Archive for Garden Art

Getting Ready for the Super Bowl of Garden Shows

nwfgs display preparation

Getting ready for the big Northwest Flower and Garden Show that starts next week. All balls are in the air as the display arises from the pre-chaos preparation.

Getting Ready for the Super Bowl of Garden Shows

It really is the Super Bowl for gardeners as the teams of people from all over the industry gather and descend upon downtown Seattle for one week only. Landscapers, independent garden center owners, garden designers, floral designers, growers, nurserymen, authors, clubs, associations and  – well, I probably missed a few people but you get the gist – they join forces to bring you a dose of spring in the middle of winter. If you haven’t been, go. It’s a treat for the senses when you need it most.

Here’s a sneak-peek of our big display for the Small Space Showcase at the fabulous Northwest Flower and Garden Show. It’s a special year for us – it will be our 10th year displaying and it’s the garden-show-debut of our bestselling Gardening In Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living Gardens book by Timber Press. We just couldn’t wait any longer to show you a little about what we’ve been up to!

nwfgs display preparation

Big, small, medium and tall. Our display in the Small Space Showcase is going to be all about miniature gardening this year, and jam-packed with only miniature gardens.

See our miniature pot selection here. You can “add sedums” if you need the plants for them if you like.

Find that wee miniature gnome here, up in the store. We stake him so he’ll stay put.

nwfgs display preparation

Something old, something new, something borrowed… no, we’re not getting remarried, it’s the NWFGS! Lol! This photo was from our very first miniature garden scene we made in 2001. An overloaded Scooter, ready for the road and parked in the garden, forces the viewer to create their own story.

Find out more about us and miniature gardening here, on our main website, www.twogreenthumbs.com

See the weird and wonderful miniature garden accessories here up in our Etsy Store.

See our regular line of plants and accessories here in our main, online store, Your Miniature Garden Center.

nwfgs display preparation

We try to include as many new techniques and ideas as we can – and some ol’ favorites too.

Find the adobe garden jar here. 

nwfgs display preparation

Many parts make up the whole. You just hope that you’ve thought of everything but you’ll only know what you’ve missed when you start to set it up at the Convention Center.

This is our 10th year doing this display, and we use this as a place to experiment with new ideas and new plants too. Above, a miniature podocarpus hedge makes a cute backdrop for a miniature vignette. (See the other nine garden displays here on our Flickr album.)

nwfgs display preparation

Our Mini Patio Mix Kit helps keep everything in place. It’s easy and very adaptable. Our formula remains true to scale too, with very fine sand that you can only find here the PNW.

Find the Mini Patio Mix Kit and a great selection of miniature garden patio materials here.

nwfgs display preparation

It’s easy to come up with a bunch of ideas for a display – the harder part is editing down what works, what will deliver the maximum value to the viewer, and, of course, what is the funnest.

nwfgs display preparation

The mess that a big display generates here in our studio is quite impressive. Once the parts and pieces are assembled at the Convention Center on Sunday/Monday – we can clean up, take stock and… breathe.

nwfgs display preparation

We keep our handmade miniature accessories from every year. You’ll be able to see them all in one place in this exhibit. It will be really sweet to see it when it’s done – stay tuned! 

2014 NWFGS Speaker Decal

Come and meet us! I’ll be in the University Bookstore’s booth #211 on Saturday, February 8th after 11 am. (Come early, I’m not sure how long we’ll be there.) AND I’ll be the Hood Room on Sunday, February 9th at 10:45 am talkin’ about miniature garden plants and trees – with lots of NEW eye candy! And here is more info on the garden show website. A book signing follows the talk.

See the Northwest Flower and Garden Show website here. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for a chance to win tickets to the show. 

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Gardening in Miniature book

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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.

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette! It’s free, monthly and everything miniature garden. Sign up here, confirm through your email and you’ll get a free PDF of The Best of the Gazette, just for signing up!

Miniature Christmas DIY

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Earth Day in the Miniature Garden

Earth Day in the Miniature Garden

A continuation of our Miniature Garden Series – Happy Earth Day, Mother Earth!

Earth Day in the Miniature Garden

If you are new to this super-fun series, we are in the process of creating at least twelve different themes for the same miniature garden this year. See what we’ve come up with to celebrate Earth Day today.

Valentine’s Day in the Miniature Garden

St. Patrick’s Day in the Miniature Garden

Spring / Easter in the Miniature Garden

Earth Day in the Miniature Garden

What else do you put in your miniature garden for Earth Day except more earth-lovin’ plants?

Need some tips for ways to help the Earth? It’s also a great way to refresh your memory of the many different ways you can help us help ourselves: the Environmental Protection Agency’s website is here: http://www.epa.gov/earthday/tips.htm

Earth Day in the Miniature Garden

We got the globe from a tube of animal toys made by Safari Ltd. Find the “Toobs” at your local toy store. Steve glued it to a skewer so we could mount it in the garden.

