Archive for May, 2012

More From the Miniature Garden Archives

Miniature Garden Bowl

One of my first custom-made Miniature Gardens from 2002. Made for my fellow miniaturists, Dolly and Mike, for a gift for a family member out on the Oregon Coast. I hear it is still alive and doing well.

More From the Miniature Garden Archives

It’s a bad news, good news thing.

I’m still sorting through our photo archives for my upcoming book on Miniature Gardening by Timber Press – only to learn that my old iMac crunched half my archives. Thousands of original, high-resolution pictures that I have been stockpiling for the book have been greatly reduced in size and won’t be any good for print. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that I can easily share them online, with YOU! I’ve made some notes about the plants too:

Miniature Garden Bowl

Love the color scheme for this Miniature Garden. Tans, browns, greens and pinks make a pretty picture. This was made around 2003.

Miniature Garden Bowl

Clockwise from left to right: Elfin Thyme, Hobbit Dwarf Spruce (shrub), Cotoneaster dammeri ‘Tom Thumb’, Nana Gracilis Hinoki Cypress, Dwarf Lilyturf, Tricolor Stonecrop Sedum, Ogon Sedum, Elfin Thyme, Miniature Sweet Flag (grass), mini Hen and Chicks (small round plants.)

Miniature Garden Path

Having fun with the pot shapes. White Pymgy Sawara Cypress on the corners with White Thyme in the middle. Made around 2003.

Miniature Garden with Flamingo and Jean's Dilly Dwarf Spruce

Miniature Garden with Flamingo and Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Spruce. Love the pinks and browns. The stump is staked on a rod to hold its place in the soil. That’s a Wooley Thyme on the left, Platt’s Black Brass Buttons on the right.

The First Miniature Garden

The First Miniature Garden – the one that started it all. I brought this picture into Swanson’s Nursery where I was working at the time, and showed it to one of the more knowledgeable people that work there. She didn’t notice that it was only 10 1/2″ wide.

The First Miniature Garden

Close up of the First Miniature Garden. That spiky thing is a baby Monkey Puzzle Tree, the leafy, green thing in front of the grass is baby spinach. (Had to pull it out a couple of weeks later.) A baby Hen and Chick is in front, with saxifrage in the fore-ground.

The First Miniature Garden

The First Miniature Garden – the miniature garden pond made from a bonsai dish.

Miniature Garden Sculpture

Miniature Garden Sculpture, The Thinker, by Michelangelo, has since been discontinued. He was about 1 1/4″ tall. 

Mini Patio Mix Kit for your Miniature Patios and Pathways

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Miniature Gardening 104: How to Find the Plants

Miniature Garden from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show Container Display, in 2004.

Tripping through the photo archive: A Miniature Garden from the Northwest Flower and Garden Show Container Display, in 2004. Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Alberta Spruce in the middle, flanked by different Hinoki Cypress. That chartreuse grass is Miniature Sweet Flag. Alberta Spruces won’t grow well in hot/dry regions, they like their roots to stay cool.

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!

Miniature Gardening 104: How to Find the Plants

We’re finally getting back into our groove after a busy spring here at our studios in Seattle. The book is almost to the publisher’s…. almost! Steve is holding down the stores so I can get this together for you, this has been a very popular question this season, I thought to tackle it right away. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Here are the previous posts in this series, just in case you missed them:

 Miniature Gardening 101: The Dirt (All about soil.)

Miniature Gardening 102: Indoor vs. Outdoor Plants

Miniature Gardening 103: The Water

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A Tiny Miniature Garden: The Way to Oz

Tripping through the photo archives: A tiny Miniature Garden: The Way to Oz. With small, Roly-Poly Hen and Chicks. This size of mini garden make the PERFECT little hostess or thank you gift!

Miniature Gardening 104: How to Find the Plants

Miniature gardening is such a juicy idea, it can’t help but attract new gardeners to try it out and, in doing so, you can begin to learn about gardening in general. But where do you start?

Right here!

For Indoor Miniature Gardens

1. Choose the place where your miniature garden will “live.”

2. What kind of light does that spot get?

Bright, indirect light behind a sheer curtain? A full sun window sill?

