Archive for Conifers

How to Save Time and Money on Your Miniature Gardening

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Layer it. The Jacqueline Hillier Dwarf Elm is a great anchor tree for the miniature garden bed – you can easily plant under it as it gets older. That is a miniature Blue Planet Spruce in the back, left side. Sedum Angelina to the right and miniature daisies on the right. The pond is handmade – the best kind!

How to Save Time and Money on Your Miniature Gardening

Do you want to save some time and money? 

Do you want to have a successful miniature garden next summer too?

Did you know you can have BOTH?

  • Fact: Fall is the best time to plant your garden bed.
  • Fact: You can save time and money next summer by planting your garden right now.
  • Fact: The success rate for getting trees established in the garden bed is far greater in the autumn months than any other time of year.

(Images are from our Instagram feed. Follow the leader for more fun in the miniature garden, I’m under @theminigardener!)

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This miniature garden was sold around 2003 and lives on the Oregon coast. The couple who sought us out and bought it for their sister in law still keeps in touch with us. Apparently it is still alive and thriving. A testament to our true miniature garden trees, plants and shrubs!

Fall Planting Perks

Many people think spring is the best time to plant an in-ground miniature garden, but fall actually has many definite advantages. Fall planting is perfectly positioned in between the hot summer months and the cold winter season so any plant planted right now, will use this time to an advantage to get established in your garden bed. You can plant in-ground as long as the ground is not frozen.

You see, the plant’s roots still grow in temperatures 40° or above so, even though the temperatures might feel cool to you, the plant does not mind at all. During this time the root systems have a chance to develop and become established before winter. If you’re in a place where it doesn’t freeze, the roots will actually keep growing and establishing themselves to get ready for next spring.

When spring comes back, the new root system can fully support and take advantage of the flush of new growth. When the leaves start to bud and grow, the stronger roots are now able to tap in the reservoir of water on their own. You’ll save time because there is less maintenance to do, you’ll save money by lowering your water bill AND you will lose less plants to the whim of nature because they are already well-on-their way to becoming established. You can spend more time on creating and crafting the details of your miniature garden instead.

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Blue-colored shadows underneath the Golden Sprite Hinoki Cypress that’s about 9″ tall now. Our true miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs grow up to look like a majestic tree – in miniature! Why do you think we keep using them in our gardens? Because they can stay in the small scale for years and years…

Tips for your fall planting:

  1. Always invest in the best plant material as possible. High-quality trees and shrubs come with a well-developed root system that is ready to grow. Don’t get fooled by bargain plant sales – many of those plants have been fertilized consistently over the last few months and will crash when you plant them in your yard because you have no idea on the level of feeding they are use too. Do you always wonder why you easily loose plants from plant sales ALL the time? This is it. Word.

For example, Steve and I invested in a couple of cherry trees a few years back. We got them on sale – and it was the end of the sale – so we compromised and chose the best two out of four on the lot. We brought them home and planted them in our new garden about five years ago.  Well, this winter I’m definitely pulling both of them. They didn’t branch out as I expected. They did not produce any cherries – oh wait, I think I got one (1) cherry last year. This year, no cherries at all – none, nada, zilch, zippo. I even tried to prune them each year to attempt the shape them and increase the cherry production with disastrous results. After five years of trying to compromise with these bargain-sale trees, we ended up with a big huge waste of time and money. Had we stepped up and invested in decent high-quality trees to begin with, I would have cherry jam on my pantry shelf, and I would be looking forward to another cherry blossom show next spring.

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That’s a mugo pine on the left and a hemlock tree in the center. In the background on the right, is a wall of Monteray Cypress (a.k.a. Wilma, Goldcrest or Lemon Cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’)

 

2. High-quality trees and plants will reward you year after year by a behaving as they should. Take the time to find the best trees for your miniature gardening. Here are the questions that you need answers to in order to find the best plant for your gardens (- oh, and yes, we  answer them right in each listing in our online store!)

  • How do they grow: what shape they will grow up to be?
  • How much will they grow per year?
  • What do they need to stay happy and healthy in your miniature garden?
  • What are the water needs?
  • Do you know how to tell when to water so you don’t overwater or underwater??
  • Can it even grow in your area?

