Archive for For the New Gardener

Miniature Garden Therapy Mission: Spark Joy

Miniature Garden Therapy at the Old Soldier's Home

Operation Spark Joy has begun! Our first installation as The Miniature Garden Society at the Washington Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Washington, south of Seattle.

Miniature Garden Therapy Mission: Spark Joy

I love it when a plan comes together. Now, to see if it works!

After talking to Linda for a minute on that cold, gray day in the middle of the winter, it felt like I was talking to an old friend. She was asking if I knew of a speaker that could come and talk at their big workshop day that is held every spring for the the Hill and Dale Garden Club. Who knew that that would turn into a project that, quite possibly, can “spark joy?”

I’ve always wanted to find out if a miniature garden can really deliver some garden therapy to non-miniature-gardeners if it was put in the right spot. If a full-size garden can be therapeutic for everyone, why not a tiny one too? And now that the Miniature Garden Society is established, we can make time to reach out into the community, to see what we can do with our hobby to share the joy of gardening in miniature.

So, with the help of Linda and the ladies at the Hill and Dale Garden Club, we installed a larger miniature garden in the courtyard at the Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Washington. Here’s what happened:

(Click the photos to enlarge.)

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The Hill and Dale Garden Club did the hard part: the lugging in of the trough and the potting soil. The tub is 6′ x 2′ x 2′ and it’s filled more than half-way up with chunks of styrofoam. The styrofoam won’t make it easy to move but it saves a boatload of time, money and energy not having to fill it all up with soil.

Find out more about the right potting soil to use for your miniature garden here.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

After the mountain was in place, we dug in. I’ll be putting the instructions on this easy-mountain-install in the Miniature Garden Society!

See the MiniatureGardenSociety.org website here.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Steve made the silo from a beer can and straws! This side will begin to look more like farmers fields when the different thymes start to grow in.

See our different Thymes here. 

 

I made the little cinderblock fence from our tiny cinderblocks and a couple of skewers. The silo and the fence were glued on to a board which was hidden with micro gravel.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

When Linda and the ladies installed it, they made sure it was a good height for most wheelchair-users. That need triggered the idea for some sort of backdrop for their point of view, so we built up a hill with a solid chunk of Irish Moss from my full-sized garden that needed a good home. It’ll be a great place for a picnic!

See the gray flagstone sheet here.

See the Mini Patio Mix Kit here. 

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Linda brought some full-sized Hen and Chicks so we used them as Agave-type plants to add some great texture to the miniature garden bed.

See our full-sun plants here.

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Layers and textures, oh my! Here’s what we planted in the trough. It’s going to get full-sun all summer, and it’s protected in a courtyard to it should be a great growing environment for the plants.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The patio was a bit rushed at the very end, but I don’t think anyone else noticed. The bright green chair matched the Golden Torch Barberry in the upper-left corner.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The Mercedes Dwarf Birch, the Goldfinch Fir and a few of the succulents were donated by Bob Fincham and Linda Maida.

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Dueling Photographers. That’s Linda taking a photo of the finished garden. Steve said everyone was just beaming with smiles as they slowly realized what was happening. For someone who didn’t know what was going on, it must have looked strange. Lol!

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

That’s Thomas, he’s a master gardener so we left it in his good hands.

 

A few of the residents gathered to watch the garden go together and some of the staff watched too. It was fun to see them respond as the garden came together. Between us, the garden club, the residents and the staff, it sounded like everyone wanted to “look after the garden” so I imagine it will be well-taken care of! We’re looking forward to going back in a couple/few weeks to see how it’s growing – and to see if it sparked joy.

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How to Plant a Miniature Garden in a Big Pot, Part 1

Miniature Gardening in Large Containers

From the Archives, 2004: Our first display at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. A good tip: pick a pot with a lip on it so you have something to grip if you have to move it or pick it up (not like most of the pots above!)

How to Plant a Miniature Garden in a Big Pot, Part 1

Miniature Gardening in Large Pots

From the Archives, 2004: This pot is 17″ high and 14″ wide and big enough to put a path through the middle of it.

