Archive for Garden To-Do’s

Easy, Quick & Fun: A Miniature Garden Pumpkin House

Halloween Miniature Garden

Once the pumpkin house was carved, it was easy fun setting up this shot in the miniature garden.

Easy, Quick & Fun: A REAL Miniature Garden Pumpkin House PLUS Halloween Tips

After years of creating and growing with this new-again hobby of miniature gardening, it’s a wonder that you can come up with anything new, huh? But, alas, it’s the variables that rope you in and keep the ideas dancing in your head in the wee hours of the morning. So many plants, pots, accessories, sizes, themes and designs to keep you creative! Oh my!

You mean I can plant a garden now? – ‘Tis the season and you can start with Halloween, carry on through Thanksgiving and into the holidays with the same garden – or make a new one each month. Miniature gardening is season-less and can be done anytime, anywhere, so don’t wait for the seasons to have a reason to gardening in miniature!

Make a REAL Miniature Pumpkin House! – Alright, there are now two ways to go about getting a miniature pumpkin house in your miniature garden. This pumpkin-house blog was first published 3 years ago and, since then, a few different kinds of resin pumpkin fairy houses have been made in China and brought back here to attempt to tempt you with… if you can be temped by future landfill. (Sorry, I’m a tree-hugger and very pro-Earth.) BUT you’ll never get the satisfaction out of a resin house that you will from carving your own house design from a real pumpkin. So, release your inner architect, grab a knife and pumpkin and have some fun. I sure your fairies will enjoy a real pumpkin house too!

Halloween Miniature Garden

We tried shooting with some extra light off to the side, but found them a bit distracting from the pumpkin house. We found the light-up ghost for $1.99 at Rite Aid.

Tips for Shooting Photos in the Dark:

  • Set up your shot in the daylight and start shooting when it’s dusk. If it gets too dark, the camera can’t see the plants with the natural light and you can’t see the surroundings. Photoshopping it afterwards doesn’t look natural.
  • Use a tripod or something sturdy to hold the camera in place. The camera’s shutter will need to stay open for a few seconds, by keeping the camera steady, it will stay focused.
  • Try a couple of different settings on your camera. If you have automatic “scene” settings, try the food and/or museum settings first. Turn the flash off if the camera sets it off automatically. If you are tinkering with manual settings, try adjusting the exposure compensation to a brighter setting.

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  • Load your photos to your computer from your camera before you take the scene apart. Seeing the images on a bigger screen gives you another perspective and you can see what needs tweaking, fix it and reshoot it right away.
  • Be prepared to work fast, as soon as that sun sets you have a limited amount of time to use that dwindling light. If you can, do it again the following night. If you’re an early bird, try this at dawn but set up the shot the day before when you can see, have the candles ready to light and have a piece of cardboard or plastic to sit, kneel or lay down on.
  • Have something else that lights up in the shot. That little light-up ghost helped to illuminate some more details outside the pumpkin house. If you have string lights, see how they look just laid behind the house, or in front of the house and the edge of the shot.
Halloween Miniature Garden

I cut the squares for windows, then sliced up the cast-off pieces to make the “window panes” and just wedged them in place. The pieces will dry out and shrink so either keep some extra pieces cold and damp to replace the strips when needed. If they dry out too much, get the hot glue gun to tack them in place from the inside. (Assuming the inside flesh of the pumpkin has dried out as well. Remember that it’s only temporary.)

Miniature Garden Clean-Up Tip: For your Halloween set-up, leave the fallen leaves scattered around the miniature garden. It will look more natural. Don’t worry about detailing the garden if your photographing in the dark, the focus will be whatever is lit up. In this example, the eye will go to the pumpkin house first, the ghost second, and then take in the rest of the scene.

Miniature Halloween pumpkin house

The impromptu patio was taken out of a miniature garden and reused here. It’s made from our Mini Patio Mix Kit, a special recipe just for miniature gardens. You can customize to fit any garden and won’t wash away in the rain.

Have a happy and safe Halloween! 

In case you missed it:

How to Carve a Miniature Pumpkin

Halloween in the Miniature Garden

Our main website with galleries and FAQs

Our online store, The Miniature Garden Center

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

Miniature Garden Trees

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Announcing the NEW Miniature Garden Society, 2.0!

Announcing the NEW Miniature Garden Society, 2.0!

