Archive for Fairy Gardening

Miniature Fairy Gardening : What They Won’t Tell You But I Will

TruthAboutMoss 1

Miniature Fairy Gardening : What They Won’t Tell You But I Will

Ugh. It’s a pet peeve of mine. I should be a consumer advocate. I just hate seeing people set up for failure – especially in our beloved miniature garden niche.

A customer emailed the other day and complained that her moss smelled musty. After a bit of digging, pun intended, I Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvofound out she used the new moss “sheets” to cover the ground in and around her plants. The moss was getting moldy because of the dampness of the soil in the living garden. Unfortunately, she was sold artificial moss for that specific purpose: to “grow” it in her fairy garden.

Ugh x 2. Really?

The fairy garden moss that is out on the market today will not work with live plants nor will it grow. It’s fake and should be used only for artificial scenes. It will suffocate and kill the soil, and any roots if it is used with real plants too. (Soil is alive, dirt is dead – but that is another blog post, right here.)

THIS includes any kind of preserved moss, moss sheets, moss clumps, Spanish moss, reindeer moss, whatever you want to call it. It will NOT grow in a living miniature nor any fairy garden.

And the funniest thing about this is: it’s expensive!

Ugh x 3!!

The Truth About Fairy Moss

Fake moss can’t replace the real thing. It will get musty and moldy in a real garden environment. Fake moss is at the top, the real moss is below on the left in sheet form, and in clumps on the right. Both live-moss samples we find on our property here in Seattle.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

AND THEN, I see videos of “professional designers” laying the moss sheets right on the soil! The “designer” then tucks the odd (living) plant in here and there, right into the fake moss! I wonder if she can hear me yelling at her from my desk in Seattle. Lol! Poor plants. That’s just not going to work out well at all. That silly moss will become a nice moldy mess because of the dampness of the living garden, and it will fade to brown quickly in the sun too.

Quick Moss Primer:

What is it then? These are my definitions of the different kinds of craft mosses. I’m 98% sure I have it correct but, they do such crazy stuff in the craft-supply world and in the gift industry, I’m leaving a small margin of error.

Reindeer Moss – Is really a lichen. It was alive at one point, but needs to be killed and preserved to sit on the big-box-store shelves. It comes in dark green, chartreuse green and shades of brown.

Moss Sheets – A certain kind of moss was killed and treated and glued to a plastic mesh, or burlap. It is perfectly dead too. There are “moss sheets” packs that aren’t glued down as well, that can be ripped into tinier pieces for your artificial garden projects.

Mood Moss – An anomaly. Lol! I don’t know what it is made of but it is not moss. And, what made it moody? It didn’t get a seat on the bus this morning on the way to work? It didn’t have a date for Friday night? :o)

Spanish Moss – It’s not a moss either, it’s a bromeliad, Tillandsia usneoides. If you are plucking this off the trees down in the southern states, put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to de-bug it. The Spanish Moss you find in stores is preserved and very dead too.

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Living Moss Rules: 

  • If you want moss in your living miniature garden, stick with real moss. 
  • If you want moss, you need the correct environment for it to grow it in which is difficult to replicate if it doesn’t happen naturally.
  • If you want moss to grow on rocks, you need to find moss that grows on rocks or pavement.
  • If you want moss to grow on the soil, you need to find moss that grows on the soil.
  • Moss needs light and water too.
  • DIGGING & HARVESTING MOSS FROM PUBLIC LANDS AND FORESTS IS VERY, VERY WRONG. Natural-growing moss is part of the eco-system and if you take away one part of the system, the other parts will suffer and/or fail. Please harvest responsibly or… 

Here are Some Real Moss Resources:

Here is our moss guru, the indelible David Spain with his great (and funny!) website on everything mossy: https://www.mossandstonegardens.com/

Here is our moss for sale that we cultivate here on our property, 3 different types (or stages) of growth. Only available in the winter months. Moss does go dormant in the dry, summer months so if you’re searching for our moss in the dormant months, please come back later! :o)

And leave that fake moss for your other crafty projects! Make a purse or hat for Mom’s Day, or a tie for Father’s Day.