Planting a miniature garden in a big container creates room for more fun, more plants and more ideas. You can visually break up your design into a couple of smaller garden rooms within that one big pot, with paths leading to and fro. You can make a huge yard with several focal points happening around the container, or have enough room for a small house or building, a particular favorite of fairy gardeners. We talk about the different kinds of pots that can be used miniature gardening in our new book Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World, but here are a few more tips on how to save some time and money – and your back – when working with very large pots or containers.

What’s Deep? What’s the Minimum?

What do we consider a deep pot for miniature gardening? Any pot that is deeper than 14″, in my opinion. We recommend at least 8″ of soil so the miniature garden can stay together for a couple/few years before needing repotting. This allows the trees and plants to grow and weave together and you still get that aged-garden-look after a couple of years that is very enchanting.

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How to Keep Your Big Pot and Plant It Too

Another popular question when planning a miniature garden in a huge pot is, “Should I put something in the bottom before I start planting?”  Yes, and there are several reasons why you can go ahead fill that big container up with some sort of filler, leaving 8″ to 10″ from the top of the pot, before you add regular potting soil that will make you, and the plants, happier in the long run.

The miniature garden plants that we recommend to use are usually small to start with, so they don’t need a lot of soil to get growing. I find some types of plants tend to falter when planted in a huge container full of soil, as most plants prefer a smaller root environment when they are young. We call it “swimming in soil,” when the water wicks away from the plant’s roots to the bottom of the pot where gravity pulls it, and the moisture doesn’t stay around the roots where it is needed. Then the roots dry out, the plant starts to stress and falter. By using filler, it shortens the depth of the soil, prevents the water from wicking, the soil stays damp longer and the roots stay happy.

Miniature Gardening in Large Containers

From the Archives, 2004: Planting miniature gardens in large pots leave more room for creativity.

Fill ‘Er Up

Another reason to use filler on the bottom of the pot is huge pots can get really heavy. The spot you choose may be perfect for that garden this summer and into next summer but you may want to eventually move it. The two most popular ways to fill up your pots are:

Styrofoam peanuts or popcorn: Most packing peanuts are biodegradable now so put them in a plastic shopping bag, tie the bag shut and place the bag upside-down in the pot so water doesn’t get inside and stagnate. If you are using a really big pot, use several of bags-full and fill the pot up to about 10” to 12” from the top.

Miniature Gardening in Large Pots

Upside-down poly pots make a great filler. Smush them to fit them in.

Upside-down black plastic nursery pots: Start with big 1 or 2 gallon pots in the center

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

Join us! We’re digging deeper! 

of the bottom of the pot and work in the upside-down 4” pots, squishing them so they fill in as much space as possible. You can cut a couple of pieces of cardboard and layer it on top of the upside-down pots to create the “bottom” of the pot, or you can just start filling up the pot with soil.

We’ve heard of people using upside soda-cans and they would work only if they are rinsed out really, really well. Otherwise the sugar in the soda would draw unwanted pests to your container.

Note that this is for miniature gardening with small plants. Bigger plants mean more roots. If you are creating mixed containers of regular perennials and nursery plants (aka trees and shrubs) you may want to use potting soil all through your container to leave plenty or room for root growth.

SOIL CONCERNS: Use organic potting soil with no added fertilizers or water-retaining polymers. Your miniature garden plants don’t need it and the added fertilizer will burn the roots of the miniature and dwarf conifers.

POTTING SOIL VS. TOPSOIL: Potting soil has all the necessary nutrients and micro-organisms for a contained environment. If you look closely, you’ll see rich, dark organic matter, bits of sand and perlite or vermiculite mixed in to keep the potting soil from becoming a big lump of dirt over time.

Topsoil is plain soil, without the added ingredients for pots and containers. It is used to amend the soil in garden beds where any water drains naturally. The plant’s roots have all the room they want and can find nutrients on their own.

Part 2 is here. This was getting too long and I have more tips and techniques to share here.

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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!

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Happy New Year from the Miniature Garden!

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Happy New Year from the Miniature Garden!