Earth Day in the Miniature Garden

Happy Earth Day!

Where to find the items shown:

The plants in this container, counterclockwise from the bottom, front:
– Hens and Chicks
– Wooly Thyme
– Silver Mist Lily Turf
– Blue Moon Sawara Cypress
– Miniature Juniper – the ‘Compressa’ variety or  the ‘Minitaure’  variety works. ~>  Find them here.
(Note that all plants are not available at all times.)

Find the miniature garden decks here. Made of cedar, they come in “L” shaped too.

Find the tan colored bench here. Available in gray and ivory colors too.

Find the wee gnome here.

Find the Made in the USA birdhouse. Available in purple too.

Our How-To PDF instant download is here. It’s helpful to get you going!

Need a kit to help get you started? Find them here.

Join us for your FREE Mini Garden Gazette here. And get a free “Best of the Mini Garden Gazette #1″ just for signing up. Confirm through your email to get the pdf sent straight to your inbox.

Let us know what occasion or holiday you would like to see in the comment box below!

Earth Day in the Miniature Garden

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Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show #4

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. This year’s display is called ‘The Private Realm of Marie Antoinette.”

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show #4

Welcome to the fourth blog of our Northwest Flower and Garden Show series. In case you missed it, here are the first installments: #1 of the Series,  Part DeuxPart III.

Aaaaand today was the big opening day of the show and here is our display in pictures – we know you’ve been waiting for it!

We teamed up with Bruce Bailey of Heavy Petal Nursery in Moses Lake, Wa, who did the full-sized plant design and installment, as well as the painting on the backdrop.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

A pretty blend of mulberry-reds with a variety of different greens make up the color scheme. We wanted to blend the meadow with the interior and what better way to do that is with a carpet of plants. The ferns, grasses, moss and flowers mix up the textures to make it interesting to the eye.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Hinoki Cypress is a favorite tree for the miniature garden. This one is over 12 years old and is still a great tree for the tiny garden.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Marie Antoinette had rivers and streams built into the landscape so she could have ducks and swans. The green stone sheets available in our online store really helped with the stone wall.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Irish Moss (Sagina subulata) creates an instant lawn. The small bush at the front is a Parahebe that we are testing to see if it behaves this summer. The yellow grass in the river is Miniature Sweet Flag (Acorus griminess ‘Ogon’)

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

The details lure in the viewer for a closer look.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Lil’ Hameau in HO scale. The gangly Boulevard Cypresses create the illusion of tall trees. The small details, combined with the tiny gravel, deliver the scale of the garden to the viewer. 

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Teenie tiny! The grounds close to some of the buildings were kept simple while the larger gardens surrounded the palace, like the popular Gardens of Versailles. That’s a Majestic Japanese Holly on the left that has kept its berries from last summer.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Marie Antoinette was known for her shoes and her fashion but she enjoyed the outdoors and gardens too. She built the Hameau on the palace grounds to simulate a small farm complete with sheep and chickens so she could have a place to play with her children.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

The Gardens of Versailles are represented by topiary shoes. The classical diamond motif is repeated on the living cushion.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

All I need is a tiny dancer! A little pagoda cinches the scale of the tiny Pixie Dust Dwarf Alberta Spruce. That grass is Irish moss that has been starved – it’s small, yellowy and mossy – and perfect for this wee scene! 

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Must get a better picture! Here’s a close up.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Maidenhair Ferns from Fancy Fronds Nursery are mixed with English Daisies.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Steve layered in the back of the display to look like the outside of the Hameau. Marie Antoinette staged several of her outdoor buildings to look like an old farmhouse and barn. This would be an interesting technique to use for miniatures.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

A lovely blend of textures and colors by Bruce.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

That small Almond Tree on the right is just about to burst into bloom – just in time!

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Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Part III

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

Moving boulders around in the world’s smallest dry riverbed – it’s tough work. ;o)

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, Part III

This is the one week in the year that the Washington Convention Center turns into a garden mecca. Perfect timing for winter-weary gardeners just itching to get out and turn some soil. Today was the polish-up-your-display-day at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show that is on tomorrow through Sunday.

In continuing with this series, here are some final prep photos and a couple of sneak peeks of the final display – the big reveal is tomorrow so stay tuned!

PS – I’ll show you how we pack and move the miniature gardens at the end of the show with minimal fuss. With all the flurry and excitement, I forgot to take photos of the load-in!

