Archive for Conifers

10 Steps to Renovate a 10 Year Old Miniature Garden in 10 Minutes

 Miniature Garden Renovation by TwoGreenThumbs.com

10 Steps to Renovate a 10 Year Old Miniature Garden in 10 Minutes

“Don’t just sit there, grow a tree!” is my first thought whenever I see the box that’s been kicking around the office since

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

Pot finally cracked in July 2015.

2005. I’ve kept it for reference because this is – so far – the only tree seed that has worked for me. The side of the box says, “Guaranteed to Grow! Just add: sunshine, water & love.” For $4 I thought, “What the heck, I’m feeling reckless today, I’ll give it a try.” ;o) The seeds are from GrowATree.com and the website is still there – in the same condition it was in 2005 if you want to go back in time and see how the Internet looked back then. It’s Picea pungens ‘Glauca’ or Colorado blue spruce.

The seeds come from Bucksport, Maine. Apparently I lost the instructions that were included but I recall it said to mimic a forest floor when planting and nurturing them. It worked. Hover over the pictures in the collage to see the dates the photos were taken. I am missing a few photos – it was used in our A Garden for All Reasons at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in 2008. You can see it on our Flickr page in the front of the display with the black arbor in the back (the photo needs updating to fit in their new format.) And I know I took other shots of it too but they must have been a part of a hard drive crash a couple of years ago unfortunately.

Oh, and this lil’ garden was rejected from the Guinness Book of World Records. I submitted it as the world’s longest living and smallest miniature garden but it didn’t pass the criteria. I would have preferred a rejection letter too, as opposed to an email. Framing an email isn’t as dramatic. It’s still a record-breaker in our books though!

See our 10 minute renovation after the collage.

And just to note, I did nothing special in growing them. The main thing with such a small garden over 10 years is to (a) keep track of it and (b) to water it. Personally, I’m still surprised it’s still alive after a major house-move and three years of writing and promoting a book. I have Steve to thank for that!

How to Renovate a Tiny Miniature Garden

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

1. Take the pot off the rootball.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

2. Take all the accessories, the patio and stones out.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

3. Take the moss off the top of the soil.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

5. Gently peel away the roots. You’ll find them wrapped around the edge. Cut the long roots with a sharp pair of clean scissors.

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Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

6. Gently loosen or divide the trees to fit them into the new pot. The rule of thumb is to never take more than one third off at a time – this means roots and foliage.

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7. Fit the trees into the new pot gently. Arrange them like a forest, plant them off-center for more interest. Face the best side of the tree to the front. Trim off any lower branches that need it.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

8. Put the patio, pond back in. Fit the rocks in where the look natural.

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

9. Plant the moss back in the gaps with the bare soil. The moss will help slow down the water evaporation. Trim the moss to clean it up, trim off any lower branches if needed.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Miniature Garden Renovation with TwoGreenThumbs.com

10. Water thoroughly until it comes out the bottom of the drainage hole. Fill in any gaps in the soil if needed. Spray off the patio, clean off the outside of the pot, fill the pool and your done.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on it for the rest of the dry summer months, and we’ll make sure it gets enough water in the winter – and we’ll keep it sheltered from freezing just to be safe. By next year, it should have fully recovered and will be hardier in the dry months as well as the colder months. Like this? We’re digging deeper and deeper into the hobby every week. If you are serious about miniature gardening, join us! Sign up here and confirm through your email.  And visit our online store here.   Keepin' it real in the miniature garden 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 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 years 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 planting pleasure.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Evolution of the Miniature Garden

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The new, tiny trees and shrubs add another layer of realism to the miniature garden. In this miniature broken pot garden, the Gemstone Hinoki helps anchor the height of the Sky Pencil Ilex and balance it with the cascading garden.

The Evolution of the Miniature Garden

Hey! Pssst! Wanna buy a forest?