Happy New Year from the Miniature Garden!

Join me on a photo journey for this year’s New Year’s in the Miniature Garden!

We had a busy week making plans for the new year – and a new video for our Miniature Garden Society. See it here or keep scrolling!

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Added “a little” twinkle and sparkle with some tiny mirrors. Another resource and idea to add to the Miniature Garden Society!

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Used a Christmas wreath around the NYE sculpture to add color and bling.

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Found this guy in an antique mall here in Seattle. He’s custom painted for the miniature garden to look old and ancient. 

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New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Making sure this coming year is packed FULL of love! 

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

I found the hat and noise maker at my local dollhouse miniature store.

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

This garden is about 6 or 7 years old and went through one major renovation. We go over the details in the Miniature Garden Society! 

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New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

I left the lights on from Christmas – those are always the hardest to take down because I love them so. But the way I wound this strand so tightly on the branches, it will have to come off before springtime. 

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Now you can tell I shot the photos in my studio? Yeah, it was cold out. Lol! 

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

A retro dollhouse miniature bench painted silver fits into the scene nicely. It’s here up in our Etsy store.

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New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Another full shot of the custom miniature New Year’s Eve sculpture. We’ll be diving into custom painting techniques in the Miniature Garden Society.

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Cutting from full-sized plants did the trick to make this quick seasonal bouquet!

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New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

The Stone side table is from our studios and is up in our Etsy store here.

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

I just love the miniature log animals! They won’t be packed up too quickly…

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LOVE THIS? Then you’ll LOVE our Miniature Garden Society! Watch the video to see what we’re all about:

 

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How to Give the Gift of the Imagination with Miniature Gardening

How to Give the Gift of the Imagination with Miniature Gardening

Whew! Now that big-box store’s giant sales-weekend is over for another year, it’s time to let the smaller kids play. Yeah, if you know me at all, I don’t follow any leader very well – you can ask my parents about that too. I tend to make up my own rules as a I go along, not unlike our new president-elect. (A presidential dig but I am hopeful.)

Here’s how I would like to rearrange this last weekend in the Land of Janit:

  • Black Friday should be Green Friday that only honors businesses that are socially and environmentally conscious, and demonstrate that they care about their customers.
  • Small Business Saturday should be called “Really-Small Business Saturday.” It’s a bit of a joke, really. Did you know that businesses with less than 500 employees and $7 million in sales IS a small business? How can you compare that with us and many of the other “Really-Small Businesses” out there?  We are, in fact, a micro-business with the two of us, the hubby works part-time, I work full time at TwoGreenThumbs.com – which is really 1.5 employees. Lol!
  • Cyber Monday is dominated by the big corps who can pay for big advertising and get lots of people to shout loud, tweet and post so they get your money online too. I think it should be called “Silent Monday” to let us recover from the one of the busiest weekends of the year. Think it will fly?

No, really, I love the holidays and look forward to diving into the occasion with my baking and decorating. I hope you “vote with your wallet” this holiday season and support tiny businesses who you can connect with personally, know you, actually speak with you and work with you.

That said, here are some fantastic gifts for the miniature gardener on your list – or gifts for YOUR miniature gardens. After all, this hobby gives us so much throughout the year: creativity, learning, solace, grounding, playtime, bragging rights, easy gift ideas, stress-relief and the plants to nurture and grow – that it really deserves a little gift in return – IMHO. ;o)

See our Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center Store here.

Give LIVING Plants for Christmas With NO Hassle, NO Maintenance and NO Worries!

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The “Ship Plants Later” Add-on: 1.) We ship you (or the recipient) a gift-wrapped box for under the tree that includes one of our own greeting cards.

2.)

2.) They open it and send us the self-addressed-stamped postcard when they are ready for their plants. They’ll get a list of what’s coming.

3.)

3.) Then they receive the plants! The plants will be fresh, healthy, stress-free and high-quality, sent straight from our nursery!

