Miniature Garden Workshop Tips

Miniature Garden Workshop Tips

For a successful miniature workshop – and with very little effort-  you can take care not to set your students up for failure with plants that work and pots that last.

Miniature Garden Workshop Tips

Spreading the joy of miniature gardening is just as much fun as creating one. With our beloved hobby travelling like wildfire throughout the country, and the world, there are many fellow miniature gardeners who have stepped up to teach it this year. Here are some pointers that we developed after teaching this hobby for the last decade.

Looking for a Miniature Garden class? – If you are looking for a class in your area, the first place to start is your local garden center or nursery. Give them a call, find them on Facebook or, better yet, go and visit them to see what’s going on and say hello.

Miniature Hobby Farm Garden

We punched a bunch of holes in the bottom of this galvanized tub before planting to give the excess water a place to go.

Here is a last-minute checklist for our fellow miniature gardeners who are conducting workshops and classes this spring and summer.

  • Group plants horticulturally to make it easy-peasy for your students to assemble their gardens. Put indoor plants together, outdoor plants together, full sun with full sun, etc. Group plants that like dry soil together – or moist soil together too. If the student doesn’t care about mixing up the plant’s needs in one pot, just make sure they know what they are getting. (A workaround is to keep the moisture-loving plants in the poly-pot and plant the whole thing, pot and all, into the miniature garden. If it’s an aggressive grower, cut out the bottom of the poly-pot before placing it in the miniature garden.)
  • Not all plants will make a great miniature garden. The satisfaction and reward of a miniature garden is to have it grow and weave together over several seasons, if not for years and years. If the student has to repot her “investment” in two months time and buy new plants – they will be disappointed and may not try again. Simply put, plants that stay small and grow slow are the best choices to start with. See what’s in our store for more examples here. Make sure new gardeners have the best leg-up with the right plants so they are satisfied in the long run – and they will come back for more and more fun because the miniature garden is so easy to maintain.

Ad-FallPlanting - 1

  • Gather a wide selection of containers if it’s an open class where students choose their own. Some may live in condos and want lightweight containers, while others may have a larger space to work with and want to plant a bigger miniature garden.
  • Choose pots or containers with a drainage hole. Just about any container or teacup can be drilled with the right drill and drill bit. Look for masonry drill bits for most Asian and Chinese pottery, for teacups and porcelain, look for porcelain tile.
    Miniature Garden in a barbecue

    Above photo is from 2013: I chose this “container” because it was new and, being a barbecue, it already had holes for drainage. My plants are true miniatures (Michelle Mugo Pine with Congested Ice Plant) and I know I can keep this together for years before it will need repotting. I shelter it from the hot, summer sun because it is metal. UPDATE – 2016: The Ice plant outgrew the pot last year. The Michelle Mugo Pine is still very happy in this wee bbq planter! 

    Don’t set your students up for failure by telling them that anything can be used for a miniature garden, closed containers simply will not work for everyone. Help your student’s success rate by providing a drilling service, or only recommending containers with drainage holes.

  • Give careful consideration of what you are recommending to plant in. Yes, that old drawer or broken pot may look cute for the first couple of months after the miniature garden is planted but, after a while, your still stuck with an old drawer or broken pot! As the miniature garden keeps growing more magical and fun throughout the seasons, you may regret not investing in a nice container that will last and not fall apart when moved. Note that baskets lined with plastic are temporary containers and will not last. I have found that poking holes in the plastic doesn’t work very well either if you want the garden to last.
  • Always choose organic potting soil for your miniature gardens. Stay away from any soil with extra fertilizer or water-retaining polymers, the plants simply don’t need it, it may burn the roots and nor do you want your miniature plants to grow fast. There is enough nutrients in a good-quality potting soil to last for up to two years.

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  • Recommend accessories that are weatherproof and/or are staked to hold their place in the soil. It is cute to add wee books, refreshments and tiny details but they will weather quickly and get lost in the garden – which is hard on some people’s budgets and their patience. Spending good money on miniatures that don’t last long is frustrating for the new miniature gardener. Put the focus on what will stand up to the weather for the more satisfaction.
  • Provide some snacks or refreshments during the workshop to keep everyone engaged. Miniature garden workshops can sometimes take up to four hours at times. By providing a little nourishment, you can avoid people having to leave early because they need food. Make sure to mention this in your flyer or ad, to let the people know. Better yet, team up with a local caterer and make it a luncheon-event. The students can eat while you teach, then plant afterwards.

Need to know how to build a miniature garden like a pro? Here is our complete instructions on how to create a miniature garden, it includes some in-ground tips and tricks, scale information and recommended plants to use.

Like this? You’ll like our Mini Garden Gazette – join us here for more fun in the miniature garden. 

Visit America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center, here: http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Book Cover - Low Res 008

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