It’s a brand new, totally focused website on everything gardening in miniature with all the bells and whistles!**

If you’ve been following us for awhile, you would have heard about our Miniature Garden Society member’s only website opening up a few months ago. Well, truth be told, it did get lots of kudos, oohs and ahhs, but it couldn’t add any community, forums or post-ability to make it just that more fun. BUT, alas! Have no fear because your miniature gardener is here!

Welcome to the NEW Miniature Garden Society website! It’s all that and more. Now that we have some roots and branches to the site, it’s time to get it really growing. Personally, I can’t wait because it’s a place to share all our ideas and information that didn’t fit into this book – nor did it fit into this book either. Lol!

Yup! Can’t tell you any more – need to get back to the new site! Learn more about it here. 

**May contain fairies. :o)

 

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

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Decorating Your Miniature Garden for a Happy July Fourth Weekend and Canada Day!

Happy Fourth in the Miniature Garden!

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Decorating Your Miniature Garden for a Happy July Fourth Weekend & Canada Day!

Here are some fun ideas that you can implement in your own miniature gardens or fairy gardens for the big weekend. Have a safe and fun weekend Fellow Miniature Gardeners!

Find the items in the photos through the links to our online Miniature Garden Center store and the flag-banners are in our etsy store!

Happy Fourth in the Miniature Garden!

Having fun decorating in detail! This is the smallest size of our USA flag banner, there are three different-sized banners in the PDF that you can use in different ways.  I just tacked the banner to the underneath of the umbrella with a bit of tape.

Find the patio umbrella here.

Find the USA Flag Banner DIY Download here.

Happy Fourth in the Miniature Garden!

I wanted it to look like a party, that’s confetti and tiny beads sprinkled on the deck. I found the miniature fireworks at our local dollhouse miniature show. More details are in the Mini Garden Gazette this week.

Find the made-in-the-USA cedar deck here.

Find that Wood Bench with Tables here.

Find the trellis in the back here.

Find the miniature version of the Gardening in Miniature book shown on the bench, here.

Sign up for the Mini Garden Gazette newsletter right here.

Happy Fourth in the Miniature Garden!

Our custom shabby chic Adirondack chair add a bit of charm to the corner of the garden.

Find the Shabby Chic Adirondack here.

See our miniature bedding plants for sun here.

Happy Fourth in the Miniature Garden!

Cuteness in the sandbox! Lol! It makes you really feel like a kid again. The tiny USA flags are toothpicks – find them at your local party store.

Find the NEW weatherproofed miniature sandbox here. It comes with pails and the miniature sand.

Find the Mini Patio Mix Kit here.

Happy Fourth in the Miniature Garden!

Happy Fourth from your fellow miniature gardeners at TwoGreenThumbs.com!

Find new and back in stock trees for your miniature gardening here, shop by light or shop by zone.

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day in the Miniature Garden!

Last but not least, we can’t forget our neighbors to the north!! Happy Canada Day!

Find the Canada Flag Banner DIY Download here.

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, click the photo above. Or Amazon.com has it at a better price, of course.

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Troubleshooting Miniature Plants in the Miniature Garden

Ladybug in the Mini Garden

Jump on these “Kodak Moments” in the miniature garden. When you come across a photo opportunity, drop everything and get the camera. You’ll pat yourself on the back for it later.

Trying Something New in the Miniature Garden

“My plant is turning brown and getting leggy, it was fine before
I got hold of it, what am I doing wrong?”

It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out learning to garden, or if you’ve been gardening for twenty years, some plants can be tricky to learn how to grow. In our Miniature Garden Center, we normally test each plant for resilience, which is why you won’t see much changes in our core inventory of true miniature trees, shrubs and bedding plants.

We have a customer that buys 5 or 6 of each plant, knowing that she will lose a couple of them while learning what the plant Miniature Gardening with TwoGreenThumbs.comneeds. “One will die right away because I’ll try to grow it in the wrong place… “ She was quite funny and surprisingly quite serious. This is indeed extreme. The garden maxim, “Right plant, right place” helps tremendously!

But sometimes I adapt her point of view when I’m shopping for new plants I’ve never grown before. I’ll pick up at least three of the same plants – or I try to if my budget allows, and I do make sure I put the “right plant in the right place” and not force any plant to my bidding.

In other words, don’t get discouraged if you kill a plant. They don’t grow on trees – a good lot of them are trees! There are multitudes of microclimates throughout any region so you may have to try a couple of different situations to find out what the plant needs. And yes, it may discouraging but, out of your learning curve, you create opportunities!