You can now give plants without having to take care of them during the busy holiday season! For just a $5 add-on to your plant order, you (or the recipient) will get a gift-wrapped box and greeting card to put under the tree. In that box is a self-addressed-stamped postcard to mail to us when you (or the recipient) are ready for your plants. Then we ship the plants straight from our nursery. Easy-peasy.

All you have to do is add it onto your order, fill out the shipping address for the recipient – or we can send it to you – and the rest we’ll take care of! This is available for both our online stores. See it here.

Unique & Different Miniature Garden Gifts in our Etsy Store!

Miniature gardening with Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

It’s a miniature garden Christmas party! See this set up in our Etsy store here.

Our Etsy store is where we put all our unique and wonderful miniature garden items, sets and kits – plus a few of our other bestsellers. Our potting bench sets are great fun because nothing is glued-down – you can play with it! We have natural supplies for your fairy-makings as well as wide variety of true-to-scale dollhouse miniatures that we’ve adapted for our miniature gardening. Visit our Etsy store here.

Customized & Personalized Miniature Garden Kits!

Miniature gardening with Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

Create your own Miniature Garden Kit! Customize it just how you like. Personalize it to make it a very special gift that will keep on giving!

Create your own version of our Miniature Garden Kits! You pick out the plants, accessories and patio material. If you need help selecting the “right plants for the right place” we are here for you. Take advantage of this opportunity to make a very personalized, fun gift that will keep on giving for years after the holidays. It includes shipping by Priority Mail, our “Ship Plants Later” Add-on (optional) and our bestselling Gardening in Miniature book. To order, or to see more of the details, click here to go to the online store.

Miniature Garden Society, 1 Year Subscription

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

Give the most creative gift of all! An endless stream of new ideas, new project, new insights and a community of like-minded people!

Whoa, Nelly! The Miniature Garden Society is chock-a-block FULL of miniature garden EVERYTHING! It’s perfect for both the established miniature gardener or fairy gardener, OR the newbie that is just starting out. This new members-only website is not even a year old and there are new ideas, information and insights added each month to keep it fresh and new. See more of what you get with the membership, click here.

Gift Certificates

Miniature gardening with Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

Get a gift certificate through our online store! Let them have the fun shopping for what they want at their leisure. We use Paypal Gift Certificates, and they are on the front page of our website here.

The Bible of Miniature Gardening and a Bestseller

Getting to Know America's Favorite Miniature Garden Center, TwoGreenThumbs.com

Get your autographed copy of Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World from our online store!

A book that will capture their imagination and stay with them for a looong time! Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World is like no other. It’s written by Yours Truly, who brought this new hobby to the marketplace, made it accessible for anyone to enjoy AND who is a miniature gardener. It’s published by the world’s top garden publisher, Timber Press – and after doing two books with these guys (new book is due June, 2017) – they are very particular about every aspect of their books. Excellent photos, the right information, well-edited with a terrific layout and includes 7 different DIY projects too. You can’t go wrong giving any gardener this gift! See more here.

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From Janit & Steve, Your Friends at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

From Janit & Steve, Your Friends at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

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DIY Christmas Decor for the Miniature Garden

Miniature Christmas DIY

Cuteness! Tiny homemade details can easily reflect your personal style. You’ll spend just as much time getting these ingredients together than you will doing this tutorial. Make a few at the same time and have fun with them, you’ll get better after the second one you make.

DIY Christmas Decor for the Miniature Garden

Here are a couple of do-it-yourself tutorials for Christmas decorations for your miniature garden. Use the same color scheme as your “full-size” decorations throughout your house and garden, it will just add to the cute factor. Find miniature decorations up in our store, or I’ve mentioned where I’ve found them throughout this blog.

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Here’s yet-another benefit from growing miniature conifers and small-leafed trees and shrubs: you can harvest them for miniature holiday decorations just like you would in “full-size.” Whenever I can, I save my miniature pruning duties for this time of year so I can use them for decorations. “Limbing-up” from the base of a dwarf conifer can shape it to be more tree-like. Prune way-ward branches from the top canopy of the tree to maintain the round-ness or over all shape of the foliage. Pruning also helps to send messages to the wee tree that you want the plant’s efforts and energy to be used elsewhere, like growing a thicker trunk and branches. Got a lot of pruning? Try wiring a miniature garland together.