If you’re buying plants without answering these questions, you’re not taking advantage of our experience and expertise at our Miniature Garden Center, TwoGreenThumbs.com. All of our customers can get hands-on advice specific to your planting needs – just for being our customer! 

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From our Instagram feed. The miniature garden bed, full of texture and color, looks like a full-sized garden bed. How fun is that? The green lobe-shaped leaves are miniature daisies, about 1/2″ long. 

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!

 

3. Buy from a nursery that has fresh plant stock each season.  Many of the copy-cat online nurseries that attempt to specialize in true miniature and dwarf trees get their plant stock once a year: IN THE SPRING. That’s why you will see plants on sale right now, because they are leftovers. You may be getting a great bargain – but it’s not – that plant has been sitting on their store shelf for the last six months, in the hot weather, getting completely stressed out and is definitely root bound by now. Our trees and shrubs, and because we ONLY focus on miniature gardening, are FRESH each and every season. We are able to order in small batches from our high-quality grower to keep our inventory at the highest quality for YOU, our Fellow Miniature Gardener.

A wee bud on a dwarf fir is getting ready to burst. If you only plant in the spring, you'll miss the show that these plants put on!

A wee bud on a dwarf fir is getting ready to burst. If you only plant in the spring, you’ll miss the show and have to wait for another full year before they do it again!

On top of saving time and money by planting this fall, here are more great reasons:

  •  You don’t have to wait a year for results, enjoy the spring flush IN the season! If you plant your miniature garden now, you can enjoy the spring flush of growth at its prime. The lime-green buds that emerge from the tips of the miniature spruces, hemlocks and firs are so soft and bright, you’ll giggle with delight. The buds (called candles) of the wee mugo pines magically flush out in tiny, softer growth, you’ll wonder how they do that.
  • You can witness the spring with the deciduous trees too, (deciduous = lose their leaves in the fall) as the little baby leaves quietly unfurl on the small branches. The spring flush of growth is often so magical, you can see the leaves growing. So if you wait and plant it in the spring, you’ll miss it – have you will to wait a full year before experiencing the awesomeness of spring in your miniature garden.
  • You can appreciate the winter’s blush for months. Many of the conifer’s foliage change color in the colder temperatures and will give you a colorful show to enjoy in the winter months when you need it most. The miniature and dwarf hinoki cypress change to a wide variety of colors, plum, amber, purple and orange. The cryptomerias blush purple as do the junipers. The arborvitae turn a wonderful, solid amber color that looks great in the gray of winter. If you plant now you can appreciate this colorful wonder of nature for the winter THIS year. 
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Showtime! More winter bonuses by planting in the fall months: you get to see the entire cycle right now – no waiting another year to find out what you’ve missed! Above, the Pusch Dwarf Norway Spruce has cones from last year mixed with the new growth and emerging cones for a fantastic delightful experience.

So you don’t have to shut-down your miniature gardening just because winter is coming. You still have plenty of time to get your miniature garden or fairy garden ideas planted in the ground before it freezes.

See our plants by zone here.
See our plants by light here.

Remember that miniature gardening is, indeed, a season-less hobby because you can always, always, always plant a container garden at anytime of year.

More useful blogs:

Winterizing Your Miniature or Fairy Gardens
About getting your in-ground gardens ready for the winter.

Keep Gardening This Winter with Indoor Miniature Gardens
Includes dish gardening and terrarium information.

For the Love of Conifers: The Winter’s Blush
Dwarf and mini conifers change with the seasons too.

Winterizing Your Miniature Garden And Containers
A few tips on winterizing your containers from central Ontario – the land of icy tundra!

Like this? Well then join thousands of other like-minded miniature gardeners and sign up for the world’s ONLY regular miniature garden newsletter, The Mini Garden Gazette. It’s FREE and delivered straight to your inbox each Friday. Sign up here.

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How to Be a Better Gardener

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I found this photo from a 2009 blog post. This garden is about 2 or 3 years old here. See the same garden below, how it looks today. Click in to see what Hinoki Cypress are available now.

