Archive for Gardening in Miniature Book

Turning Up the Heat on the New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

You’ll find more photos of this scene in the new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book. It’s a room box that I made in 1999 before I started the business. 

Turning Up the Heat on the New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

See what I did there? We’re at the end of a heatwave here in Seattle so I’ve got heat on the brain – or maybe my brain is just overheated.

This is kind of a “‘If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain” blog. I’m bringing you the reviews to new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book because I just KNOW that you’ll enjoy it just as much as these people have!

It took awhile to accumulate these – people must have dove right into the projects from the book and forgot about leaving some feedback for us. Lol! BUT! No worries, we have some now thanks to our fellow miniature gardeners, friends, and my parents – Lol! Thought you might find that interesting at least as they both eagerly asked the same question.

The Log Border Fence project, behind the jug, is 3 years old in this photo.

Emailed Feedback:

Hey Janit,

I’m absolutely loving this latest book! So well-crafted in every way, beautifully written, wonderful photographs, and often times readily available materials. Really brilliant! I also just really got a chance to go through your kit too of the Mini patio mix, really well put together my friend.

All the best,
Michael Yurkovic
AtomicMiniature.com

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Hi Janit!

I just love your book! You write so well!  The book really flows and you know just when to add a bit of humor. I often had a smile on my face as I read.  🙂  The photos are gorgeous and the book feels so comfortable in my hands. It will always be a treasure!

Give Steve our best and thanks again for sharing your beautiful book!

Love,
Barb and Rick
Owens Gardens

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Hi Janit,

Thanks, your book arrived late yesterday afternoon. It is a very good looking piece of work, excellent Janit.

I assume the book is on sale, when do you get a reading on how the sales are going ?

Love ———————  Dad

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

The Miniature Atrium project is a fun one to play with. You’re not stuck with any one design so you can update, reinterpret, add to the scene or just play with it anytime.

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THANK YOU!!  I love it! – and the dedication –

Your book looks great – now I’m going to sit down and have a good look, page by page.  At first glance, it’s just like someone like me needs – detailed instructions. Boy, what a lot of detail!

How are the sales going? Or is it too early to tell?

Again, many thanks – I’m so glad to get this!

love,
Mom

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HOLY CHRISTMAS CRACKERS.

Your book is fabulous.

Thorough. Charming. Endearing. Da Bomb Diggidy!

Can’t wait to see it sweep the world.

Congratulations,

Melissa,
EmpressofDirt.com

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Loved your book.  Michael brought it to Castine.  So I got a good look, congrats…

May your weeds be few and your blossoms many.

Pamela

 

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http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

The make-ahead Wedding Projects can, not only be therapeutic for a stressed-out bride, but it can also be your “perfect” wedding in miniature.

Feedback from Amazon:

From PSusan: If you are a fan of fairy gardens or miniature garden pots then this is the book for you. The Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop (Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World) by Janit Calvo has a wealth of ideas with clear instructions on how to make it happen. The introduction is especially nice if you are new to this kind of gardening. The explanation and close-up photos of the tools used is extremely useful. For each individual project a detailed list of needed materials is given, making this a wonderful DIY resources.

The book is organized by theme with several that do not look too complicated. Others use tile work that increases the complexity. Two of my favorites are the Zen Sand Garden and the Wardian Case. The Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop is great especially for the whimsical child that stays within us as adults. The publisher through Net Galley provided a copy.

 

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Step by step projects vary in detail but they all teach you a technique or a skill can be adapted for many other ideas – large and small.

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From dogdaysdog: Ahhhh – exactly what I needed to get my inspiration back! Calvo did a great job with the pics and gives great ideas for what one can create in a fun miniature garden. Guess what everyone on my Christmas list is getting this year! So fun to make and personalize to each individual. Get the book and get inspired!

 

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From Dee: Janit has written a fun additional DIY book for the miniature gardener. The photos are very clear and appealing. The list of needed tools and supplies is very thorough. The chapters are themed and easy to follow and give plenty of information to complete the ideas presented. I only wish it had more.

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Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

From the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book. I needed images for the Workshop Chapter and this room box I made in 1999 was the perfect answer.

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From SBA: Both of Janit Calvo’s books are essential for learning the basics of miniature gardening, and advanced techniques. Janit’s ideas are truly unique and fun to apply to my miniature gardens.