Shop Two Green ThumbsThe branches we used here were soaked in a solution of glycerin and water to help them last longer. Place 1 part glycerin and 15 parts water in yogurt tub or similar, and make sure the branches are submerged. Leave it in there for at least overnight, 24 hours is better. Glycerin is found in hand lotions, among other uses, and it helps to seal in moisture – which is why we love to soak our naturals in it to help them retain color and supple-ness, at least for a few weeks while we can enjoy them. Otherwise your wee branches would do what they normally do when brought inside a heated house: dry out and go brown within days. Experiment with different ratios for different plants and how long they will stay preserved. Add dye to the glycerin/water solution to change the color of light-colored naturals. Glycerin can be found at any art store or most drug stores. It comes in a small bottle and doesn’t cost much.

Miniature Wreath Tutorial:

Make a REAL miniature wreath for your miniature garden! Here’s how to make one from a spruce branch, and from a Boxleaf Euonymous branch. Any sturdy but bend-able branch with small leaves could work but experiment first if you are creating an important holiday display.

Miniature Christmas DIY

What the wreaths are made of, from top left clockwise: Mugo Pine, Euonymous, Cotoneaster, Dwarf Spruce

DIY Miniature Christmas Decorations

From the top left, clockwise: Cotoneaster, Mugo Pine, Thyme, Dwarf Spruce, Euonymous, Hinoki Cypress (lime green branch under Cotoneaster.) I didn’t mention varieties on purpose, you can use almost any type of small-leafed branch.

Dwarf Spruce Wreath

Miniature Christmas DIY

You’ll need a branch or two, some jewelry wire, needle-nosed pliers and a pair of flat-nosed pliers. Silver wire was used for this tutorial so you can see it, otherwise I would have used dark green wire to blend into the foliage.

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Miniature Christmas DIY

If the branches are too short, wire two of them together to make a longer one.

Miniature Christmas DIY

Loop them around to make a wreath and wire them together. Work gently and do your best to work the wire in between the needles.

Miniature Christmas DIY

It may seem out of balance when you first start, but just go with it for now. Leave the wire ends for now, they will come in handy later.

Miniature Christmas DIY

Add some more wire wraps where its needed to tuck in some of the smaller branches closer to the circle.

DIY miniature christmas decor

Tiny details can be accumulated throughout the year. Miniature tinsel and glittery pompoms can be found at Michael’s Crafts along with the cherry picks. Tiny candy canes can be found at your local miniature store. I trimmed the ends off of a larger velvet bow to make a miniature one. Use tiny leaves and colorful branches for more texture and interest.

Miniature Christmas DIY

The bow is wrapped around with its own wire, the smaller details are hot-glued on. Notice the tiny sprig of hinoki cypress is used to brighten up the berries. BUT the bottom has too many branches and the top – not so much…

 

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Miniature Christmas DIY

Decide on the “right” branch to snip off the bottom. This chosen branch was on the back of the wreath and could be easily cut off to lessen the bulk.

Miniature Christmas DIY

And, with a little bit of hot-glue, we add it to the top to help it balance out a bit.

DIY Miniature Christmas Tutorials

That’s better!

Small Broadleaf Wreath

Broadleaf is a fancy name for a plant that has leaves – as opposed to needles on a pine tree for example. A lot of broadleaf plants are deciduous like Maple, Elm and Oak, but some are evergreen and keep their leaves throughout the seasons – thankfully, they help keep the landscape “green” in the middle of winter. We used an Euonymous branch for this tutorial. Same idea as the spruce wreath above, but with a different twist because of the leaves.

Miniature Christmas DIY

A way-ward branch pruned from a Boxleafed Euonymous from our in-ground miniature garden.

Miniature Christmas DIY

Strip away the leaves inside the natural curve of the branch .

Miniature Christmas DIY

You can pinch off the more tender, top branches as you work along the stem.

Miniature Christmas DIY

Ready to shape into a circle.

