Archive for For the New Gardener

Is Your Miniature Garden Tree Dead?

Is Your Miniature Garden Tree Dead?

Your miniature garden tree is not dying, it’s blushing.

We surprised a customer in Florida with a tree that was wearing its winter’s blush. Needless to say, she picked up the phone to tell us the plant arrived half dead – but it wasn’t. It was only blushing! Check out the video above to see a few examples of how the different conifer change color in the colder temperatures.

And here’s how plants die.

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A Miniature Garden Calendar

A calendar for the new year! Click the pic to see more of the photos in the calendar.

 

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Miniature Gardening on the East Coast!

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book tour is on its way to the East Coast! 

Miniature Gardening on the East Coast!

Come one, come all! Come and play and laugh and get inspired! This is serious! Lol!

Hey, I’ll be at two different venues THIS weekend. Come and see my Plow & Hearth Very Fairy Christmas House Renovation to see what YOU can do with your fairy houses! I’ll be decorating the house for the holidays throughout Thursday evening, November 2nd, from 4pm to 7pm at the Plow & Hearth, Marlton, NJ, store. Be sure to print out the coupon below just in case you find something you like – they have a bunch of new miniatures this season. (Or keep it on your phone, I’m sure that works as well.)

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AND I’m at the largest miniature show on the east coast, the Philadelphia Miniaturia show, note that Friday night is the preview night that requires a special ticket – here’s the details:

Philadelphia Miniaturia Show
Friday November 3rd through Sunday November 5th 2017

To be admitted on the 3rd, you must purchase a preview ticket for $25 (covers full weekend admission)
Preview hours are 6pm – 9pm Friday and 9am – 10am Saturday

General Admission – Show hours Saturday 10 – 5, Sunday 11 – 4. Daily admission $10 Adults, $4 Children under ten

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cherry Hill, NJ.

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Can’t make either? Join us for your FREE Mini Garden Gazette each Friday (this Friday is an exception.) Sign up here.

Want to jump in and dig deeper? Check out our Miniature Garden Society Community Website here.

And for everything miniature garden and then some, check out our new website at MiniatureGarden.com

 

The Miniature Garden Society

 

Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

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28 Miniature Garden Ideas for Halloween Decor DIY

Miniature Garden Ideas for Halloween

28 Miniature Garden Ideas for Halloween!

28 Miniature Garden Ideas for Halloween Decor DIY

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are 28,000 of them right here in this new 28 Miniature Garden Ideas for Halloween Decor DIY video! Easy Halloween do-it-yourself decorations that you can make for your miniature garden, fairy garden or railroad garden. The crafting days are upon us so let the fun begin!

You’ll find a ton of more ideas on diy miniature accessories now up in the Miniature Garden Society, a private, community website dedicated to everything miniature garden!

See what is up in your Miniature Garden Center Store now!

Scared yet? Like this? Join us here for more fun in the Miniature Garden!

Miniature Garden Ideas

The Miniature Garden Society

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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!)

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

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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?
  • 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.

Gardening in Miniature, now in it's 5th printing!

We wrote the book on it. Click the pic to see more.

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New Adventures in the Miniature Garden

New Adventures in the Miniature Garden

Hey Fellow Miniature Gardeners! There’s something new growing-on here at our Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Studio here in Seattle. I tried a video letter for last week’s Mini Garden Gazette newsletter and, well, the response was terrific! And it was fun. And it was easy. Who doesn’t like that?

So, I’ll be doing a short video letter each week for the Mini Garden Gazette newsletter that will give you a dose of inspiration, a tip to add to your arsenal or a technique that you can apply to your gardening in miniature. Sound fun? Sign up to join us here.

 

Links from the above video:

Mini Garden Gazette newsletter signup – the ONLY miniature garden newsletter for the hobby!

The Gardening in Miniature: How to Create Your Own Tiny Living World – a primer for the hobby!

Miniature Gardening 101 Series – a quick series to get you jump-started.

MiniatureGardenSociety.org – we’re digging deeper and dreaming bigger!

Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center – serving the miniature garden hobby since 2001!

Thank you for watching and thank you for reading!

 

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How to Identify an Expert on the Internet

Miniature Gardening: Go Ahead, Act Your Shoesize

Gardening in Miniature since 2001.

How to Identify an Expert on the Internet

“You can be anybody on the Internet!”