How to Be a Better Gardener

Every so often, when I jump on my high horse about NOT using fortified soil for miniature gardening, I feel like I am shouting in a vacuum. I mean, what’s a miniature gardener sitting at her desk in Seattle to do when we come up against a behemoth like Scott’s Miracle Gro’s and their crummy Potting Soil that kills our miniature garden plants and discourages people from gardening? They have to know that new gardeners will blame themselves for killing plants and may not try to grow anything ever again. It’s shameful.

So, I do what I normally do, I asked the Internet. Of course, I found out I wasn’t alone:

Consumer affairs gives Scott’s Miracle Gro Potting Soil 1 1/4 stars (out of 5) with 141 complaints to date.

Consumer reviews on Amazon.com for Miracle Grow Moisture Control Potting Mix, 87% of the reviews gives it one star out of five, probably because they can’t give it zero stars.

Good things come in small packages.The forums are full of way more complaints than not. Heartbreaking stories include using Miracle Gro Potting Soil to repot grandma’s 35-year-old plants and killing them within a couple of days. Other tragic tales include the new bags being filled with gnats and infesting homes and gardens. Scotts used to be a brand name that we can trust and it’s interesting to notice the more popular they get, the more complaints they get. And yet, they are advertising more, they are in more stores than ever AND they are in the back pockets of industry professionals, sponsoring them so they’ll be quiet, I bet.

It truly is the number one killer of our miniature garden trees and plants. I constantly get emails about dead or dying plants only to find out that they used Miracle Gro Potting Soil. It’s maddening to be able to offer the best quality plant material, only to have the customer use the wrong soil and kill them within days.

Did you know that fresh organic soil contains enough nutrients to sustain a miniature garden for at least 3 years? No need to fertilize so spend your money on a better-quality soil instead.

Now, if you do hear of any good reviews, it’s probably because it has been used for heavy-feeders, like annuals and vegetables. You will also noticed that the “good” reviews are only on the big-box-store websites, interestingly enough, like Walmart, Ace Hardware and Home Depot. Funny, huh?

But I would be very wary of using any chemicals on my veggies. And no, Miracle Gro Potting Soil is not organic. Here’s a page from the website listing the ingredients that go into “the perfect mix.” Once you click in, hit Command F to search the page for the keyword “organic.” You’ll find two at the bottom of the page directing you to their “organic and natural potting mix,” under the brand name Nature’s Care. (Ironically, I first read the website name as NatureScare.com.) BUT this soil STILL has the water-retaining polymers so how can it be completely organic and natural? Hmmm?

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The same Hinoki in the same pot, 7 years later. While some conifer lovers would think this appealing, for us miniature gardeners, it’s a great tree for a tire swing, birdhouse or treehouse. The patio is from a stone sheet and our Mini Patio Mix Kit – both are available in our online store. Click the pic to get visit!

We are being duped by their advertising and marketing claiming all these benefits. The professional Garden Writers Association has always been sponsored by Scotts (which is owned by Monsanto, btw) – which is why you won’t hear many other garden writers writing about this. My publisher strongly advised that I join this group, but I just couldn’t because it goes against my principles and I’ve since taken the hit professionally too. I’m still baffled by this lack of activism within the garden world. Heck, Hollywood celebrities are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in for our planet.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

So please ignore the huge Scotts promotions this season in the big-box-stores despite the rock-bottom prices. Walk past the pallets of Miracle Gro Potting Soil and look for an established organic alternative like Cedar Grove’s line of soils, for example

urlHere is a link to the USDA’s organic integrity database if you want to do any research for yourself.  There’s a search bar under the word operation that you can use to make it fast and easy.  Also look for the USDA organic status symbol on any packaging. Now there is a concern about anything being completely 100% organic, but at least this is a step in the right direction.

As with anything these days the more stuff it has in it, the more chemicals it’s “fortified” with, is not better.  Simplicity is better and organic is more in-tune with our beings and our souls, not to mention our health and the health of the planet – now isn’t that worth a couple of extra dollars?

If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for everything.

I’ll get off my soapbox now, thank you for reading.

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MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants Miniature Plants from Two Green Thumbs.com

An old Tompa Dwarf Norway Spruce that is now about 16 years old is STILL 10″ tall. The cone shape resembles an Alberta Spruce – but in miniature. I cleared away the bottom branches to make the shrub into a tree. Hardy to zone 3 (-40F), it’s tough and holds up well around kids and dogs, loves full sun and grows very slowly. For in ground or containers.