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

Little Majestic Dwarf Japanese Holly kept its berries on – thankfully! We needed some orchard-like plants for this display.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

There are a number of smaller Saxifraga that make great miniature bedding plants for the tiny gardens. They like sun and well-drained soil. A grower-friend puts a big rock in the planting hole and plants her Saxifrage on top of it with good results in this rain-soaked region.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

I cut up the square brick sheets to create the stone “walls” for the wee driveway to the Hameau. Glued them to a piece of border, then painted them the same color as the gravel. The small clips really helped clamping it together until the glue dried, and standing up the piece, so it could dry after painting it. I think we found them at a dollar store.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

The brick sides were installed using the Mini Patio Mix Kit (includes the borders too.) The gravel was laid down right on top of the Mix and pressed in ever-so-slightly before misting. There is still loose gravel on top of the patio, but it’s not going anywhere now. We found the crushed mini-gravel at Bedrock Industries, Seattle, Wa.

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

A mix of accessories – we always bring several possibilities because you never really know how it is going to look until you get everything together and installed. Then you can swap out the accent pieces to see what looks best. Most of these accessories are either discontinued or one of a kind. 

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

SNEAK PEEK – The Private Realm of Marie Antoinette: The Meadow

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

SNEAK PEEK – The Private Realm of Marie Antoinette: A Cherub in the Daisies

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

SNEAK PEEK – The Private Realm of Marie Antoinette: The First Vignette.

See the previous blogs in this series here.

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Valentine’s Day in the Miniature Garden

 

Valentine's Day in the Miniature Garden

Valentine’s Day in the Miniature Garden can be loaded with decor – or kept really simple with one or two accent pieces.

Valentine’s Day in the Miniature Garden

Creating miniature gardens is so much fun because you can adapt them to any Get a little crafty in the miniature garden with Two Green Thumbs!situation, any theme or any occasion. But another fun thing to do with this new-again hobby – and Valentine’s Day gives you a perfect opportunity to – is to share them. A miniature garden can easily deliver a personalized message sent straight from the heart.

If you are short on decorations, a simple accent piece can still send a huge message. A red chair, an engraved heart or ‘hugs’ rock, or this simple how-to can send sweet love to your Valentine.

Don’t have a Valentine? Then it’s a perfect excuse to treat yourself and do something YOU love!

Want to see more of the 2013 Valentine Garden? They will be posted in our February newsletter, The Mini Garden Gazette. Join our email list here and get instant access to the archives after confirming through your email.

How to Make Valentine’s Day Decorations for Your Miniature Garden:

We found the package of foam hearts at JoAnns Fabrics (40% off!) to make these really quick decorative garden stakes that you can add to any miniature garden and get your message love across.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One package of foam cutouts
  • Wood popsicle sticks &/or coffee sticks
  • Paint colors of your choice
  • Scissors
  • Paintbrush
  • Sandpaper

Best selling Gardening in Miniature bookAAAAND the craft stores now carry all kinds of cutouts for every occasion! Paint the stakes to match the holiday color to make it look more polished. We tried writing on them with a small Sharpie marker, but it turned out a bit faded – the foam doesn’t accept the ink very well.

Be sure to take out the heart stakes after the 14th and wait for the wood to dry before storing them for next year. Like the miniature holiday decor, they should last for a long time if you don’t leave them out in the weather all year.

See our previous post of gift-giving ideas: The Most Incredible Gift of All Time. Make Quick and Affordable Gifts. A Miniature Garden for Every Budget.

More ideas from your  Miniature Garden Center:

Love Rocks

Pretty Grapevine Birdath

A Flower Forever

Cherub Birdbath

A Cherry-Red Bench

Miniature Garden Center 

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Wordless Wednesday: Miniature Garden Houseboat

Miniature Garden and Houseboat

We made this for the Seattle Miniature Show in 2006 and it won Best of Show.

Wordless Wednesday: Miniature Garden Houseboat

This miniature garden with a houseboat won Best of Show at the Seattle Miniature Show in 2006.

If you’ve been following my blog, this series is part of the photo archives that got crunched in my old computer. The picture files are too small to be included in my upcoming book from Timber Press, but I can share them with you now!

Miniature Garden with Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

Medium size or half-inch scale.

Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

Cute huh? But can you figure out what is wrong with this? It’s a birdhouse, a bird feeder and a wind chime all in one. It is very sweet but if you think about it, it is just not realistic. This wouldn’t work in our full-sized gardens because the birds wouldn’t know what to do with it – if they ever get past the chimes they would probably feed, but I’m sure they wouldn’t nest. ;o)

Join us for more miniature gardening!

Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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Miniature Garden With Houseboat

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About two weeks after the show, the raccoons sniffed out the water and played Godzilla one night. The water flooded into the bank and soaked the plants, I had to begrudgingly take it apart to save everything. I’m glad I took a bunch of pictures though. Remember to document your miniature gardens!

Like this? Then you’ll love my upcoming book from Timber Press, due out in spring of 2013. It’s here!

Join us here to keep up to date on the release, it really is going to be a beautiful book, I must say!

See more miniature garden water features, miniature trees, plants and more here in our store.

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