Like this? Want to know more about miniature and fairy gardening from people who will tell you straight? Join us here for your weekly Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter!

The Truth About Fairy Moss

You can tell it is fake by looking at the backside. If it is not soil – it is fake.

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!

The Truth About Fairy Moss

Not convinced yet? Steve thought it was dried moss until I showed him the inside. Rip it open and you’ll see the fibers.

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

Our new eBook raises the bar on fairy gardening. Get your copy today, click the picture to go to our online store!

Your Miniature Garden Center

 

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No Room for Miniature Gardening at the Big Northwest Flower & Garden Show?

A Fairy Garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

A fairy garden made by the garden designer’s daughter at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

No Room for Miniature Gardening at the Big Northwest Flower & Garden Show?

Well, a fairy garden made it into one of the big display gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show this year – that’s something at least. There were a couple of booths where you could buy some fairy-wares, but there were were no miniatures for miniature gardening. Really? (What’s the difference? See here.)

Ad-GardeninFairyGardenWhere are the Miniature Gardens?

We brought our miniature gardens to the second largest garden show in the country, held every February here in Seattle, for ten years straight. I think our last display was in 2014 that capped the 10-year run on our creative displays promoting the new hobby. There was always a crowd around our exhibits taking in the details and snapping photos – it was always well-received with the public reassurring me that they always looked for it each year.

So, when the Northwest Flower and Garden Show changed ownership in 2013 the place where we set up our miniature gardens changed too. The configuration of our usual exhibit space on the skybridge became a little too big for this miniature gardener. When I asked, and I’ve asked every year, if I could get a spot for a miniature garden display, the responses always, “We are booked, there is no more room.”

There is no room for miniature gardening at the second largest garden show in the country. 

Lol!

Even Swanson’s Nursery, the place where I had my big “Aha Moment” when the universe blessed me with the idea, had only a few things for fairy gardening.

Oh, the joy! THE JOY of bringing something new to the marketplace! AWESOME! Lol!

At the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

There were tiny gnomes tucked here and there throughout one of the exhibits

Give them the benefit of the doubt? Maybe “what we have here failure to communicate?”

But, you see, I was hoping that if I backed-off, other people might come forward and display their miniature gardens, but that hasn’t happened yet either. So I guess I’m going to have to do something about this.

SO, WHADDAYA THINK:

Would YOU want to bring one of YOUR miniature gardens to show at this show?  I can see it working like any other club where we all take turns looking after the display in exchange for a ticket to the show.

Even though it was a fairy garden in that big garden display this year, it still got a lot of attention and there was always a crowd around it taking pictures…

Let me know what you think in the comments below! If there is enough interest, we can make something fun happen but we’ll need to act early and see if we can “make” some room for the biggest and newest garden niche. :o)

Join us for the world’s only miniature garden newsletter, The Mini Garden Gazette, here.

At the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Steve and I finally got Gardeners of the Year!! Yay!!

HowTo-SpruceMG-12text

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Growing, Evolving & Updating: Miniature Gardens vs. Fairy Gardens – What is the Difference?

Fairy door and windows.

Not a miniature garden but very cute! From the “Our Favorite Miniature Gardens” – and old album from HGTV.com

Miniature Gardens vs. Fairy Gardens – What is the Difference?

This is an update to a blog that I published on the difference between miniature gardening and fairy gardening about 6 1/2 years ago. 

I opened up a little can of worms the other day on our Facebook page.

Thankfully, I’m a little hardcore when it comes to gardening and I like worms.

Fairy Gardening with Two Green Thumbs.comI had created a post for our Facebook page that linked to a series of fairy gardens on HGTV.com (link has been changed) and suggested that they should start hanging out with us “real miniature gardeners.”

I must admit, that was a bit hasty in retrospect, but I didn’t mean to offend anyone so here’s an explanation of where that comment came from.

The first picture in the album was the one shown above, with a couple of windows and a door nailed to a tree with a fairy in front of it. Inside the album, however, there were a couple of pictures that were very pretty little fairy gardens, and pictures of a fairy house and a gnome house – but they were all fairy gardens, not miniature gardens. HGTV had called them miniature gardens – thus the comment “that they should start hanging out with us ‘real miniature gardeners.'”