We are enjoying the new miniature garden plant sizes now that we have the major nurseries across America growing smaller, to meet the needs of mini and fairy gardeners across the nation – and the world for that matter. A recent garden center trade magazine cited a new trend in smaller plants coming from Europe. Huh? What? It is SO already here, Buddy! Perhaps our gardens were too small for him to see – but wait – now the plants are getting even smaller. Lol!

If you loved our mini and dwarf conifers for your miniature or fairy gardens, you’ll love the new sizes of tree that are now in stock. Tiny trees and shrubs in 2 ¼” pots are quite possibly, the cutest plants on the planet. Here are a few of them that we’ve been working with over the last year – and yes, I will get back to that forest for sale.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

A tiny Jersey Jewel Japanese Holly is “tots adorbs” as the kids say these days, meaning totally adorable that is. (The shortened version must save some time? ;o) It is paired with Elfin Thyme. The pot is about 5″ wide.

Your Miniature Garden CenterIf you haven’t tried our miniature garden plants in your miniature, or fairy gardens yet, how about it? We have been growing with the same trees since we started professionally miniature gardening 15 years ago. We still amazed at how they maintain their small size but develop a majestic look in miniature. They truly are a delight to grow. Here are some previous posts where you can find more photos of our plants and trees after a couple/few years of growing:

Why Conifers Make Great Miniature Garden Trees

And one more here on the Tansu Japanese Cedar.

Here is one of our online miniature garden galleries on Flickr. After you scroll through and look at all the gardens, start over again and look at plants in the gardens right here.

I know, I’m from Seattle. What about different climates? Here is some information on miniature plants for Texas and Florida.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

This diminutive Nana Lutea Hinoki Cypress with the golden foliage picks up the tiny flower color of the budding Golden Divine Barberry. This pot is about 6″ wide.

And here is your forest! We have two different sets of six tiny trees that could easily be grown together to create a miniature magical forest. Oh my, I think I just inspired myself – I need to go make one now, that sounds like too much fun. Lol!

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

From lower left, clockwise: White Pygmy Sawara Cypress, Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Spruce, Miniature Juniper, Nana Lutea Hinoki Cypress, Valley Cushion Mugo Pine, Top Point White Cedar. As a group they are hardy to -10F, full sun, well-draining soil. Click the picture to see all the details.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Clockwise from lower left corner: Jersey Jewel Japanese Holly, Tansu Japanese Cedar, Chirimen Hinoki Cypress, Thoweil Hinoki Cypress, Dwarf Princess Elm, Tsukumo Sawara Cypress. The different textures of the conifers combined with the deciduous Princess Elm and the Jersey Jewel Holly has a ton of seasonal interest all year long. As a group, hardy to -10F, full sun. Click the picture to see all the details.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Aren’t they just the best? From left: a tiny Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Spruce, Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress, and Valley Cushion Mugo Pine that is so cute you will want to take it with you wherever you go. Lol! Click the picture to see all the details.

Geez, I’m like a kid in a candy store with these little guys! See all the sets and combinations here in our New and Back in Stock Department. Just a note that the 2 1/4″ conifers are just babies, and need protection from any extremes until they grow up a bit.

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter! Join us here.

In Seattle? Come and see me at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show on Wednesday, February 11th at 5pm at the DIY Stage! Admission is only $10 after 3pm and you are sure to find parking that day at that hour too. More info here.

Fairy Gardening with Two Green Thumbs.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Holiday Roundup on the Mini Garden Guru Blog

New Miniature Garden Merchandise!

Miniature Horse Head Wreaths

Horse head wreaths are the perfect compliment to a miniature Christmas tree. The main part of the head is from a Hinoki Cypress, the mane is from a dwarf Spruce. Click to enlarge. 

Holiday Roundup on the Mini Garden Guru Blog

Holy blogging Batman! Blogging for over 5 years, or over 300 blogs on one subject, really starts to add up. I need toJanit's Mini Garden Etsy Store be careful of duplicating my efforts because I often forget what I’ve done. Or, I need therapy for being a one-topic wonder for so long. Lol!