I’ve written about how plants tell you when they are unhappy, so here’s a quick recap on some of the signs you’ll see from the plant and what the issues could be. Keep in mind these are sweeping generalities because we are not talking of the individual plant, just the issues.

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Light Issues

Snail in the miniature garden

A visitor in the miniature garden. He didn’t stay long, there wasn’t anything in this miniature garden that suited his tastes.

Leggy branches – The plant wants more light. Move closer to the light source or out in the sun more. Wait to see new growth at the crown of the plant (the base) before shearing back the leggy branches and then the plant should flush in nicely.

Dried tops of leaves – Too much light at once. The light has scorched the leaves of the plant. Move it away from the light or give it more shade. Wait for new growth before clipping off damaged leaves. Note that if you cut all the damaged leaves off without waiting for the plant to show you it is recovering by putting out new growth, you are cutting off its food source.

Water Issues

Soggy soil, black soil or soil is growing mold or moss – you are either watering too much or the pot doesn’t have a drainage hole. Back off the watering, let the soil dry out to barely damp, churn up top surface of the soil. Unless you’ve chosen water/moisture-loving plants, make sure the pot has a drainage hole.

Soil is crusty, peeling away from the side of the container – Not enough water. When soil dries out completely, the water rolls right off of it. Prevent this by churning up the top layer of the soil, place the pot in a bucket or similar container, water it thoroughly, letting the water drain out of the drainage hole.

Conifer Dieback in an Hinoki Cypress

Preventative Care: Check your miniature and dwarf conifers for “Conifer Dieback.” It’s how the little plants exfoliate. Stop and clean it out whenever you see it so the plant can breathe. If you put it off for another day, you will forget about it and it will be too late. (Speaking from experience!)

Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.com

Soil Issues

Soil for Containers – Use potting soil only. Yes, I know your garden bed is full of soil but that’s different. Potting soil has certain things in the mix that are ideal for a contained environment. Garden soil will turn to mud in a pot. Stay away from Miracle-Gro soil or soil with fertilizers in them. They are supposedly best for vegetables or seasonal container – although I have’t heard many good things about that kind of soil, regardless what plants are used.

Soil for the garden beds – There are many different types of soil in the gardens across the world. Consult with a knowledgeable gardener or visit your local independent garden center in your area. Bring a sample with you for them to see. They will know exactly what you need – or don’t need.

White stuff on top of the soil or on the side of the pot – It’s a big word for the small stuff: efflorescence. It’s normally a build up of salts and other mild chemicals accumulated from the watering. It may be an issue for more sensitive plants but generally it’s harmless. You can scoop it up and throw it out or churn it back into the soil. If it appears on the sides for the pot or on the miniature patio, wipe it away as you see it because it will harden over time.

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All Issues

Miniature Garden Vignette

When the groundcovers start to invade your patio, clip the individual branches back, (as opposed to shearing them all at once,) to make it look more natural.

The internet has become a great resource for gardeners. You can literally type what you see in the search bar and you’ll find it quickly using the image search. I found a huge bug in the backyard last week, it was huge, (okay, it was huge by my wimpy standards) striped and, well, huge! So I typed, “big striped bug” in the search bar and there he was! A Lined June Beetle! Who woulda thought? Be sure to look at a couple of different “answers” or authority sites to verify the information is correct.

Another fantastic resource is your independent garden center. There is usually at least one walking plant encyclopedia working there – you know those brainiac people that know every plant, how it grows, what it needs and the history behind it? THOSE people are fantastic resources that can help and there’s a good bet they know exactly what you are talking about. Bring a photo with you or snip a sample branch or leaf off and seal it in a plastic bag to show them. Gardeners love to show off their plant knowledge so ask away!

So, the moral of this long blog post is that if you have a plant that is not working for your situation and your not able to adjust to save it within a reasonable time – do not fret! Every plant that you lose opens the door to trying another plant and, chances are it will be a better fit for you anyway!

 

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The world’s bestselling book on the hobby! Click in to get your copy autographed. Or, find it on Amazon [dot] com!

 

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First Time Ever! A Miniature Garden Society Built for YOU!

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First Time Ever! A Miniature Garden Society Built for YOU!

We are doing the happy dance over here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center! Our new Miniature Garden Society website is finally ready to open to the public! But I had to laugh at my blog title though, most things we do here are “firsts!”