3. Choose plants to suit those conditions. The soil and the water regime will depend upon what plants you would like to grow. See examples.

Baby Boxwood in the Miniature Garden

A Baby Boxwood in an Indoor Miniature Garden. Golden Baby tears on the left and Dwarf Mondo Grass on the right.

Example #1 – Small-leafed succulents love sharply drained soil because their roots don’t like to be wet all the time. Sharply draining soil, is the soil with white bits of vermiculite “well-peppered” throughout the mix. The Succulent’s soil will need to dry out between watering to prevent over-watering.

Example #2 – A baby English Boxwood Tree can be grown in regular potting soil, with a regular watering schedule. Let the soil dry out until wrung-sponge-damp in between waterings to prevent overwatering. (Stick your finger 1” down into the soil to test it.) The soil should not dry out completely.

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Miniature Garden In-ground

The dwarf Zmatlik Arborvitae is in the upper left corner, with small Hens and Chick at the base, clockwise to the right, Miniature Daisies, Elfin Thyme and Sedum lydium.

 For In-Ground Miniature Gardens

1. What kind of light does the spot get in spring and fall? Full sun? Part? Shade? In summer, the sun is highest and shines on all areas so it’s not an accurate time to call it.

2.  What kind of soil does that spot have? Is there soil? Soil is the rich, brown and full of composted bits of goodness that smells like the earth, dirt is grey and dead.

3. Is the soil moist or on the dry side?

4. What zone are you in? The USDA has figured this out for us, just plunk in your zip code to their interactive hardiness zone chart, and it will look it up for you. (All countries have their own hardiness zones, use Google Search to help you find yours.) Every plant has certain zones that they can be grown in. Banana Palm Trees can’t tolerate the winters in Wisconsin. Alberta Spruces won’t like the long, hot and dry summers in Texas.

5. Choose plants to suit those conditions.

Miniature Garden with a Mugo Pine for full sun.

Tripping through the photo archives: Miniature Garden with a Mugo Pine for full sun. The Mugos are great for containers or planted in the ground.

Example #1 – The dwarf Mugo Pines great for a full sun spot, like well-draining sole and prefer the soil just barely damp. Let the soil dry out to wrung-sponge-damp in between watering. (Stick your finger 1” down into the soil to test it.) The Mugos can tolerate dryness, but never for too long, nor too often.

Example #2 – Dwarf Canada Hemlocks of all varieties prefer a part shade spot with damp soil. Part shade includes the eastern side of the house and dappled shade too. Part shade helps the soil to remain damp as they do not like dry soil. (Some Hemlocks can take more sun in cooler climates but the soil really needs to stay consistently damp.)

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An old Miniature Garden with the Moonfrost Canada Hemlock

Tripping through the photo archives: An old Miniature Garden with the Moonfrost Canada Hemlock. This garden is over five old, the moss took over for the ground covers a couple years ago, it still looked rustic, so I left it alone.

Now Go Get Plants!

Source #1 – Your local, independent garden center or nursery will carry plants that you can use. If they don’t know about miniature gardening, ask for slow-growing plants, small leafed perennials,  low growing, dwarf, miniature, baby or young plants. Note that the words, ‘dwarf’ and ‘miniature’ refer to the growth rate, not the plant.

Also not that the garden department at the “big-box stores” won’t have half as much of a plant selection that your local, independent garden center will have. Call the garden center first to check – either way, for the new gardener, it will be well worth the drive and the effort to get to know them and their store.

Source #2 – From your favorite online Miniature Garden Center. We have them divided up into three main categories, Indoor, Outdoor Sun/Part Sun and Outdoor Shade/Part Shade. All our plant listings have the growth rates, zone information and growing details. In each plant listings, there is a little summary on why we like to grow them in our miniature gardens. We’ve been seriously growing miniature garden plants for over 11 years now and we have found a nice selection of reliable plants that don’t take a lot of attention to grow – just water how they like to be watered and a little love every now and then!

Snail at the Miniature Garden watering hole.

Tripping through the photo archives: You can lead a snail to water… Random acts of cuteness may appear in your miniature garden at any time! Have your camera ready to catch it at any time.