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants

This is a continuation of an earlier post, on miniature plants for miniature gardening, fairy gardening and/or railroad gardening. When I first started the search for plants that will work well in the miniature garden 16 years ago, I found a number of miniature and dwarf conifers that were perfect to use and sold as “railroad garden plants.” Since then, the gardening in miniature niche has grown slowly into a international pastime and the growers have responded to the demand – thankfully. But, the question remains, how do they age in a miniature garden? What do they look like after a few years? Here are more examples of how our favorite miniature and dwarf plants can grow into perfect majestic trees in miniature.

If you have been following us for a while you will recognize the Tompa Dwarf Spruce shown in the photograph above, as it looks today. It was planted around 2004, here it is in 20072010, 2011, 2014. (The garden is 12 years old, with one unnecessary repot, the tree is about 3 or 4 years old when we get them from the grower.) The flowers at the base are Ajuga reptens ‘Chocolate Chip’ or Chocolate Chip Bugleweed – that’s been in the pot with the Tompa for years, I just trim back the runners each spring.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

I think this photo was taken around 2010, just after we moved into our house. That is the same Ajuga planted at the base of the Tompa. And this was before I limbed-up the bottom branches to “show some leg.” :o)

Find It:
Tompa Dwarf Spruce
Bugleweed (Ajuga)
Cedar Trellis (made in the USA)
Park Bench
Terra Cotta Brick Sheets

 

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com.

A 6 or 7 year old Mugo pine stands about 5″ tall in our larger miniature garden. The Mugos are tough too. They hold up well around dogs and kids. Hardy to Zone 2 or -50F (burrrr!)  Drought tolerant when established in the garden bed and they are perfect for containers. Mugo pines can handle that hot afternoon sun but if it’s in a pot, don’t let the soil completely dry out.

 

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The Valley Cushion Mugo Pine has a spreading habit so the tree will stay very compact, low and flat, wider than tall. As the trunk lifts the canopy up off the ground, place smaller scaled miniature underneath it to make the Mugo appear huge. Click the photo to see more photos and care information.

Our Trees and Bonsai

Some of our trees come “pre-bonsai” and are grown specifically for that purpose, but they are PERFECT for our miniature gardening, especially in-ground where you need bigger trees for a more of a presence. Some use our regular (meaning, not “pre-bonsai”) trees and shrubs as bonsai starts too – but if you grow it in a miniature garden for a couple few years before “bonsai-ing it” (technical term ;o) you’ll have a much thicker trunk and branching system to start with.

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.MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

The growers are growing smaller. A response to the miniature garden and fairy garden trend. Use a few of the 2″ potted trees in the same miniature garden to create more of a presence. Planting the young trees together, (not touching though, let the air circulate in between them) when they are so young will help them through the extremes – they are still babies, after all. Okay, all together now, “Awwwwww…” Click the photo to see more.

 

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A young Thoweil Hinoki Cypress growing happily in the corner of our miniature in-ground garden. It’s in dappled shade, that is Baby Tears at the base of the tree. When the top foliage flushes out a little bit more, I’ll trim up the leaves at the bottom of the trunk and it will instantly look like a tree.

See other Hinoki trees in miniature here.

Find It:
Thoweil Hinoki Cypress
Baby Tears
Birdbath
Bench

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

I’m a bit biased, however, I love all the miniature and dwarf hinoki cypress, but I’m looking forward to watching this Thoweil grow up. It grows into a narrow, upright shape that will make a perfect anchor tree for the garden. Hinokis are hardy to zone 5 or -20F. This is the Thoweil Hinoki Cypress in a 4″ pot. The tree is 4 to 5″ tall here.

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MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com.

The tiny Thoweil is also available in a 2″ pot. Clean out any dead foliage from inside the tree when you see it. It is how the tree exfoliates and it needs your help to get rid of the dead stuff when the tree is young. Older Hinokis and conifers can get rid of this dieback naturally.

