forest – Where Dorothy meets the Tin Man.

Props – Apple trees. Stump with an axe. Chopped wood pile. Yellow brick road.

Plants – Rock Garden Holly (Ilex crenata ‘Rock Garden’), with their red berries the look like mini apples. Groundcover Red Thyme (thymus coccineus) to fill in the understory.

We let the Brass Buttons and the Dwarf Mondo Grass take over the "cornfield" in the winter.

We let the Brass Buttons and the Dwarf Mondo Grass take over the “cornfield” in the winter.

Cornfield – Where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow.

Props – Broken fence. Post the scarecrow hangs on. Crow. Yellow brick road.

Plants – Bunny Tails (Lagurus ovatus), it’s an annual, but corn is an “annual” too and it looks good when it dries out in the fall.

Friendly Forest II – Where Dorothy meets the Lion.

Props – Boulders. Fallen logs. Stumps. Yellow brick road.

Plants – Dwarf Spruces (Picea glauca), Oriental Arborvitae (Thuja orientalis), Pine (Pinus mugo), Hemlocks (Tsuga Canadensis), Brass Buttons (Leptinella) pruned judiciously!

Poppy Field – This one was challenging, and I’m not sure if we have found the right plant to use yet. We are currently using the ground cover Red-orange Rock Rose (Cistus). Pruned judiciously.

Haunted Forest – Just downright spooky!

Props – Signs: “Haunted Forest” and “I’d turn back if I were you.” Yellow brick road.

Plants – Dwarf Spruces (Picea glauca ‘Jean’s Dilly’), Oriental Arborvitae (Thuja orientalis), Corokia – for it’s wicked look, Brass Buttons (Leptinella) pruned judiciously.

Emerald City – Oz.

Props – None. Wanted to mimic the building spires in the distance.

Plants – Compress Junipers (Juniperus communis ‘Compressa’), Spring Cream Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Spring Cream’), Sky Pencil Holly (Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’) chosen for their tall, column shape.

Back to Kansas: Mimicing farmer's fields with ground cover Thyme.

Back to Kansas: Mimicing farmer’s fields with ground cover Thyme.

Kansas – End of movie, back to the farms and fields of Kansas.

Props – Farm equipment, wheelbarrow, tractor, farm animals, pig, goat.

Plants – A variety of groundcover Thymes (Thymus) pruned into farmers fields.

With the wealth of different kinds of plants available, coupled with the variety of miniatures, I think it’s safe to say that just about any theme can be worked into a miniature garden. Break the idea down into sections and chose plants that relay the feeling, personality or structural elements. Then fill in with a few critical props to really bring it together.

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