Get a little crafty with Two Green Thumbs! Maintenance

How to maintain the plants in your miniature garden will depend upon the plants you have chosen. Read the plant’s care info and stick to what it says.

Indoor: Note that your situation changes throughout the year: the sun beams sideways into the windows will scorch the leaves and forced-air heaters will dry out the soil faster in winter.

Outdoor In-Ground: The trees, shrubs and perennials will get established after a year of regular watering and, after that, all you have to do is water occasionally in the dry months and pull a weed or two. Divide the perennials every couple of years. Any annuals will need regular water. Keep fertilizing to a minimum – you don’t want it to grow fast.

Links to the plant listings in our online store:

Variegated English Boxwood

Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Spruce

Zmatlik Arborvitae

Miniature and Dwarf Mugo Pines
(Link goes to ‘Short Needle,’ look in same department for other Mugos that we have in stock.)

Miniature and Dwarf Canada Hemlocks
(Link goes to ‘Abbott’s Pygmy,’ look in same department for other Hemlocks that we have in stock.)

Miniature Daisies

Elfin Thyme

Miniature Gardening 105: Sizing Up Your Miniature Garden Accessories

See what other plants are up in our store here.

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New Miniature Garden Plants & Accessories for the New Hobby

Miniature Garden Pond

The new medium-sized pear shaped pond snuggled into the pot quickly and easily. Surround it with a few “boulders” to make it blend in.

Mini Garden News: New Plants, New Accessories for the New Hobby

Whew! There is nothing like a book deal to throw a wrench in your work week. I really hate when that happens! Lol!

Yeah, ya caught me – I didn’t have time to blog for weeks now and I do feel bad about it. Blog ideas have been piling up in my brain though so know that I have thought about you! We got a ton of stuff done, Steve and I, but to have a quiet moment to write a short blog? Whassatabout?

So, in an effort to make up for it, I have added some more brand-new-never-existed-before-ever miniature garden accessories, re-stocked a bunch of old favorite miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs in our store.

Miniature Garden Lagoon

I think I need a monkey for this Miniature Garden Lagoon.


Miniature Garden Pond

The new small-sized Miniature Garden Pond.

Pond-Up

Brand spankin’ new Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Ponds are modeled after the real thing. The ponds were designed by me (Janit) are made for the living miniature garden, but they can work for the dollhouse garden too. They come in three different sizes and can work with all different miniature scales.

The shapes are very fun to work with: a small kidney shape, the medium size is a pear-shape and the large one, pictured above in the tropical garden, we call the lagoon. Made of resin, the ponds are weatherproof, can hold water and install quickly and easily. The realism and detail are nicely done – a simple solution that looks great in any miniature garden situation.

Tansu Japanese Cedar

The Tansu Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Tansu’) is a favorite for the miniature garden with its delicate looking foliage and irregular shape. Perfect for a sunny spot with evenly damp soil.

Plant Favorites

Butter Ball Hinoki Cypress

The lacy, colorful foliage of the Butter Ball Hinoki Cypress.

There’s a ton of information out there these days, so you might want to rely on the tried and true to start your journey into the garden. We are restocked with a few of our trusted favorites – you’ll find something in there for all types of miniature gardens. The Blue Pygmy Juniper is terrific for sun and loves sharp draining soil, the Horsford Canada Hemlock is real cutie for tiny, shaded gardens with the cutest little trunk in the nursery. The Variegated Boxwood is perfect for indoors. You’ll find slow-growing dwarf Hinokis, Japanese Holly and dwarf Arborvitaes too.

Miniature Garden Rose Trellis

Miniature Garden Rose Trellis, design by Janit for the living miniature garden.


Miniature Garden Bean Pole

The Miniature Garden Bean Pole looks great with or without plants on it.

More New Designs

I love it when a plan comes together. Check out the new Rose Trellis and Bean Pole, the latest addition to the Two Green Thumbs line. Designed by me and are specifically made for the living miniature garden. Sturdy metal painted copper can be seen against the greens of the plants.

Ponds, horses, tiny trees and bean poles. Where else are you going to get this kind of news? ;o)

Checkout the rest of our New and Back-In-Stock Department in the online store here.

Join us for more miniature garden goodness here.

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