Here is a round-up of our holiday blogs about shopping, decorating, crafting, giving and sharing your miniature garden hobby with those that you love now, and throughout the year. I think you are like me and always want to make another miniature garden or explore another topic, technique or theme. When you use your hobby as a way to give very personalized gifts, you can start to open up more opportunities for exploring and creating – but, I’m repeating myself, aren’t I? Onward:

Miniature Horse Head Wreaths

Horse head wreath is less than 2″ tall. This one is made from Hinoki, Spruce and Juniper leaves, from our collection of miniature and dwarf conifers.

On Shopping:

Give your family and friends your time and attention by creating together! Make a bonding experience that will be remembered. There are several different kits now available from our main online store.

Top 5 Miniature Garden Kits to Make

9 Fantastic Gift Ideas for Your Miniature Gardener

How to Save Money, Have Fun and Give Great Gifts this Holiday

A Miniature Garden for Every Budget

Vote With Your Wallet This Holiday Season

Miniature Garden Gift Ideas

Decorating & Crafting:

Create a centerpiece or mantel display for your Holiday party or family dinner. Here’s a blog on how to bring your outdoor miniature garden inside for the day, here.

DIY Christmas Decor for the Miniature Garden

Have a Very Fairy Christmas Without the Frou Frou

Decorating Your Miniature Garden for the Holidays

Get Crafty for the Holidays

Living Miniature Wreaths

Living miniature wreaths from “real” dwarf and miniature conifers can easily last through the Season. It takes awhile for the leaves to turn – just like your full-sized wreath.

 Giving:

Miniature gardens are fun to give and fun to get. Don’t know what to give? Here’s our gift certificates on the front page of our online store here.

“The All Time Most Thoughtful and Incredibly Creative Gift of All Time”

How to Save Money and Have Fun this Holiday

Make Quick and Affordable Gifts

Miniature Garden Wreath

A living miniature wreath made from Hinoki, Spruce, Threadbranch Cypress, Sequoia leaves and moss. Harvested from our miniature and dwarf collection of conifers.

Sharing:

A few different blogs on sharing and spreading the joy of miniature gardening:

Sharing Your Miniature Garden Hobby

Miniature Garden News from Around the World

Miniature Gardening Cross the Pond and Comes Back Again

How to Change the World One Garden at a Time

Miniature wreath made with "real" juniper leaves.

Miniaturizing the full-size method of making living garland is way too fun. The styles and themes are plentiful, the task is quick and fun.

 

On Searching this Blog:

We are working on ways to reorganize this blog so YOU can find what you need to as well. In the meantime, try a couple of different keywords in the search bar at the right and type in different combinations of your topic or question. A word, or two words, usually work the best – I see there have been searches for full sentences and unless I’ve written that exact sentence, nothing will come up for you.

Well it has certainly been a whirlwind this year with the Gardening in Miniature book tour – and then recovering from the book tour! This next year promises to be more thrilling than last though, as all the ideas are still stockpiling here in my notebooks, my head and the studio shelves, begging for release. If you liked this blog, then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette newsletter released monthly. Join us here.

Find the plants, accessories and patio materials that we used in these photos here, in America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center store here.

A dog named Kitty photo bombing a product shoot.

Our dog, Kitty, is our favorite photo bomber. Lol! Click the picture to see her new line of merchandise!

 

Give the gift that can last a lifetime: the joy of miniature gardening!

 

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Miniature Halloween Gardening with Plow & Hearth

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Many are called but few are chosen: when I came across these baby snails during the photo shoot, I knew what I had to do. See the bigger one on his lap. Snails are not included. Lol!

Miniature Halloween Gardening with Plow & Hearth

Have a “little” fun in the miniature garden by mixing and matching Plow & Hearth’s fairy items and houses with their holiday accessories. In this blog today, we’ve used their houses in a couple of different gardens so you can get a better idea of what they look like. I’ve made notes about the plants and design throughout as well.