A very pretty little Fairy Garden

From the HGTV.com album. Fairy gardens are a type of miniature garden and if there is a fairy in it, then the word ‘fairy’ belongs in the name.

“Why?” asked Facebook follower Patti Sherwood, the founder and leader of the Miniature and Fairy Garden forum on Garden Share.com (This forum appears to be dead now.) “… because I truly believe that every attempt at creating a garden of any kind should be applauded and not criticized.”

That is STILL a great question, Patti.

But I felt like Martha Stewart. She is always made fun of because of her quest for excellence and perfection. But, you know what? She raised our game. Martha made us want for a better home and a better life through the domestic arts. Heck, we didn’t even call it “domestic arts” until she did! It was called housework and cooking. How unglamorous… until Martha  came along and redefined it for us.

Yes, I think every attempt at gardening should be applauded, especially because plants help the air, reduce our stress, help the environment, and add comfort visually and emotionally.

But, promoting any type of gardening is not what I do. My focus is living miniature gardening.Janit's Mini Garden Etsy Store

“Lettuce define our terms.”
              – Kermit the Frog

 

A “Little” History

The term ‘miniature garden’ used to be an all-encompassing phrase for any small sized garden, living or artificial. It could be as big as a
small backyard or as small as a thimble-sized terrarium. Dish gardens, bonsai, penjing, rock gardening, railroad gardening, gnome gardening, tray gardening, windowsill gardening, teacup gardening, terrariums, vivariums and Wardian cases (I’ve probably missed some.) were all called miniature gardening before the miniature garden hobby took off. Now, the terms have officially changed.

So here is the definition of miniature gardening.

And yes, it is my own definition, I can not think of who else would have the authority and perspective to define it so I’ll claim it. You’ll now find this definition on many websites.

Living Miniature Gardens

Living Miniature Gardens include plants, patio/paths and an accessory all in scale with one another.

Definition: A miniature garden is the perfect blend of tiny trees, plants, hardscaping and garden accessories that are in scale with one another to create a lasting, living garden scene or vignette. Miniature gardens are gardens in miniature.

That’s it, right there.

And as a leader and a professional (like HGTV.com) I feel it is part of my job to bring out the best miniature gardener in everybody.

So, when one is adding a fairy figure to a bunch of plants and calling it a miniature garden, that isn’t right, it is a fairy garden.

A window and door hammered onto a tree is not a miniature garden. It could lead to one – but I would be hard-pressed to even call it a garden. Where are the plants?

A sign propped up in the corner with a fairy a pebble path is a fairy garden, not a “miniature garden” even though it is cute as a button.

And the “Our Favorite Miniature Gardens” on the HGTV.com site was an album of fairy gardens.

The Big Boys Aren’t Getting it Right

Best selling Gardening in Miniature book

We wrote the book on it.

It’s interesting to note that these types of big “garden” websites seem to not really care about being precise nor do they seem to care about teaching the right things to their viewers/readers.

I found another great example of this from the Better Homes and Gardens website recently, where they called a planted jello-mould a ‘terrarium’ and proceeded to plant up a dish garden incorrectly, (the charcoal layer is a filter and goes on top of the gravel,) called it a bundt pan, and used plants that have completely different watering and light needs – THEN they put a pebble path and a wee bench in it, technically making it a miniature garden. It is SO not a terrarium, it isn’t even funnySee it here.

I was a bit floored after viewing so I posted it in one of my independent garden center forums and asked if this type of information should be corrected by us, the professional gardeners in the industry. I had several store owners chime-in and basically said, “So what? It’s cute and it will sell fast. They’ll have to come back and buy more plants!” 

Oh. Dear. I was under the impression that customers are people that trust independent shop owners to sell them the right solutions that will work – not die. If a customer just wants to buy plants from an untrustworthy source that will die, that’s what big-box stores are for. :o)

So it seems that some store owners just want sell you anything and these big websites just want the traffic for their advertising revenue. BUT why they mis-inform their customers/readers leaves me very perplexed when it is just as easy to create and teach proper content?