 

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Okay, in all honesty there was one 2-star review but she thought it was a book about making fairy houses and fairy furniture. (Not sure why she would think that as all of the summaries and marketing material mentions the many different projects.) See it on Amazon here.

Well, there you have it. Have you got your copy yet? See more sneak-peeks for the book here, here and here.

Like this? Join us for your FREE Mini Garden Gazette newsletter delivered to your inbox each Friday, sign up here.

Want to dig even deeper in to this delicious hobby? Visit our Miniature Garden Society to see if it’s a good fit for you here.

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Dig Deeper with our New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book! Click the picture to get your autographed copy from our online store. 

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

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Miniature Garden Tutorial Video: Understanding Scale

Miniature Garden Tutorial: Understanding Scale in the Miniature Garden

Miniature Garden Tutorial Video: Understanding Scale

Miniature Garden Tutorial: Understanding Scale

A large-sized miniature garden or 1″ scale. The pot is about 22″ across and about 1′ deep in the middle. I planted the tree and shrub closer to the middle of the pot so their roots will have plenty of room to grow.

Miniature gardening is just one way we can enjoy miniatures in today’s world. I’ve written about The Biggest Little Industry on Earth many years ago, and gathered a long list of how we love anything miniature. Heck, careers have been made out of miniatures and billions of dollars have been exchanged because of miniatures! Stop to think about how much they are a part of our every-day and you will see miniatures in a different light.

With all types of miniature-making, scale plays a very important role. Without using scale as a rule-of-thumb in your gardens, scenes or dioramas, the project would look like a random collection of items, a box or shelf full of stuff. I’ve written about the use of scale before too, (linked below,) but in the gardening in miniature world we used scale a bit differently – and I can’t think of any other comparison in the miniature industry so, again, this hobby stands apart from the rest.

You see, when the right miniature plants and trees are used in the miniature garden, it’s only the accessories that have to be in scale with each other. The plants we use and recommend at TwoGreenThumbs.com, for the most-part, adapt perfectly to almost any miniature scale. Check out the video demonstration to see how scale is used in this miniature garden and you’ll see what I mean.

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The tree behind the birdbath is a Just Dandy Hinoki Cypress, the tree to the left is a Jacqueline Verkade Canada Hemlock. See what’s up in our store here, or shop by your zone here.

Your Miniature Garden Center

Apropos Proportion

Now let’s go a bit farther and talk a little about proportion, a valuable attribute for any kind of design, build or fabrication.

We know that the plants can adapt to any scale BUT the overall size of the garden is still a factor.

For example, if you use small-sized accessories for your in-ground garden, they won’t get noticed and will get lost at a distance. Large-sized accessories are ideal for in-ground because they can be seen from a-ways-away, like from your deck or from a window in the kitchen.

Different sized containers work better with certain scales too. Small accessories get lost in big pots and, this is a very common oversight, large-sized accessories can easily overwhelm small pots.

This is adapted from our bestselling Gardening in Miniature book, Chapter 3, Shrinking the Garden Rules:

  • For containers that are 2” to 5” wide, use small-sized (1/4″)miniature accessories.
  • For containers that are 5” to 10” wide, use medium-sized (1/2″) accessories.
  • For containers 10” and up, use large-sized (1″) containers.

Of course, with any creative rule, there is a bit of wiggle-room between the sizes/scales, but I think you get the gist.

In summary: Make sure all your accessories match in scale and are in proportion to the size of the container. For in-ground miniature gardens, use large-size or 1″ scale.

Link to more about scale, with more photo-examples:

Fun With Scale in the Miniature Garden

Miniature Gardening 105: Sizing Up Your Accessories

Shop by Size:

Shop all One Inch Scale

Shop all Half Inch Scale

Shop all Quarter Inch Scale

Let me know if you have any comments or questions below – it tells me what I’ve missed!

If you are serious about learning, creating and digging deeper into the miniature garden hobby, join us here.

Best selling Gardening in Miniature book

We wrote the book on it! All you need to get started in this wonderful hobby is in this book! Click the book to see it up in the online store. 

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Who Else Wants to Grow Their Own World?