I have mentioned before, when I submitted my first manuscript to Timber Press, about half of the content that I had collected for the Gardening in Miniature book was not included. This was one of the many reasons for starting the Society website, to have a place to put it out there for you. Well it has happened again, when the writing the second manuscript that I just passed to Timber a couple weeks ago, I seemed to have generated twice as much content than what was needed. Now, I am SO looking forward to posting all my new ideas for you to see in this new members-only website!

There is a saying “creativity has babies,” which means that if you stay creative you will get even more creative. It is my mission with this new adventure to get your creativity locked in gear by collecting the details and information that you need to enjoy miniature gardening all in one place.

You will have access to me and my resources all the time. If I don’t have an answer, I’ll find the right information so you can make the right choices that, in the end, will save you a lot of time and money. This way you can focus on being your creative self, rather then spending your valuable time searching the infinite web for the right answer or product – you can enjoy and create in your garden, or with your miniatures instead.

Do you want to know what else is included? Click here for more information.

If you are ready for some high-quality, somewhat obsessive gardening in miniature, then come on over and join us! There is only one chance for a beginning and we are just getting startedfor more information and/or to join, click here.

 

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Winter Garden Tips for Gardening in Miniature!

Snowy Miniature Garden

Brrr! Our miniature plants and trees do far better in the snow and freezing weather than I do! This was from the 2 week-winter that crippled Seattle for almost 2 weeks in 2008.

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Winter Garden Tips for Gardening in Miniature!

Here is a quick round-up of winterizing garden tips for your in-ground miniature gardens and your contained mini gardens in pots – for fairy gardening and railroad gardening too. YouGet Crafty with Two Green Thumbs! may find this a bit early, but it will give you plenty of time to prepare for winter in your area. I’ve included several gift ideas too – it’s never to early to start creating a miniature garden for the hard-to-shop for person on your holiday list. Let us know if you have any questions or any additional tips in the comments below!

Ideas on how to adapt and adjust to the new winter weather in the miniature garden.  Container vs. in-ground gardening, choosing the right plants and perhaps a way to change your thinking about plants in order to do what you want.

Preparing for winter in the miniature garden – how to work with the seasons, links to more: winterizing your in-ground or your container gardens and how to keep miniature gardening throughout the winter.

Thinking of trying artificial snow? Read this before you do: Miniature Garden Lesson.

Make your gifts this year and practice your favorite hobby at the same time: The All Time Most Thoughtful and Incredible Creative Gifts of All Time!

What to dig deeper into gardening in miniature? Join us here!

Lights for the miniature garden or fairy garden are water resistant and have a timer too!

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Photography Tips for Miniature Gardens and Fairy Gardens

Sometimes a shot that should work, doesn't look right. Here are some tips and ideas to get the most out of your miniature garden or fairy garden photography.

Sometimes a shot that should work, doesn’t look right. Here are some tips and ideas to get the most out of your miniature garden or fairy garden photography.

Photography Tips for Miniature Gardens and Fairy Gardens

Welcome to the dog daze of summah! This time of year often brings fleeting moments of reflection as we see the subtle signs of the changes of the season coming soon. The odd breeze that feels a little cooler, the late summer sunflowers doing their thing or the end-of-summer vegetables suddenly big and ripe, getting ready to fall of the vine. But, alas, let’s not completely pack-in summer just yet, you still have at least one thing to do in your miniature garden or fairy garden before summer ends: document it! Miniature Gardening: Go Ahead, Act Your Shoesize

Different types of gardens, miniature or full-sized, can come into their prime at different times of the year. It’s really dependent upon what you are growing in your miniature garden and where you are growing it, of course. A garden full of miniature and dwarf conifers just may look its best in the middle of winter. If the garden is made of of perennials and ground covers, right now, in the middle of August, may be the peak time for your garden. This year in Seattle, we are in a record drought and we are only watering what is necessary so I plan to photograph this year’s stage later in September. Whatever time that may be for you, remember grab your camera and document it. Gardens grow, plants grow, seasons change – but you’ll have the photo for forever.

Here are some more reasons to convince you to make the effort to photograph your work:

  • Bragging rights
  • You’ll need a reminder in the dead of winter
  • You can make a T-shirt or a mug for yourself, like I did here.
  • And give them as super-easy one-of-a-kind presents for the holidays for unsuspecting family and friends
  • Use the photos for your screen saver or wallpaper for your computer
  • You can start a scrapbook of your progress and show the stages of growth throughout the seasons and the years to add another level to your hobby

Here are some previous links to blogs with more tips and techniques for photographing small scenes:

Lights! Camera! Action! Photographing your Miniature Garden

Photographing Your Miniature Garden or Railroad Garden

And here is a visual essay with some more pointers to help you get the most out of your miniature garden. It’s very similar to getting your own portrait done, make sure all the details are primped and fluffed-up before you preserve your scene for all of eternity.