 

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

Another fun surprise as a great miniature garden tree. The Humpty Dumpty Dwarf Alberta Spruce is the real deal: a miniature version of the majestic Alberta Spruces in our forests all over the US and Canada. This one has been “limbed-up” to make it look more like a tree. The tree is almost 10″ tall here and is about 12 years old, I suspect. We’ve had it in this container for at least 8 years and when we get them from the grower they are about 4 years old. Click the pic to see more.

 

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

It’s charming in the 4″ pot. Hardy to zone 2 or -40F, sturdy and durable. Spruces are drought tolerant when established in the garden bed. Remember that plants are about 15 degrees LESS hardy when planted in pots.

Find It:
Humpty Dumpty Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Tricolor Sedum
Dog
Doghouse (comes with the food dish & rawhide ;o)
Bench
Basket

See more on miniature garden design and combining plants with texture and color too.

Want to dive deeper into this wonderfully creative hobby? Join us at the new Miniature Garden Society, a private members-only website that is full of everything miniature garden with a lot more to come! Learn if it is good fit for you here.

Join our email list here for a weekly dose of miniature garden with our Mini Garden Gazette delivered to your inbox at the end of each week!

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Troubleshooting Miniature Plants in the Miniature Garden

Ladybug in the Mini Garden

Jump on these “Kodak Moments” in the miniature garden. When you come across a photo opportunity, drop everything and get the camera. You’ll pat yourself on the back for it later.

Trying Something New in the Miniature Garden

“My plant is turning brown and getting leggy, it was fine before
I got hold of it, what am I doing wrong?”

It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out learning to garden, or if you’ve been gardening for twenty years, some plants can be tricky to learn how to grow. In our Miniature Garden Center, we normally test each plant for resilience, which is why you won’t see much changes in our core inventory of true miniature trees, shrubs and bedding plants.

We have a customer that buys 5 or 6 of each plant, knowing that she will lose a couple of them while learning what the plant Miniature Gardening with TwoGreenThumbs.comneeds. “One will die right away because I’ll try to grow it in the wrong place… “ She was quite funny and surprisingly quite serious. This is indeed extreme. The garden maxim, “Right plant, right place” helps tremendously!

But sometimes I adapt her point of view when I’m shopping for new plants I’ve never grown before. I’ll pick up at least three of the same plants – or I try to if my budget allows, and I do make sure I put the “right plant in the right place” and not force any plant to my bidding.

In other words, don’t get discouraged if you kill a plant. They don’t grow on trees – a good lot of them are trees! There are multitudes of microclimates throughout any region so you may have to try a couple of different situations to find out what the plant needs. And yes, it may discouraging but, out of your learning curve, you create opportunities!

I’ve written about how plants tell you when they are unhappy, so here’s a quick recap on some of the signs you’ll see from the plant and what the issues could be. Keep in mind these are sweeping generalities because we are not talking of the individual plant, just the issues.

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Light Issues

Snail in the miniature garden

A visitor in the miniature garden. He didn’t stay long, there wasn’t anything in this miniature garden that suited his tastes.

Leggy branches – The plant wants more light. Move closer to the light source or out in the sun more. Wait to see new growth at the crown of the plant (the base) before shearing back the leggy branches and then the plant should flush in nicely.

Dried tops of leaves – Too much light at once. The light has scorched the leaves of the plant. Move it away from the light or give it more shade. Wait for new growth before clipping off damaged leaves. Note that if you cut all the damaged leaves off without waiting for the plant to show you it is recovering by putting out new growth, you are cutting off its food source.

Water Issues

Soggy soil, black soil or soil is growing mold or moss – you are either watering too much or the pot doesn’t have a drainage hole. Back off the watering, let the soil dry out to barely damp, churn up top surface of the soil. Unless you’ve chosen water/moisture-loving plants, make sure the pot has a drainage hole.

Soil is crusty, peeling away from the side of the container – Not enough water. When soil dries out completely, the water rolls right off of it. Prevent this by churning up the top layer of the soil, place the pot in a bucket or similar container, water it thoroughly, letting the water drain out of the drainage hole.