Click to enlarge the photos to have a better look.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

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– The backdrop of the Wilma Goldcrest cypress (aka Lemon Cypress) behind the Stucco Fairy Garden Cottage adds a splash of color in the winter months. If the temperature dips to freezing, I’ll have to cover them somehow, they are hardy to 0F.

– To make the hill, we mounded up the soil, planted the top then placed the stones and stairs into the side of the mound. We’re gradually adding little ground covers in between the stones to help hold the soil in place – a technique used in full-sized gardening here in Seattle to prevent mudslides.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Bird’s eye view so you can see what’s going on. 

– That “big” tree up on the hill is a Jervis Canada Hemlock. The ground cover that is cascading down the hill is a ground cover thyme.  The wee shrubs lining the fence on the right-hand side are Alpine Spireas that are getting ready to shed their leaves for the winter.

– We usually use our Mini Patio Mix Kit to lock in the stone sheets but you can use them without and fill in the gaps with more soil. In a climate like Seattle, moss will eventually find its way into the cracks if I can leave it alone for a few seasons.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

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– Get “matchy-matchy” with your patio and houses, it just looks better. See the photo before this one to compare – it looked alright until we switched houses and found that this combo was much prettier. Pick up the colors of the house when selecting your miniature patio materials.

– When placing your items in your miniature garden, place them as you would in your full-size garden to help the realism and the enchantment. Leave pathways clear for foot traffic and the door free of clutter to go in and out. Make your path and patios cohesive by creating them with the same stone, or at least the same color of stone. See our Patio and Path Department for more ideas.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The Thatched Fairy Cottage can look like a completely different house when turned at an angle. The sides of all the houses have cute details, windows and flower boxes.

– Since working with the Plow & Hearth miniature fairy garden houses and accessories in our new in-ground garden, I must point out that I have some neighbors walk by and don’t see these fun details at all – and they don’t even see me in the garden either  – and others just melt, point, giggle and say OMG alot. Lol!

– The Halloween Accessory Set from Plow & Hearth is very sturdy and staked with a rod to hold their place in the garden soil. Great for kids 6 and up, and perfect for “big” kids like you and me!

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

I had to try the baby snail on the ghost too. Cuteness abounds!

Like this? They you’ll love our monthly Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter delivered to thousands of fellow miniature gardeners throughout the world. Join us here by filling out the form and confirming through your email address.

Find your miniature garden trees, shrubs, plants and patio materials here, in your Miniature Garden Center.

Miniature Halloween Garden

 

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New Miniature Garden Trees are for Bonsai and Railroad Gardening Too

Miniature Garden Trees and Shrubs

White Bud Mugo Pine is a favorite for the miniature garden. This one has been groomed for a bonsai start but we can take advantage of that, and use it as a “big” miniature garden pine tree.

New Miniature Garden Trees for Bonsai and Railroad Gardening Too!

The fall shipment of miniature garden trees arrived this week and, as usual, I was chomping at the bit for the truck to arrive. I think it’s seeing them all at once that does it. The miniature and dwarf conifers come in an astounding number of colors, textures and personalities that is simply inspiring.

If you haven’t considered a conifer or dwarf tree for you miniature or fairy garden, please do. It will change the look of your miniature garden dramatically and make it look like a true garden in miniature. See our full line of miniature garden trees and plants here, there is something for almost every zone too.

New “Pre-Bonsai” Trees

In addition to our favorite miniature garden trees and shrubs we received a bunch of pre-bonsai plants too. While they are groomed to be bonsai’d, we know that we can use them in our miniature gardens as perfect “big” mini trees, trust that growth rate will be stable, and skip all the maintenance that comes with the art of bonsai. You can impress your friends AND your neighbors!

Keep them in shape by removing any new growth along the trunk and prune away any wayward top branches.

Click the photos to see more pictures and the growing details up in the store.