Establish your shot first, or choose the area that you want to document that has a focal point. In this study, the house and seating area is the focal point.

Click to enlarge the photos:

Cleaning:

Clean up the dead leaves. Carefully trim the dead branches and leaves from the trees and shrubs, pluck the dead leaves from the perennial ground covers. Clean up any debris on the garden "floor" to help un clutter the shot. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Clean up the dead leaves. Carefully trim the dead branches and leaves from the trees and shrubs, pluck the dead leaves from the perennial ground covers. Clean up any debris on the garden “floor” to help un clutter the shot. Work from one side to the other to make sure you get everything, then do it again. (This is what the professionals do, that’s why they get paid the big-bucks.)

Straightening:

You may have to click this photo to enlarge it. Make every accessory and house level to each other and to the garden. In a full-sized garden, the ground is normally level and each surface, or line, is either parallel or perpendicular with the house. You can see how topsy-turvy the scene looks now. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

You may have to click this photo to enlarge it, the lines show how topsy-turvy the scene looks. Make every accessory and house level to each other and to the garden. In a full-sized garden, the ground is normally level and each surface, or line, is either parallel or perpendicular with the house.

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Framing:

Pick your frame. Do you want to use it as a print for your wall? Or for a screensaver? Choose a rectangular orientation. This rectangle could be bigger to capture more of the interesting flora behind and beside the house. Leaving room on the other side of the bridge on the left side, you can include that wonderful trunk of the Pieris japonica 'Little Heath,' or Little Heath Japanese Andromeda. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Pick your frame. Do you want to use it as a print for your wall? Or for a screensaver? Choose a rectangular orientation. This rectangle could be bigger to capture more of the interesting flora behind and beside the house. I would leave more room on the other side of the bridge on the left side too, you can include that wonderful trunk of the Pieris japonica ‘Little Heath,’ or Little Heath Japanese Andromeda with the variegated leaves.

 

A vertical orientation looks great on social media, but, more importantly, it might be a better fit for where you want it framed and hanging in your house. In this frame, there is a bit too much room above the house and the balance is a little disproportionate. The house-scene should be more towards the middle of the shot, or slightly off center for more interest. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

A vertical orientation looks great on social media, but, more importantly, it might be a better fit for where you want it framed and hanging in your house. In this frame, there is a bit too much room above the house and the balance is a little disproportionate. The house-scene should be more towards the middle of the shot, or slightly off center for more interest.

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A square orientation to the frame creates a cosy shot if you want to focus on the house-scene, but, again for this scene, I would pan-out to include the trees and foliage around the house too. http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

A square orientation to the frame creates a cosy shot if you want to only focus on the house-scene, but, again for this scene, I would pan-out to include the trees and foliage around the house only because I’ve gone to all the trouble of planting and growing them in.

Perspective:

You have several choices of perspective when photographing your miniature garden or fairy garden. The above photos are from a worm’s-eye-view (or from the fairy-eye’s point of view.) But you can raise the viewpoint up a little to make a squirrel’s-eye-view (Yep, that’s our new technical term for it. Lol!) And, of course, you can do a bird’s eye view and shoot it from above, looking down into the scene but this doesn’t really read well if you have a bunch of trees in the way.

Same scene, different day. By moving the viewpoint up a bit, you may be able to work-around the uneven-ness of the ground if you having trouble getting everything level.  http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Same scene, different day. By moving the viewpoint up and over a bit, you may be able to work-around the uneven-ness of the ground if you having trouble getting everything level.

Take a couple of test shots and load them on your computer or tablet for inspection. If it’s a go, shoot away. Take plenty of photos, you can always delete them but you can’t always recreate them.

Once you capture your great shot, remember to back it up or save it somewhere else just in case. Or, maybe make a T-shirt out of it. Lol!

The fairy houses and accessories in this blog is from our good friends over at Plow & Hearth. Find our bestselling Gardening in Miniature book there too!

For more realistic solutions for your miniature garden or railroad garden, visit your Miniature Garden Center store here.

Like this? Are you serious about miniature gardening? Join us here for your free monthly Mini Garden Gazette newsletter. You’ll get a free PDF just for joining us. Sign up here.

Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.com

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