Miniature Christmas DIY

Bend it around carefully. Wire it in place. Work the wire in between the leaves gently to get to the stem. The leaves and stem toward the top of the branch are going to be more tender so don’t force the wire too much or it will cut right through the branch.

Miniature Christmas DIY
Gently pull the wire taunt to hold the branches where you want them.
Miniature Christmas DIY

Twist the wires gently together with your fingers, tighten them gently with flat-nosed pliers. Leave the excess wire in place – don’t cut it off yet.

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Miniature Christmas DIY

Now that you have the wreath shape, edit out the leaves that clash or distort the design.

Miniature Christmas DIY

Use the excess wire from the wrapping to create a loop on the back of the wreath to hang it with. Round-nose pliers work well to make tiny wire loops.

Miniature Christmas DIY

Wrapped with a little tinsel garland, hot-glued the poinsettia flower with more lime-green hinoki leaves to finish it off. Looks like a holiday!

When you are in you miniature garden, harvesting branches for this fun diy, choose a couple of sets of each type of branch that you want to work with; if you totally mess up you have a couple of chances to get it right.

MAKE IT LAST: If you are keeping your miniature wreath indoors for a couple/few weeks throughout the season, make a couple of them to rotate in and out the scene. Because they are living wreaths, they will do better in the cold and damp than inside in the forced, heated air. Make a 2 or 3 or 4 wreaths, treat them like a corsage or boutonniere and keep them in a take-out container in the fridge with a damp paper towel on the bottom of the container. The amount of time they will last will vary, depending upon how long you soaked them in the glycerin/water solution, what kind of branch they are and what conditions they are displayed in.

Quick Miniature Garden Holiday Garden Art

Some things are worth repeating, huh? If you haven’t explored your local fabric store’s selection of seasonal buttons, it’s worth the drive. There are a ton of different ideas out there. Here is a fast and fun way to make decorative garden stakes for your miniature garden.

Miniature Christmas DIY

These were made about eight years ago: buttons hot-glued to plastic lollipop sticks. Some of the glue has yellowed, but you would have to be up-close to see that. Other ornaments needed a bit of highlighting with a touch of gold or silver to refreshen the details.

Miniature Christmas DIY

The reindeer buttons were mounted on the sticks to look like they were galloping. This fun project is one that kids can do too.

Miniature Tree Ornaments

The same buttons can be use for ornaments. Instead of trying to painstakingly wire or loop each and every ornament to tiny branches, use metallic pipe cleaners to make an ornament from any button. Poke the wired-button into the tree’s branches, it’ll stay there if the tree isn’t moved around a lot. If do want to make a decorated tree that will be moved or carried, use strands of garlands and miniature lights and wire the ends of the strings in place. This will save you a lot of fussing around.

Miniature Christmas DIY

You will need: buttons, lollipop sticks, pliers, hot-glue gun and about 5 minutes. The lollipop sticks can be found at Michael’s Crafts.

Miniature Christmas DIY

Clip off button loop with pliers.

Miniature Christmas DIY

Look at the front of the button to see which way you want it mounted on the stick. Squeeze glue in a small line to get maximum surface contact.

Miniature Christmas DIY

Stick the stick the way that you want it stuck. ;o)

Miniature Christmas DIY

If the button pattern is asymmetrical, mount the buttons on the stem in a different rotation so they look different.

Want to add snow? Here’s what we found out about that idea – click here.

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Miniature Christmas DIY

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It’s Getting Scary Out There – And We’re Not Talking About the Election…

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It’s Getting Scary Out There – And We’re Not Talking About the Election…

We’re working on some very scary miniature garden ideas for our new Miniature Garden Society!

The Day of the Dead flags are completely waterproof, cut out of thin plastic.

That’s a working miniature fountain off to the right.

That mummy creeping up in the middle of the scene is weatherproof and waterproof – and only cost 66 cents to make.

You’ll find a constant stream of new ideas going into this new adventure called The Miniature Garden Society.

Scared of missing out on some great ideas for your miniature or fairy garden?

Join us.

 

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