We’ve talked about this before on a previous blog post, about how the Internet is growing all kinds of experts. I’ve worked online since 2004 and have witnessed a number of great people gradually become the true experts in their field. I’ve also watched a few people try to become experts and, if they are good salespeople, they can trick people into thinking that they are indeed an expert.

You see, it is really a lot of hard work to become an expert, as Malcom Gladwell states in his bestselling book, The Outliers. Malcolm has calculated that it takes at least 10,000 hours devoted to one topic to become an expert. To put this in perspective, if you worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 50 weeks per year, that’s only 2,000 hours. So, at best, if you really crammed and worked overtime, you might be able to crank-out 3000 hours per year. You still need at least 3 years of overtime, nights and weekends, to achieve the expert level of experience.

 

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

 

But, if you ask the Internet, apparently there are now quicker ways to become the expert, or at least appear to. Anyone can write their own blog and get a book published these days – anyone. (Always wanted to publish a book? Do it. There are publishers for everything and every level if you keep looking. Heck, you don’t even need to know how to write.) But, honestly and realistically, there is no quick way to dive deeply and thoroughly into any topic to become that expert overnight or within a month – experience just can’t be rushed.

There is SO much information out there on the interwebs these days, especially with the “real” fake-news sites, that you need to, you must, take the time to figure out if that blog/website/person that your looking at is authentic and has the right answers to your questions. Especially with gardening, doing the wrong thing in your garden can sometimes do lasting damage and ruin your outlook on gardening forever.

So, here is how you identify an expert, I’ve included some questions that you can ask yourself before you consider if the person is authentic. I don’t imagine this list isn’t complete at all, if you have another way to ID an expert, leave it below.

 

The definition of “authenticity” from Wikipedia:

Authenticity – of undisputed origin; genuine.
Synonyms – genuine, real, bona fide, true, veritable; legitimate, lawful, legal, valid

 

The Miniature Garden Society

Collecting expert advice on the new hobby of gardening in miniature is one of the reasons we set-up this wonderful Miniature Garden Society website for miniature gardeners only. All members get direct access to me, my library, my resources and my experience.

How to Recognize an Expert

You can’t fake passion – If she is coming out of the blue with a completely new topic all the time then she is just jumping on the next trend, and the next, and the next. Look to see if her blog/books/portfolio jump around too much and feel unfocused.

Does she stay within her area of expertise (subject-wise AND geographically?) – Does she have a number of different books published on different topics? Is she writing about gardening in different regions but has lived all her life in one state or area of the country?

Is she collecting credentials? – Look to see if she is a member of every group in the industry. No one can join every organization and still get practical work done – unless you join in name only – but I do believe organizations frown on that.

Does she jump around a lot with her job history while still claiming to be the expert? – Does she stay with one or two roles or are there a list of different jobs from different organizations but she only looks to be 30 years old? Does she specialize in chickens, grafting tomatoes, canning, year-round vegetable gardening and open, own and manage a full garden center and landscape business – and all within a couple of years? There is no time to learn anything thoroughly if you can’t stay put and learn the ropes.

Does she jump around a lot with her offers? – Does she promise to solve all your problems and plan your wedding too? You’re looking for an expert, remember.

Does she have any past work of her own to show? – If she is a gardener, does she have her own garden’s photos up on her website or blog? If she writes about miniature gardening, does she share any of her miniature gardens on her social media?

Listen to her talk. – Does she sound like she knows what she is doing or is she just filling the airwaves with the obvious? Does she sound confident? Can she articulate what you need to know? Does she explain things well? This is especially important if you are paying for services. I hired an editor through email to help me edit my first manuscript for Gardening in Miniature. When I spoke to her on the phone after the contract was signed, I was extremely disappointed in her lack of expertise and confidence. Needless to say she couldn’t complete the job and passed it back to me after sitting on it for 6 months (then she went and published her own book on miniature gardens a couple of years later, believe it or not.)

And the kicker: she could just be a good salesperson and she knows which buttons to push to get you to buy into her game. Marketing and selling is actually a formula that has phycological triggers that can be used to lure you into buying if you aren’t careful.

UPDATE: An insightful example: My cousin has worked for the Yamaha Corporation in their drum department for over 25 years now. He has the constant challenge of getting celebrity drummers to endorse drums for Yamaha and he has noticed that the most talented drummers are not interested in marketing themselves – they just want to play drums. It’s the less-talented drummers that shine at the marketing themselves and thus get all the attention. After hearing this, I’ve noticed it across many industries – the most creative people are busy claiming their gifts and creating – not facebooking and tweeting.

