Archive for Life-sized Gardening

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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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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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!

http://twogreenthumbs.com/Miniature_Garden_Society.html

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.

 

http://www.shop.twogreenthumbs.com

 

 

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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.

Want to learn more about miniature gardening? Join us here.

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

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Godzilla [Squirrels] and the Miniature Garden

From the Mini Garden Guru blog

Godzilla and the Miniature Garden

Alright, a squirrel is not miniature Godzilla but they may as well be – they are the perfect-sized monster for our miniature gardens, fairy gardens and railroad gardens.

Squirrels and chipmunks are really Godzillas in miniature.

Squirrels and chipmunks are really Godzilla in miniature.

As you may have noticed in your garden, ’tis the season for chipmunks and squirrels to ramp up their hunting and gathering to a feverish pitch before winter sets in. You would think that in temperate climates, like here in Seattle for example, there wouldn’t be as much of a panic to collect food as we hardly get a a freeze, (and if we do it only lasts a couple of days.) But, alas, there is no reasoning with those big eyes and the fluffy tail  – and off they go digging a huge pit in the middle of the miniature garden. Hey, don’t laugh, it IS a huge pit in miniature! ;o)

So, I asked a bunch of different gardeners on their one cure for the miniature Godzilla: cayenne pepper. Not pepper flakes: the powder. And, you can find it in bulk at your local dollar store. Sprinkle it on the bare soil-spots in your miniature garden, fairy garden, or railroad garden, and the squirrel will move on to easier digs, literally.

Miniature squirrels for the miniature garden add life and action to the scene. Start the story by scattering some scraps around them to make it look like they got into something. Click the picture to see them up in the store.

Miniature squirrels for the miniature garden add life and action to the scene. Start the story by scattering some tiny scraps around them to make it look like they got into something. Click the picture to see them up in the store here and here.

There are other ways of course, get a dog, use natural repellents like garlic sprays or animal urine. (Um, how to you collect that?? UPDATE: Fellow MG, Susan mentioned that its found on Amazon. Ew. Lol!)

There are sound emitters, sprinkler systems and motion detectors that you could spend your money on as well. Or, you could fence in the pots, (ugly to look at,) use plastic forks (ugly again until the plants hide them.) Lastly, you can offer the squirrels something better, like sunflower seeds and refill it twice a day. If your thinking peanuts, remember that peanut shells are poisonous to dogs, and the squirrels plants them EVERYWHERE, so I don’t recommend them.

But, with the cayenne pepper, especially for the miniature garden, you can really be precise as to where you sprinkle it. You can protect any part of the garden that you want to, with special attention to the freshly planted areas where the soil is easy to dig. The dark color of the pepper blends into the soil-color and the treatment won’t take-away from your miniature garden scene.

Like this? Join us for your free Mini Garden Gazette newsletter delivered straight to your inbox on the first Friday of each month – go here to fill out the form on our main website.

Miniature Gardening with TwoGreenThumbs.com

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Miniaturizing Mulch for Miniature Gardens or Fairy Gardens

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo from TwoGreenThumbs.com

Miniaturizing Mulch for the Miniature or Fairy Garden

Here is a common question we received from a fellow miniature gardener the other day, “How do I reclaim a garden bed that is full of weeds? Do I use landscape fabric?”

My answer: “I would go the lasagna gardening method. After you weed it out as much as possible, place layers sturdy cardboard down and pile the compost on top it. The cardboard with biodegrade eventually and you’ll be left with a fun, workable garden.

That breathable landscape fabric is a nightmare to work with over the years. We inherited a garden with it and it’s gross – and it’s always there – and it doesn’t work. The weeds will grow on top of it and root into the fabric so when you go to pull the weed, the fabric comes with it. With the lasagna gardening method, you can plant on top of it right away. No waiting. We tried it with our miniature garden, now 5 years old, and layered on top of clay soil and grass. It worked like a charm.”

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But, don’t just take only my word on it. Here is a short video by a garden guru based in Ontario, Canada, Doug Green. He has also spent come quality time in the southern United States so he has a great perspective on all things garden. Doug Green, is an author and expert gardener of 40 years. He’s great to follow, we love and appreciate his frankness. His website is huge and chock-full of garden information, photos, and tips for all kinds of gardening.

And here is more information about mulching in miniature in an excerpt from the new best-selling pdf, Sophisticated

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

Our new eBook! For Advanced Fairy Gardeners only. It’s an addendum to our Gardening in Miniature book. Click the picture for more.

Fairy Gardening: Advanced Techniques and Imaginings, about mulching in the miniature garden or fairy garden:

“Mulch is known to be a full-size solution for weed suppression. It works by blocking the sunlight from getting to the soil, preventing annual weed-seeds from germinating and slows down the growth of perennial weeds. However, seeds blown into the garden by the wind or dropped by birds can still germinate on top of the mulch, but can be pulled easily. Examples of organic mulches include bark mulch, compost, grass clippings, pine needles or nutshells. Inorganic mulches, (meaning they don’t break down,) are rocks, pebbles, crushed gravel and crushed glass. If you are creating the fairy garden for children to play in, stay away from the crushed gravel or glass and look for tumbled glass or pebbles instead.

Organic mulch is one that naturally feeds the garden soil, like sifted-bark or compost, you won’t have to clean it up or keep dealing with it when you plant or dig in the garden bed. But you will have to reapply each year at the very least. Here are some miniaturized suggestions for mulch, or rather, suggestions that can be miniaturized.

Bark mulch generally tends to be too coarse for our miniature purpose; it’s chunky mulch that literally doesn’t fit in the miniature fairy garden. The chunkiness of the bark simply overwhelms the miniature scale. If you do use this type of mulch, think about sifting it to get the biggest chunks out using a piece of wire mesh, or by spending a few minutes sorting it by hand if it is for a small fairy garden. For larger areas, consider compost instead. Dress the miniature garden beds with it to make the plants stand out nicely and it will feed the soil and the plants at the same time. “

Like this? Then you’ll love Sophisticated Fairy Gardening: Advanced Techniques and Imaginings, it’s an addendum to our Gardening in Miniature book.

And if you are serious about all things miniature garden? Join us for your free Mini Garden Gazette newsletter published monthly. Sign up here and you’ll get a free pdf once you confirm through your email.

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

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