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

Click the picture to register for the WorkSHOP, from 2 to 4pm. Or come by and check out the Trunk Show anytime between 2 and 6pm. Either way, you WILL leave inspired, I guarantee it. 

Who Else Wants to Grow Their Own World?

You’ll go home happy and truly inspired. I know that for a fact because everyone that has taken a workshop with me has not only gone home pleased-as-punch, but a bit giddy too. Lol!

So come and get your own miniature garden together with us! We’ve chosen our favorite miniature garden kit because it’s good for indoors, or outdoors in the greater Seattle region. Indoors, it will need bright indirect light – if you don’t have it, I have a very easy solution for that too – AND it’ll match your decor!

It’s also a book signing! Come and pick up your copy of the NEW Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World – hot off the press! You can finally find out what the fuss is all about!

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

This is the miniature garden that you will make at the WorkSHOP on July 15th! A calm, serene little scene that you can call your own. You don’t have to design it like it did, either – you can do you own thing because, after all, it is your own world. :o)

 

 

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

The WorkSHOP is only $75 and it includes learning all about what plants, parts and pieces to use so you can build your own miniature gardens at home, anytime you want to – or anytime you need a great gift to give!! The class supplies, if bought separately, will cost you almost $100 + shipping! (Yes plus shipping, because you simply can’t get some of this stuff at any brick & mortar store!)

 

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

I’ll be bringing more miniature gardens, garden accessories, fairy garden ideas and dollhouse garden miniatures too! The Trunk Show is on during and after the WorkSHOP and goes to 6pm! 

 

 

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Dig Deeper with our New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book! Come and get your autographed copy at the Trunk Show and WorkSHOP too. Copies will be available at The Handmade Showroom even after this event. 

See The Handmade Showroom’s website here.

See the Pacific Place’s website here – there is parking!

See Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center here.

See MiniatureGarden.com for everything you need for this wonderfully creative hobby here. 

Like this? Want a FREE dose of miniature gardening almost every Friday? Join us for the world’s only newsletter on the hobby, The Mini Garden Gazette! (scroll down a bit. :o)

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

Click the picture to register for the WorkSHOP! The Trunk Show is on until 6pm the same day! 

 

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Sharing Ideas with the New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

The Gnome Garden in the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book was a fun one to create – I’m still pinching myself that I had this opportunity to share my ideas with the world. The projects in this garden are the gnome door and the log border that lines the “veggie bed.”

Sharing Ideas with the New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

When opening day came around at the big Sorticulture Garden Art Show last weekend in Everett, Wa., (about an hour north of Seattle,) fellow miniature gardeners started introducing themselves right away. It was an awesome welcome-back!

We’ve been trying to figure out the last time we set up our Miniature Garden Center Store at a garden show and, well, we decided it’s been a few years because we just couldn’t remember. So it was an extra special treat to see a boatload of old friends and customers! We also had the chance to put a face to the names that we’ve been seeing on the orders from our online stores too. Super fun! We must do that again before too long!

Here’s a photo essay of our display that we brought with us. Note that these gardens were made 3 & 4 years ago. You can compare them to the photos in the Prop Shop book to see how much – or how little, lol! – they’ve grown.

And apologies, we were so busy, we didn’t get many other photos of the booth, the miniature gardens that I made for it, (!) nor any of my fellow miniature gardeners. I guess I need to take a page from the younger generation and just have my phone out ALL the time, ready to click, click, click away! :o)

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

A birthday cake for the miniature gardener. Lol! I’ve thought of several versions of birthday cake gardens throughout the years, it was fun to finally get one of them out of my head. In this chapter, you will learn how to make that fun little garden sign and how to customize any container.

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Bird’s eye view of the Deserted Island Survival garden. The projects in this chapter are the treehouse and the wee cave. Both of these projects have been out in the weather all year since they were made in 2015 and have survived.

 

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

In the World Tour section of the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book, we took a trip to Spain. In this chapter, I teach you how to age a resin fountain and how to create a pretty mosaic patio in a few simple steps.

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Aquascaping was supposed to be one of the chapters, that’s why we have an odd number of 37 projects in the book. After killing 17 fish, I decided upon an easier version: a miniature garden that looks like it’s underwater. Can you tell it’s one of my favorite? The projects in this chapter are a sea throne and a tiny glass float.