So next time you are in need of some expert information, use your intuition and do some quick Googling around with the above list to see if they have any experience logged anywhere to back up who she claims to be.

Then, if you’ve figured out that they are genuine and you like them – bookmark them in your browser as one to go to for the right answers. Maybe if we keep patronizing the real experts, the fake ones will move along and go after the next “shiny thing.”

End of rant. Stay real.

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Dig Deeper with our New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book!

 

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Four Ways To Improve Your Craft Skills

Gardening in Miniature Kits from Two Green Thumbs

With the Miniature Garden Door Kit you can paint the trim before you put it together – so much easier and the results are perfect.

Four Ways To Improve Your Craft Skills

Hey, someone has to do it. Someone has to keep you inspired, right? As the sign says above my studio door, “Play Each Day.” So have no fear, I am here to help you in find a way to play each day! Just call me your creative-enabler.

But, alas, I know how it goes all too well: sometimes I don’t want to think to hard, nor do I want go hunting for the right

Gardening in Miniature Kits from Two Green Thumbs

The Gnome Door is perfectly sweet. Like the Miniature Garden Door, you can paint the trim before you put it together for a very professional look. Shown above unpainted but still looks great. Click the pic to see more of it.

parts, and nor do want to be bothered doing the miniature math but I want to do something different! I so want to make something!

Geez, I sound like Goldilocks at a craft store. Lol!

CUE: Miniature Garden Kits!

I don’t know about you, but when I see a good kit that entices me by just looking at the pieces, I get excited. I can’t wait to get home, get my glue and my tools, sit down and work through the instructions and see what happens. There is a sense of satisfaction with a kit too – I think I would say it’s almost as satisfying as making something from scratch because, more often than not, it’s something you would never build from scratch anyway, right?

But, there was something else that was nagging at me as to why I enjoy kits so much. I think I found out why:

Gardening in Miniature Kits from Two Green Thumbs

Our new Adirondack Chair Kit is the real deal. Historically accurate, perfectly to scale and very sturdy when done. Treat with wood hardener/preservative before leaving it outside. More about preserving wood in the Prop Shop Book. Click the photo to learn more about this new kit!

Kits improve your crafting skills.

Craft Kits – Kits are laced with ingenuity simply because they have to be broken down into kit. Whether it’s a new way to glue something, join parts together, or a simple accent piece that you would never have thought of adding, there is always something to learn from doing a craft kit because you’re “seeing” someone else’s way of doing something.

Bash a Kit Beforehand – If you know where you are going with the kit, you can easily bash* some of the parts and pieces before you glue it together. For example, if you were to make a rustic chair from the Adirondack Kit, you can get most of the painting done while the small pieces are still mounted in the sheet, before you punch them out. (See photo at left.) After you punch them out you can score, knick and or sand the parts to look worn and aged before gluing it all together. (See the Aging Adirondack project in the America chapter of the new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book.)

Bash a Kit Afterwards – You can certainly do the aging techniques on the finished piece but you can also add decals, stamp patterns, embellish it to look more fairy-like with tendrils and mossy-bits tucked here and there. (See the Patriotic Chair and the Fairy Haven projects in the new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book.)

*Bash a Kit – Means to adapt a kit to what you want it to be by adding to it or taking away from it. It’s a popular term in the model-kit world. For example, a model-maker would by a kit to build an army Jeep but would paint the pieces to his liking, add different decals to personalize it and make it completely different than what is was originally intended to look like.

Gardening in Miniature Kits from Two Green Thumbs

It’s a MINIATURE Fairy House Kit! New from our studios. You can make a tiny fairy house for your miniature garden – CUTE!!

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Gardening in Miniature Kits from Two Green Thumbs

Assembled by hand with everything collected into one convenient box – more than enough to make your wee fairy house your very own. All you need is you and the glue!

Craft Different Types of Kits – Be sure to try different kinds of kits with different materials and unique designs. Stay tuned for more miniature garden kits coming up. We have some really fun ideas for you!

More Kits Coming Soon!

We are working on a variety of kits for the miniature garden and fairy garden. Some will be coming from our studios or from our Prop Shop book, and some of the kits are/will be developed by a pair of IGMA artisans who are so meticulously detailed and design oriented its humbling. Lol! Check out their kits here and let us know what you think. There is more to come from this dynamic duo!

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Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Dig Deeper with our New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book!

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