Shimpaku Chinese Juniper

Miniature Garden Trees and Shrubs

The Shimpaku Juniper before grooming and growing for a couple of years.

Pre-bonsai trees for miniature gardening

This Shimpaku Juniper after grooming and growing-in for 3 or 4 years. You can see why it’s prized by bonsai artists and desired by railroad gardeners. The peeling bark on the trunk adds wonderful detailing, they are hardy and drought tolerant too.

Valley Cushion Mugo Pine

Miniature and Dwarf Trees and Shrubs for the Miniature Gardeni

The Valley Cushion Mugo Pine is available as a cute little shrub too.

Miniature and Dwarf Trees and Shrubs for the Miniature Gardeni

A bigger Valley Cushion Mugo Pine groomed and grown in for about 3 or 4 years. It’s just too sweet to watch the wee trunk gradually lift the canopy off the ground.

Seiju Dwarf Lacebark Elm

Miniature Garden Trees and Shrubs

Before growing and grooming. You can see how delicate the trunk looks. If you start with young trees, you can have the pleasure of watching them grow up.

Miniature Garden Trees and Shrubs

The Seiju Lacebark Elm groomed for a few years by the grower. Maintain this look by pruning away any new growth along the trunk, and cut any wayward, top branches. In late winter, shear the canopy into shape by looking at the tree as a whole, instead of the individual branches.

See all the new trees and plants that arrived up in the store here. We’ve sorted them for you by zone here.

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A Little Miniature Gardening in the Big State of Texas

Miniature Gardening in Texas

Most conifers and young plants found in four-inch pots can be enjoyed in the miniature garden for years before they get too big. That is a Blue Star Juniper on the left, and the base of a Compress Juniper to the right of the bench – both would do well in the Houston climate.

A Little Miniature Gardening in the Big State of Texas

I was invited to do an interview for Your Livable Garden, the nation’s longest running landscape architecture radio show based in Houston, Texas. Your Miniature Garden CenterEverything is bigger in Texas and that includes miniature gardening – pardon the oxymoron. It remains in our top fives States for our online store sales and our Mini Garden Gazette sign-ups, and it has been for years.

So, it was about time to go digging deeper into what miniature garden plants would grow well in the area. Aside from the usual fall-back-plants for hot climates: sedums, cacti and carnivorous plants – all of which can lend interest to a miniature garden design – I wanted to find a better list of plants that can actually look like miniature versions of full-sized trees to help cinch the realism. And where’s there’s a will, there is a way.

Miniature Gardening in Texas

This is what the Blue Star Juniper looks like when found in found in four-inch pots.

How Did You Do That?

How did I find some ideas of what plants would work in Texas from my desk in Seattle? I first looked at a variety of trees and plants on a few websites and some on Pinterest (focusing only on specific boards titled “Plants for Houston.”) I looked for the similarities or varieties of the same plants that we have been growing with success for years in our miniature gardens here in Seattle. Once I saw a tree or ground cover that I recognized, I looked it up to make sure it fit into USDA Zone 9 and the AHS Heat Zone 9 – focusing on the Houston area where the show was based. The decisions came easy, it was either they matched or not.

Microclimates are Your Friends

The second place I looked was to my Fellow Miniature Gardeners. I looked up what plants my customers from Texas were ordering, double-checked some of the zones, and found out that some of these gals are pushing the zones – which really meant microclimates. Yay, more trees to choose from!

Microclimates are areas in your garden that differ from the regional zone that you are in. For example, if the Houston area is in USDA Zone 9, but your eastern side of your house is shaded by a big tree, you may have a microclimate that could be in Zone 8. That big tree will make air make the air cooler and the soil damper, allowing you to push your zone to accommodate more plants. Awnings, structures, denser trees or shrubs, or a big planter can create different microclimates in your garden, and help plants that need a little more protection from that harsh Texas summer sun. (Here is more information on the Texas’ microclimates from a gardener in San Antonio.)

