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 for our miniature gardens 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 year’s 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 miniature 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.

http://www.shop.twogreenthumbs.com

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.

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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.

Shop by zone here.

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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.

http://www.shop.twogreenthumbs.com

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 Thumbs.com

http://www.shop.twogreenthumbs.com

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.

Want to get growing in-ground faster? Here is our Larger Trees for Larger Gardens

http://www.shop.twogreenthumbs.com

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.

http://www.shop.twogreenthumbs.com

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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5 Comments »

  1. Truly informative! Please could you do something like thus with only cacti and succulents?

    Like

  2. Dr. K said

    As always, your posts are full of great and, I must say, tempting info. But although it is 70 today, I fear one more bout of winter. But I am weeding the mini garden today just in case spring is truly here

    Like

  3. Mary O'Connor said

    While you can create Bonsai from dwarf or miniature trees, most are created from standard plants and it is with pruning, soil and care that they are trained to be Bonsai. Bonsai means tree in a tray.

    Like

    • Yes it does, Mary! Thank you! We have a ton of customers that use our dwarf and miniature trees for bonsai starts. They are well-rooted and high-quality trees and shrubs. With a little digging, you can see just how many plant names on our list can be successfully trained for bonsai. ;o)

      Like

  4. […] See more on miniature garden design and combining plants with texture and color too. […]

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