Gee, I guess I’ve been doing it all wrong all these years, but at least I can sleep at night. Please enjoy our ad-free website and online store where we care about our customers, the information and the products we sell ~> ONLY at TwoGreenThumbs.com apparently!

What do you think? Am I being too picky about nomenclature? Leave a comment below about my current definition of what we do here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center and help us define what we do so we can continue to share, enjoy and create living miniature gardens.

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

Our new eBook! For Advanced Fairy Gardeners only. It’s an addendum to our Gardening in Miniature book. Click the picture for more.

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Faith, Hope and Pixie Dust: Miniature Gardening with Disney

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Faith, Hope and Pixie Dust: Miniature Gardening with Disney

[Updated from November, 2010.] A trip to the toy store the other day to lurk for miniature garden ideas instigated a trip to the video store to rent the latest fairy movie from Disney, Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue. It’s all in a day’s work here at America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center.

You bet I watched it  – and no, I don’t have children, nor do I have a child in my life that I could borrow for the excuse to watch it. I just did.

Oh, you’re doing it again, aren’t you? You’re laughing at me!

Now this is the kind of invaluable market research that is part of my job as leader of the hobby, researcher of everything mini garden and owner of the world’s only Miniature Garden Center dedicated to gardening in miniature. It’s this is the level of sacrifice

;o)

Nah, really, I just wanted to see if there were any cute ideas I can share and, never-to-be-disappointed-by-Disney, there were more than a few new ideas that you can put in your bag of tricks the next time the kids or grand kids want to get miniature gardening.

Miniature Fairy Garden

Get the kid’s imaginations working with some hands-on fairy fun and magic in the miniature garden.

Fairy Origins and Lore via Disney

– Each time a baby laughs for the very first time, a fairy is born. This is called their Arrival Day, similar to our Birthdays. Wait. Did I hear a giggle?

Disney latest line of fairy toys can easily be used in the miniature garden.

Disney latest line of fairy toys can easily be used in the miniature garden.

– Fairies are from Pixie Hollow and each fairy has a different purpose. They come to the “mainland” to help with the change of the seasons by coloring the flowers in the spring, they help pollinate and tend to the gardens and crops in the summertime, paint the leaves in the fall and make icicles and snowflakes in the winter. Just place what they do before the word fairy and you can create any character for your own purpose. Examples include, “Wind Fairy, Pumpkin Fairy, Dog Fairy, Spruce Fairy, etc.

– Fairies are about 5” tall and are dressed in anything natural that usually illustrate their purpose. Flower fairies wear petals and leaves, the pumpkin fairies wear the pumpkin and the wind fairies… huh? Wait. Are they naked? Lol!

– The fairies help to put the hibernating animals to sleep in the fall or to wake them up in the spring. I wish they could do that for me when I can’t sleep at night. Oh, and they also take care of wounded animals everywhere.

– They paint the stripes on bumblebees and design the patterns on butterflies. Awesome.

– They use fireflies as flashlights. When you see a firefly, it is really fairy flying around.

– Male fairies are called Sparrowmen. They look like elves with wings and acorn hats. I love that name!

A pretty fairy in the mini garden.

A pretty fairy in the mini garden.

Points of Attraction

– Fairies love shiny objects just like me. Place a small mirror or something shiny in the garden to attract them – or me. Lol!

– They sometime use buttons as stepping-stones to lead the fairies to your fairy house. If you do use buttons, please don’t relay on your fairy to keep them in place. Instead, use our Mini Patio Mix Kit. It’s easy and fun to use.

– Create a wee leaf-plate for the “fairy offering” to help lure them into your garden. Fairies eat fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and bread. Place a wee snack as an offering and see if they take you up on it.

– Fairies smell slightly like cinnamon. If you catch a whiff, there is a fairy nearby but not the fairies are still not edible.

– They use mint leaves as a toothbrush and pine needle combs. They use cotton balls as pillows and leaves as blankets. Fairies prefer the natural house and lean-to’s so they can go inside and see out the windows.