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Can you tell this is another favorite of mine? I was limited in what I could bring to this display because it sits in full sun. Many of the gardens in the book were for indoors or for shade. In this chapter, I show you how to create a miniature garden folly (back, right) and how to age and weather a miniature brick patio.

In each chapter in the book, I also go into the plant choices for each theme, why I chose them and how you can adapt this way of using the plants to help get your theme across to the viewer. Considering all the parts, plants and pieces for your theme not only raises the bar on the quality of miniature gardening that you can produce, it makes the thrill-of-the-hunt much more interesting and satisfying. After sifting through all the projects in the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book, you will have a good idea of how to get the same results.

Get your autographed copy of the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book here.

Find it at a better price if you don’t need it autographed here up on Amazon (affiliate link.)

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Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

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It’s a Book Launch Party for NEW Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book!

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

From the NEW Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book – be your own diva bride and create your backyard wedding just how you imagine it. Diva-bride-drama is optional, but it would be MINImal. :o)

It’s a Book Launch Party for NEW Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book!

Insert much rejoicing here!

It’s like Christmas when you were a kid. You can’t rush time and fast forward to the big day either. You know it’s coming and that it will soon be here but the wait is oh-so-painful! When is our new book going to get here? It’s TAKING FOREVER PLUS ONE DAY ALREADY!! Lol!

So, let’s get our minds off of that and talk a bit more about the book party! Everyone loves a party, right? Well, we’ve gone ahead and reserved a booth at the best garden art show in the greater Seattle area: Sorticulture Garden Art Show! We’re going back to this year’s show, June 9th thru 11th, to throw a party to celebrate our big book launch!

WHY IS IT THE BEST GARDEN SHOW?

Well, personally speaking, they are the only show in the area that fully embraces what we do here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center! We’ve been displaying our miniature gardens for years now. We used to vend at that show for years – many moons ago – and it helped us spread the joy of gardening in miniature far and wide throughout the region. When we were unable to vend, they approached us to display, which helped keep the cycle going. I guess Sorticulture wins the award for “Longest Garden Show for Gardening in Miniature!” Here is our display from 2011. And here is one from 2014.

SO, here is what is on the agenda for Sorticulture so far for this year, because we’re “Bringing It!” The photos are from the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book, these photos were taken by Kate Baldwin, the woman who helped with the first Gardening in Miniature book too.

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

From the World Tour section, this is the America Garden on aging miniatures and creating a real hanging snail shell planter. 

MINIATURE GARDEN MAKE & TAKES

Yep! Have a seat and make a small miniature garden of your own to take home! You’ll have all the ingredients there, at your fingertips! Get your fingers in the soil and create a tiny living world of your very own from succulents and sedums for a super-easy-to-maintain miniature garden. Choose your own accessory to finish off your masterpiece from our Made in the USA accessories. Learn how to install a custom patio that won’t wash away. Awesome. While supplies last.

DAILY RAFFLES

We’ll be giving away Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book each day throughout the show! Come on by and sign-up for our email list, confirm through your email, and your name will go in the hat to win. You don’t have to be present to win – we will mail it to you!

FREE GIFT WITH EVERY ORDER $10 or MORE

Get a FREE gift with every order, $10 or more while at the show! Choose from a miniature accessory, or one of our sample kits!

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

The Great Britain Garden with a miniature folly. The other countries with projects to match, include Spain, India and Japan.

SEE THE MINIATURE GARDENS FROM THE BOOK

We will be bringing as many of the miniature gardens from the book as we can fit in the truck. You’ll be able to see how much (or how little) they have grown over the last 3 years. They are grown-in and lovely!

SEE THE FINAL PROJECTS, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

And you’ll see all of the final projects that are in the book! You’ll be able to see the wide variety of skills and techniques that are taught in each of the projects.

 

 

GET YOUR OWN COPY OF THE NEW GARDENING IN MINIATURE AUTOGRAPHED!

We’re creating a special book plate for this event to say, “Thanks!” You’ll always remember what a great day you had at Sorticulture!

JANIT’S FAIRY CAKES

Yep. I’m having a blast with this idea. Way fun.

I have other plans up my sleeve too, but you’ll have to some come and see them! :O)

Oh, here is the Mother’s Day miniature garden from the Prop Shop book, in case you missed it.

