Archive for Life-sized Gardening

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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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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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)

 

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Grow Your Own Way for Earth Day

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo and TwoGreenThumbs.com

Grow Your Own Way for Earth Day

Earth Day always brings about moments of reflection about how I treat our planet. I’ve been a tree hugger, a recycler, a reducer, a re-user, and a plant lover for over 30 years. Mother Earth is now one of my business partners, but it wasn’t a straightforward route to this partnership with Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center, but at least it was interesting.

Miniature Gardening with Janit CalvoWhen I first decided to work with plants I tried working with a landscaping company and was hired to pull weeds. It was hard work and the main mission was to get to the next job as fast as possible. We were told to leave some weeds behind to guarantee a callback. (!)

I planted trees in interior British Columbia for three months while waiting for my brother and our friend to finish their tree planting gigs to meet up afterwards and travel south – only to find out they both quit and went back to Toronto after 2 weeks (they lasted ONLY 2 weeks!!) into the season. Now that was eye opening!

I tried working on my own as a solo gardener pulling more weeds but it was very lonely work and I didn’t enjoy being in a strange yard all by myself for hours on end.

I tried to team up with another entrepreneur to create a small gardening and landscape company that we had going but she didn’t want to get serious about it and wanted to stay under the table.

I tried to work for a wholesale florist because I wanted to be surrounded by flowers but I couldn’t handle the hours (4am start time!?! Wha…??) AND the boss wanted me to set up his computer network instead of doing the cashier’s job that I was hired to do, because he knew I had a strong computer background – for $10 per hour. ‘Nuff said.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo and TwoGreenThumbs.com

A peaceful green scene next to the miniature canal. The bather statue is about 2 3/4″ tall. 

And, I tried working at a garden center, but after a full year with the company; I saw the seasonal cycle start again and quickly got bored. They transferred me to the garden accessories department as assistant manager, but my job was to peel little labels off made in China crap and price everything. Yawnsville!

So, what’s my point in reviewing my job history for you? If at first you don’t succeed with anything you do, and you really want it to work out, try and try again.

If that tree didn’t work out in your miniature garden, try another! They don’t grow on trees, they ARE trees!

If that miniature garden didn’t last as long as you expected it to, here’s your chance to experiment with another design or theme and to learn and grow about different plants.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo and TwoGreenThumbs.com

When mixing up different plants in the same pot, you’ll find some grow faster than others BUT with our miniature garden bedding plants (aka ground covers) there is a rule: the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap. So if you divide them every three years you can stay on top of it.

If you used the wrong soil and ruined your first go at miniature gardening. Take it back to the store where you bought the soil so you can vent your frustrations and start to heal – then pick up some organic soil and make another! It’s too fun and cute not to!

If that outdoor plant you tried to grow indoors died, try again with the rule, “right plant, right place” and remember that you can’t fool Mother Nature.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo and TwoGreenThumbs.com

And speaking of environmentally friendly – our Made-in-the-USA genuine cedar trellises and decks are now back in stock! The trellises are staked to stay upright. The cedar will age gracefully as cedar does. You can’t get more realistic in the miniature garden than this! Click the photo to see more in the store. 

If you really want to garden in miniature but haven’t been having any success, leave a description of your situation in the comments below, I’m pretty sure I can give you another angle to work with.

Happy Earth Day! Now go hug a tree – do it gently if it’s miniature.

Like this? Want to join thousands of fellow miniature gardeners that receive our FREE Mini Garden Gazette newsletter? Join us here.

Want to dig deeper into the hobby? Join our new Miniature Garden Society here! We are still getting started and you have a chance to be on the ground floor as one of the founding members. See more information on this new idea right here.

 

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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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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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40 Ways to Crafty Garden Made Fun

GardenMade1

Garden Made: a new book of crafty garden fun!

A brand new book by uber crafter-gardener-blogger, Stephanie Rose of Garden Therapy [dot ca] will keep your creative juices flowing all year long.

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40 Ways to Crafty Garden Made Fun

The brand new book by fellow miniature gardener, Stephanie Rose of Vancouver, Canada, will need a permanent space next to your workbench. Garden Made: A Year of Seasonal Projects to Beautify Your Garden & Your Life will definitely keep your creative juices flowing and your workbench jam-packed with year-round inspiration.

The book is made up of 40 different projects that blend the joy of crafting with the fun of gardening. It’s divided into the four seasons although a lot of the projects can be done anytime and/or modified for an occasion or special holiday. The ideas range in difficulty, as well as the time needed to do them, so you can pick a project on a whim for a rainy Sunday afternoon or pre-plan for a more involved project to tinker with over a long weekend.

Garden Made: a new book of crafty garden fun!

We miniaturized the Rock Spider Sculptures project found on page 124. Once the fine wire was twisted on the tiny rock, we put a dab of crazy glue on the wire-knot to keep them in place. When dry, bend the legs carefully half-way up with a flat-nosed pliers. Add a little flair at the tips of the legs like Stephanie recommended to. Way fun.

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Stephanie has included something for everyone too: many of the projects can be easily adapted for children of all ages, like the Bird’s Nest Helpers or the Flower Pounding. And other projects, like creating a Four Element Candle Trough or a Trash-to-Treasure Solar Chandelier (my favorite!) can easily quench an advanced crafter’s thirst for a good DIY. Find more miniature projects inside the book that include Sand Art Terrariums, Hanging Glass Terrariums and more!

Why a full-sized crafting book on the
Mini Garden Guru blog?
Because creativity has babies!

Being creative in all aspects of your life will make you more creative when you get down to the real work of miniature gardening. Besides, it’s really fun exploring full-sized project ideas, to see what fun you can work into miniature!  

Garden Made: a new book of crafty garden fun!

Stephanie uses full-sized teapots by drilling them (drilling instructions are in the book!) Miniaturize the idea with doll’s tea sets that don’t need drilling. The Sedum cuttings will last for a few weeks with a dash of water now and then.  These would make really fun gifts for your dinner guests to take home. Or create a fun tea party theme for kids with this idea.

Garden Made: a new book of crafty garden fun! Stephanie is a renaissance woman that holds down a very popular website called Garden Therapy – a website chock-full of even more ideas for crafting with and for children, cooking, baking, canning, and just about anything that is cross-pollinated with the garden, food and crafting. Oh, and the beautiful photographs all through her book and her websites, yea – those are hers too. I told you she was a renaissance woman! And yes, I do stalk her around the Internet to see what she is up to. Lol! See more of her work here.

Find the new Garden Made book here: A Year of Seasonal Projects to Beautify Your Garden & Your Life through our Amazon store here.

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