Conifer Dieback in an Hinoki Cypress

Preventative Care: Check your miniature and dwarf conifers for “Conifer Dieback.” It’s how the little plants exfoliate. Stop and clean it out whenever you see it so the plant can breathe. If you put it off for another day, you will forget about it and it will be too late. (Speaking from experience!)

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

Soil Issues

Soil for Containers – Use potting soil only. Yes, I know your garden bed is full of soil but that’s different. Potting soil has certain things in the mix that are ideal for a contained environment. Garden soil will turn to mud in a pot. Stay away from Miracle-Gro soil or soil with fertilizers in them. They are supposedly best for vegetables or seasonal container – although I have’t heard many good things about that kind of soil, regardless what plants are used.

Soil for the garden beds – There are many different types of soil in the gardens across the world. Consult with a knowledgeable gardener or visit your local independent garden center in your area. Bring a sample with you for them to see. They will know exactly what you need – or don’t need.

White stuff on top of the soil or on the side of the pot – It’s a big word for the small stuff: efflorescence. It’s normally a build up of salts and other mild chemicals accumulated from the watering. It may be an issue for more sensitive plants but generally it’s harmless. You can scoop it up and throw it out or churn it back into the soil. If it appears on the sides for the pot or on the miniature patio, wipe it away as you see it because it will harden over time.

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All Issues

Miniature Garden Vignette

When the groundcovers start to invade your patio, clip the individual branches back, (as opposed to shearing them all at once,) to make it look more natural.

The internet has become a great resource for gardeners. You can literally type what you see in the search bar and you’ll find it quickly using the image search. I found a huge bug in the backyard last week, it was huge, (okay, it was huge by my wimpy standards) striped and, well, huge! So I typed, “big striped bug” in the search bar and there he was! A Lined June Beetle! Who woulda thought? Be sure to look at a couple of different “answers” or authority sites to verify the information is correct.

Another fantastic resource is your independent garden center. There is usually at least one walking plant encyclopedia working there – you know those brainiac people that know every plant, how it grows, what it needs and the history behind it? THOSE people are fantastic resources that can help and there’s a good bet they know exactly what you are talking about. Bring a photo with you or snip a sample branch or leaf off and seal it in a plastic bag to show them. Gardeners love to show off their plant knowledge so ask away!

So, the moral of this long blog post is that if you have a plant that is not working for your situation and your not able to adjust to save it within a reasonable time – do not fret! Every plant that you lose opens the door to trying another plant and, chances are it will be a better fit for you anyway!

 

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Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants

The mighty Tansu Japanese Cedar - or Cryptomeria japonica 'Tansu' - is a real charmer for the miniature garden. Provide evenly damp soil in a part shade/part sun spot and this little guy will constantly delight. Bronzes in winter. See the new 'Twinkle Toes' variety, now up in the store! The bench is about 1 1/2" tall.

The mighty Tansu Japanese Cedar – or Cryptomeria japonica ‘Tansu’ – is a real charmer for the miniature garden. Shown here, it’s about 18 years old, (they are 3 to 4 years old when we get them.) Provide evenly damp soil in a part shade/part sun spot and this little guy will constantly delight. Bronzes in winter. See below for the new ‘Twinkle Toes’ variety, now up in the store that grows even slower. The bench is about 1 1/2″ tall. That mat of ground cover below the tree is Platt’s Black Brass Buttons.

Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants

It’s time to show off some of the miniature garden trees and shrubs that have been growing in our miniature gardens. We are in Seattle, Zone 7, with very temperate winters with the occasional freezing. We use to have cooler summers, but last summer was the hottest/driest on record with high temperatures that lasted for months. Our miniature garden trees and shrubs came through like champions.

There is still plenty of time to get everything in the ground in your miniature garden before summer. Click into the photos or the links for more information on zones, care and maintenance for any of the plants. From the photo above, see the Tansu here. See the NEW Twinkle Toes here. See the Platt’s Black Brass Buttons here.

Stay tuned for more next week, there were too many miniature plants to include in just one post! Note that most of the plants shown in this blog post are outdoor plants. See our indoor options here.

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Oooh! I love how the camera picked up the rimmed branches of this old Nana Hinoki Cypress! The Hinoki’s are a favorite for the miniature garden, they come in all shapes, sizes and colors and they never disappoint. That is Dwarf Mondo Grass to the left and Miniature London Pride to the right of it beside the stone.