 

Miniature Gardening in Texas

Baby boxwoods can be enjoyed while they are young. Pruning it back yearly can help slow down the growth rate and keep its bushy shape. This is the Justin Brouwers Boxwood.

And the Results are In!

Miniature Gardening with Janit CalvoBedding-Plants for USDA Zone 9

(Note that I may be off on the flowering times.)

Vinca minor – Can get aggressive. Trim ruthlessly or let it run behind your garden scene. Flowers in late spring, early summer.

Ajuga reptens – Can get aggressive in-ground but we have had terrific results in containers by trimming back the spring growth. Purple flowers in the summer. We like the ‘Chocolate Chip’ variety.

Liriope spicata – This Dwarf Lily Turf can grow tall in-ground after a few years, and spread somewhat fast. We have found it stays shorter in pots where the spreading can be controlled. There are other kinds of Liriope, look for the clumping kind, it’s better behaved.

Bellium minuta – Miniature Daisies are just the greatest. (We’ll have more in the store next week.)

Miniature Hostas – Love the shade. The miniatures are the cutest ever. Easy to grow. (The only reason we don’t grow them here in Seattle is the snails and slugs love them too.)

Groundcover Thymes – Different than the culinary Thyme and not edible. A pleasure to grow in the minature garden. Flowers in the summer.

Dwarf Mondo Grass – Another favorite. Good for indoors too.

Miniature Garden Trees and Shrubs for UDSA Zone 9

I used the botanical latin names because there are a number of varieties within each of these recommendations that will suit:Shop Two Green Thumbs

Euonymous japonicus microphylla – Look for the babies in four-inch pots as the shrubs can get really big. Start small can keep it small with yearly pruning to help slow-down the growth-rate.

Buxus microphylla – The English Boxwood is another favorite. As with the Euonymous, look for the young babies in four-inch pots and prune them to slow them down. See our selection of dwarf Boxwoods here.

Spirea japonica – Japanese Spireas are available in many different leaf-colors. Start with baby plants in four-inch pots and shear them by third after bloom and again in late winter. (Note that there is a gap in my spirea knowledge – I’m not sure what Spireas do in the winter in Texas. I need a teleporter. Lol!) See our Bullata Japanese Spirea here.

Juniper horizontalis & squamata – The Juniper horizontalis is the ground cover juniper that grows sideways. Great in-ground or in pots, just trim the runners (new growth) every spring and winter to slow them down. The Juniper squamata ‘Blue Star,’ for example, is a favorite with a mounding growth habit that can be shaped into a tree. See our miniature and dwarf Junipers here.

Miniature Gardening in Texas

The Juniper horizontalis, or ground cover Junipers, comes in many forms and colors. It really is a delight to grow.

You can start to see a pattern here with choosing young or baby trees with small leaves. If you can find them in four-inch pots, you can enjoy them for years in a miniature garden while watching it grow up. When it gets too big, you can start a “bigger” miniature garden, pass it on to another gardener or use it as in your full-sized garden bed.

And lastly, this is a sampling that other Texans have ordered from our online store where they must have microclimates. All of the plants listed below will need consistently damp soil (as in wrung-sponge-damp) and shade from that hot afternoon sun. Or, try them in containers that you can easily move around as the weather changes but, double-check to be sure that you can push the zones in your garden first.

– Dwarf and Miniature Hinoki Cypress

– Dwarf and Miniature Canada Hemlocks

– Dwarf and Miniature Spruce

– Jacquelline Hillier Elm (Available in Spring)

(The above list is based on the orders from our clients in Texas.)

Got a microclimate in your garden? See all of our “Zone 8 and Up” plants for miniature gardening here.

See all of our plants for all zones here.

We are just stocking up the online store this week and next to to get ready for the fall planting season! Want to be on the inside of the hobby? Join us for your FREE monthly Mini Garden Gazette newsletter. Sign up by using the form here.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

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