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Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

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Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Mother’s Day

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Mother's Day

The same garden that is shown in the Mother’s Day chapter in the new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book, 2 years later. That is an Abbott’s Pygmy Canada Hemlock with Dwarf London Pride below.

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Mother’s Day

A short blog series on creating my latest book, Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop, due to be released at the end of the month. You can see my perspective as a new craft-author and I’ll show you some of the experiments that I had to go through to get the final projects. 

It was a bit of a shock to see it. It brought a tear to my eye just like the first book did. I couldn’t answer Steve’s question for fear that I would break out in tears if I started talking. Lol! My Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book had arrived while I was in Chicago and I finally got to touch it and hold it in my hands. It is just beautiful! It’s bigger and thicker than the first book and to see all the projects all at once is still an awesome feeling. “Hey, that’s me! That’s my hand! Hey, that came out of my brain!” Lol!

(Click to enlarge the photos.)

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Mother's Day

The Hanging Flower Vase is in the Mother’s Day projects – you can more than a have a “little” fun crafting with Mom on Mother’s Day! 

 

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Mother's Day

Miniature flower arranging is demonstrated in the Mom’s Day chapter as well. I couldn’t replicate the same flowers that were in the book – it’s been too cold here in Seattle this spring and I got a different set of posies to play with!

You see, it was harder than I thought. When the acquisition editor, Juree Sondker, called from Timber Press and asked if I could do a project book for miniature gardeners, I said to myself, “Slam dunk. I can do this so easily! I do projects for my blog all the time…” And then Juree asked if I could get it done in 8 months instead of the full-year they usually give writers to work out a manuscript. “Yes.” I said.

Silly me.

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Mother's Day

When you get your book, you can compare the photos. All the photos in the book were taken in 2015 – and the photo above was taken this week, May of 2017. The lovely Kate Baldwin did the “glory shots” in the book, I did all the project photos and filled in some of the big photos wherever needed. 

 

It was harder than I had ever thought for one or more of several reasons:

  1. The project was too simple.
  2. The project was too complicated.
  3. The materials were too hard to find for the average crafter.
  4. The project looked really stupid.
  5. The project needed way more research.
  6. The project just didn’t work out at the end.
  7. It was raining and I couldn’t take any project photos.
  8. It was too dark outside and I couldn’t take any project photos.
  9. It was too sunny and I couldn’t take any photos
  10. I forgot to include a much-needed-tool in the photo sequence.
  11. I included something that wasn’t needed in the photo sequence.
  12. I needed a reality pill.
  13. Or maybe a whole jar of them.
  14. Lol!

But, through all the whining and frustration-emails that I sent to Eve Goodman, the editor that I worked with on the book, all the good folks at Team Timber Press have really done a fantastic job of pulling it all together, from the photos to the meticulous editing, into one incredibly awesome book.

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Mother's Day

Betcha can’t make just one!?! Different styles of hanging vases can be used for different occasions. Once you get all your materials out, you may as well make a few more for gifts too.

 

Honestly, if I saw this book in the bookstore, I would not waste my time looking at in the store, I would bring it home and savor the process of going through the pages and projects one by one. But, that’s just me. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the book!

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Mother's Day

My favorite of the bunch. I used netting to make the texture on the outside of the vase (like the green vase above it.) I stained the whole vase afterward with Payne’s Gray acrylic paint. The bead is kept in place by winding the wire right up the top wire, and made to look like a tendril.

 

 

Reserved your copy today and you be one of the first to have yours in your hands too. As with the first book, we’re doing a limited, book-plated edition with the first 100 copies that we send out and there are only a few copies left. Order yours today here.

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Mother's Day

A little Christmas vase. It was fun experiment with the different flowers you can make. I put wee berries in the center of this one. The variables are endless but just make sure it’s to scale so it looks good in your miniature garden.

 

Like this? Want to join us for more miniature garden goodness? Join our email list for your weekly Mini Garden Gazette delivered directly to your inbox each Friday! Join us here.

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Mother's Day

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Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop

Now available for PRE-ORDER! The first edition of Gardening in Miniature sold out before the book was even launched! Reserve your copy TODAY!

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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.

Ad-FallPlanting - 1

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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