See all the Hinoki Cypress here. See the Dwarf Mondo Grass here and the Miniature London Pride here.

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The Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress is one of our faves. It turns greener in the part sun and bright gold in full sun. In winter it turns all sorts of ambers and purple if it’s cold enough. The branches can be trimmed to stay bushy, or let them flay-out to form a canopy. Miniature Daisies are at the base of the trunk.

See the Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress here. See the Miniature Daisies here.

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The is what the Fernspray Gold Hinoki looks like when you first get them. They all have a wee trunk underneath, trim away the lower branches to raise the canopy and make it more tree-like.

See the Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress here.

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Tiny cones are developing on the ends of an older Fernspray Cypress. These tiny cones may mature into teenie cypress cones (cute alert!) or they may slough off. Either way, it’s fun and interesting to watch these little plants grow up from being little baby plants to “big” trees in the miniature garden.

See the Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress here.

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This is an untrimmed Hinoki Cypress that has been left to grow on its own. I’ll go back into it and clean up some of the leggier branches to simplify the silhouette a bit. The tree is about 15 years old, the miniature garden is about 10 years old.

See all the Hinoki Cypress here.

Miniature Plants from Two Green Thumbs.com

Isn’t she lovely? Do you call your trees she or he? Lol! I’m smitten with the color of this new Cryptomeria japonica ‘Twinkle Toes!’ I suspect that it it grows similarly to the Tansu Japanese Cedar, but the flecks of yellow throughout the foliage twinkle in the sun, and it grows even slower, at 1″ to 3″ per year.

See the NEW Twinkle Toes here.

Miniature Plants from Two Green Thumbs.com

The limey-green foliage looks really delicate but it’s a very sturdy tree. The color turns bronze in the winter for more seasonal interest when you need it most.

See the Twinkle Toes Japanese Cedar here.

Like this? Want be the first to know of any new trees, plants and accessories that we find? Join us for your weekly dose of miniature gardening and get your Mini Garden Gazette delivered straight to your inbox! Join us here.

Been there, done that? Want to dig deeper into the hobby with a bunch of like-minded miniature gardeners from all over the world? We’re meeting at the NEW Miniature Garden Society members-only website. Find out more about what we are doing here.

 

http://twogreenthumbs.com/Miniature_Garden_Society.html

 

Miniature Gardening with TwoGreenThumbs.com

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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.

http://www.shop.twogreenthumbs.com

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.

http://www.shop.twogreenthumbs.com

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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VIDEO: How to Make a Real Garden in Miniature that Will Last

VIDEO: How to Make a Real Garden in Miniature that Will Last

Hey, fellow miniature gardeners, here’s a short video to show you how to build a miniature garden that will last for years. This is the same way I’ve been building my gardens since I began in 2001. Some of our miniature gardens have lasted over 10 years in the same pot with minimal maintenance.

Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.comThe heart of this project is choosing right plant for the right place, and planting true miniature or dwarf trees and shrubs. Pair this with slow-growing ground covers. We hope you enjoy it! If you do, please share it and give us a thumbs’ up – your vote is very appreciated!

The terms ‘miniature’ and ‘dwarf’ describe the growth rate, not the plant.
Miniature = 1″ per year or less
Dwarf = 1″ to 6″ per year

Shop for your trees and shrubs by light (indoor, sun, shade, etc.), click here.

Shop for your trees and shrubs by zone, click here.

For Experienced Miniature Gardeners: Need something different to grow this year? We know what we grow and how the tiny trees grow up. Let us know if you want some suggestions. Email us: Steve@TwoGreenThumbs.com.

For New Miniature Gardeners: Need help choosing the right plants? Please include:
– Your zip code
– Where are you planting?
– In-ground?  What light does the spot get? Full sun? Shade?
– In a container? Where is the container going to live? Indoors? Shade? Full sun?
– Email us: Steve@TwoGreenThumbs.com.

Let us know! We’re glad to help!

Are your serious about miniature gardening? Join us here for our new, weekly Mini Garden Gazette, click here.

VideoCover-HowTo

Miniature Gardening with TwoGreenThumbs.com

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