If you are NOT going to see the movie, here’s a synopsis:

The mAd-Fairyovie was very fun in typical Disney fashion. The only characters are the Dad, the daughter and the fairies. The Dad is very pre-occupied with his work collecting, studying and mounting bugs and butterflies, which is completely horrific for a fairy to see! The daughter catches a fairy by accident (Tinkerbell) and they bond. Dad eventually finds out, catches a fairy and rushes to expose his find to the world. Just before it is too late, he is swayed when he sees his daughter flying with the fairies, pleading for the release of her friend. The fairies befriend the Dad and, with a heavy dose of pixie dust, make him fly too. I love the end where the Dad, daughter and all the fairies are all hanging out spending quality time together.

Checkout your local toy store for a number of different fairy figures to use in the miniature garden that are child-safe, washable and durable. Introduce fun and magic to the children while you still can.

Sign up to be on my mailing list to stay inspired here.

Like this? Please visit the Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center here. We appreciate your support to keep us going and we specialize in superior, personalized customer service!

See more:
Whimsical Fairy Swing DIY
About Miniature Fairy Garden Moss
Declutter Your Fairy Garden 

Checkout Disney’s wonderfully Interactive Pixie Hollow Website here.

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

NEW LOW PRICE!! Click the Picture to read the intro! An expert view on fairy gardening and how to make them look authentic in your miniature garden.

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What’s New in the Big-Box Stores for Fairy Gardening and Miniature Gardening for 2017?

What’s New in the Big-Box Stores for Fairy Gardening and Miniature Gardening for 2017?

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.comWe have hobbies to escape, to transport us out of our everyday lives, to get purposefully lost in the details and in the doing. This past year we’ve watched our miniature garden hobby grow even further and take root in more hearts than ever as it keeps spreading throughout the world. Needless to say, it’s been very interesting to watch it grow from where we sit, from selling it in street markets at the turn of the century, to a worldwide trend-turned-hobby as we see today.

We’ve also watched many small businesses develop around the hobby – and now it’s grown into the mainstream where it needs to grow so everyone can learn about miniature gardening. While it is our mission to make our hobby as well-known as knitting – and seeing the idea in the big-box stores is really awesome – but those corporate powers that be should have asked for “little” help, imho.

Needless to say we did see this coming, like all trends that find their way to get mass-produced in China without regard to the nuances of the hobby. It started with Hobby lobby a couple of years ago as they took the lead from the independent garden centers who loved it as a new way for their customers to grow. As the miniature garden idea spread it was inevitable that the large, corporate craft and hobby stores would begin to produce their own products that catered to the hobby. And sadly, some of the items have been blatantly copied from smaller companies and ourselves, reproduced in China by people without conscience or ethics. But it’s just business, right?  

Big Corps and Little Gardens

Yes it in english too! :o) Click the picture to see it in our online store or find it on Amazon at the link below!

Yes it in english too! :o) Our Gardening in Miniature book is available wherever books are sold. Click the picture to see it in our online store or find it on Amazon wherever you are located!

What the big corporations and gift manufacturers don’t seem to do is to consult with anyone directly related to the trend before taking an idea to China – it surely doesn’t look like they did. (It doesn’t look like anyone does!) I’m not sure if anyone at Michael’s Crafts or JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts was actually a miniature gardener or a fairy gardener while they where brainstorming their new lines of miniatures for the hobby – and that shows. AND it looks like they just copied what the other fairy suppliers copied with no consideration for the end user -> YOU! (There’s my consumer advocate side again!)

So here’s a little insight in a quick video of what is out there this season so you can see what is up, as well as how you can use it – or can’t use it – in your own fairy garden or miniature garden work. Caveat emptor : a number of the items are not weatherproof, will melt in the rain, and the color will fade in the sun quickly. 

Making Miniature Magic

If you are serious about gardening in miniature and recognize the joy, depth and creativity it can bring to your own world, join us at the Miniature Garden Society! We have many projects to help you stay creative all year ‘round, plus all the information, insight and advice that you need to grow a successful miniature garden wherever you are. To learn more about it, visit here.

Miniature Garden Gift Ideas from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

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VIDEO: Miniature Garden Ideas for Christmas & Winter Holidays

VIDEO: Miniature Garden Ideas for Christmas & Winter Holidays

Ah! The Big Day is almost upon us! I can feel my tension mounting as my “Oh, I want to do that too!” list keeps growing and growing. If you’re like me, sometimes it takes a while to get my momentum up to bake & decorate and then all of a sudden I become Santa’s right-hand woman. Hear me Ho-Ho-Ho. Lol!

So, here is a video packed with a bunch of miniature garden ideas to help you through the last week because you KNOW how much fun it is to decorate your miniature garden or fairy garden as well as your full-sized world. I set the video to some very pretty piano music to remind you of the magic of Christmas. The video is only a minute and a half long but it’s FULL of ideas. Please like and share it!

More Miniature Garden Gift Ideas

Custom Miniature Garden Kits – You pick, we send!

Our Miniature Garden Calendar – One garden, 12 occasions. Whoa.

A Subscription for the Miniature Garden Society! – A fun place to connect, craft and create!

More Miniature Garden Decorating Ideas

DIY Christmas Decor in Miniature! – How fun is this?

Miniaturizing Martha! – Emulating the Queen of Decorating, Martha Stewart.

More Decorating Ideas – Less the fuss!

Share Your Love!

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THEN use the share buttons to help spread the joy of miniature gardening!

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Personalized and Customized: Miniature Garden Kits Go Straight to the Heart

Personalized and Customized: Miniature Garden Kits Go Straight to the Heart

Awesome! Our Custom Miniature Garden Kits are proving to be a hit with our fellow miniature gardeners this holiday season. Putting together a miniature garden kit with that special someone in mind is proving to be not only a great gift idea, but a fun gift to put together too! Here are a couple of fun stories behind our Custom Miniature Garden Kits that we’ve put together for some very happy customers:

Custom Miniature Garden Kit

A custom miniature garden kit similar to what we built this past week but this one shows an older tree with a couple of extra accessories. We usually have room in the box for extras, and shipping is included.

A Dog Lover’s Miniature Garden in PA

Dan wanted to surprise his girlfriend, Karen, with miniature garden kit so we started with asking a little more about her favorite things. It turned out that Dan’s main competition is Karen’s dog, so we had a laugh and zero’ed in on a dog lovers miniature garden and chose the doghouse set and a wee dog. After finding out where she would probably place her miniature garden (on her front porch, full sun,) I made a quick list of the trees and plants that would do well in Zone 6 in Pennsylvania.

Dan picked out a tree, the Achat Dwarf Spruce, but needed help with the “bedding plants” (aka ground covers) so I gladly helped him choose two different-textured plants that can grow along with the tree: Blue Star Creeper and Irish Moss, so the dog can have some “miniature lawn” to play on. Karen’s favorite color is blue, so we switched the stone sheet for a terra cotta brick sheet that will complement any shade of blue container. We’ll be shipping it much closer to Christmas day so he can place the box without opening it under the tree and include a greeting card with a little note and DONE. Easy peasy!

Custom Miniature Garden Kits from TwoGreenThumbs.com

Some of our miniature and dwarf trees are really hardy, like this Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’) that is hardy to Zone 4, or -30F. Brrrr!

Miniature Garden Center

A Fairy Garden in WY

Jennifer wanted to give her mother a kit to get her started because she was tired of listening to her mom go on and on about fairy gardening. Her mom was simply nervous about starting and really didn’t know how to begin. It was our bestselling Gardening in Miniature book that was included that cinched the decision so her mom could learn more about the miniature scales, plants and growing the garden. She was unsure about how to go about getting a fairy garden together in winter in Wyoming so she was delighted to hear about our Custom Miniature Garden Kits. And, I reassured her that there are indeed winter fairies too, after all, who takes care of Jack Frost? :o) Here’s what we came up with.

Jennifer perused the Zone 4 and Below Section of our Miniature Garden Center Store and picked out a tree and two ground covers that are included in the Kit – a Miniature JuniperHens & Chicks and Irish Moss. She loved the Miniature Patio Set of 3 so her mom could sit in her fairy garden and relax. Jennifer added extras, a Stone Swan and a Grapevine Birdbath to match that finished off the scene nicely. Free Priority Mail Shipping was included. Done!

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

 

 

 

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