Archive for Miniature Plants

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.

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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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UPDATE: Miniature Garden Therapy Mission: Spark Joy!

Miniature Garden at the Washington Old Soldier's Home

Operation Spark Joy continues! Steve and I headed south to the Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Wa., to check in on the garden and to decorate it for the Fourth. 

Miniature Garden at the Washington Old Soldier’s Home

Hey! It’s working! The response we’re getting from our miniature garden that we built on behalf of The Miniature Garden Society at the Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Wa., is collecting some terrific feedback! As we mentioned in the first blog, and as I was reminded of when I was speaking with one of the staff members, the staff is enjoying it just as much as the residents are. Lol!

But, I didn’t prepare for the one “being” that loves it too: SQUIRREL! I knew they were a bit of a pest from the feedback from the other gardeners, but I didn’t expect to lose entire plants to them. Our go-to method to deter these critters is cayenne pepper, (see our squirrel-blog here,) but it’s a public garden and I will never be sure who’s going to play in it. I am going to try planting larger plants instead, with deeper roots.

Anyway, here are the updated photos, click to enlarge (but I’m not sure this works on all platforms.) If you want to compare them to the initial planting, it’s here. You can see a lot of the more-fragile plants didn’t make it – and they were mostly Sedums that didn’t have a lot of roots at the time. An interesting lesson.

 

Miniature Garden at the Washington Old Soldier's Home

Our farmer’s fields will start to look better in the fall. The silo is holding up well. 

 

 

Miniature Garden at the Washington Old Soldier's Home

The micro gravel around the base of the silo was completely gone, so we hid the board with soil instead. I’ll need to think of a better solution that won’t wash away when the garden is watered – oh yeah! That’s my Mini Patio Mix Kit. Lol!  

 

Miniature Garden at the Washington Old Soldier's Home

What Hens and Chick were left were a bit tattered. We’ll fix it next time! :o)

 

 

Miniature Garden at the Washington Old Soldier's Home

This chair was one of my experiments for my new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book that is making its way to your local bookstore – or find it up on our online store here. I found an easier way to do the stars that became the project in the book. 

 

Miniature Garden at the Washington Old Soldier's Home

We met Gus this time and he told us that he keeps people from touching the garden all the time – he told us to keep our hands off too before we told hin what we were there for. We’ve since named him “Guardian of the Garden.” Lol! 

 

Find out how to make this Tree Dress that is very quick and easy to install, from our NEW Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book, click the ad above!

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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.

Join us and thousands of other like-minded miniature gardeners from all over the world and get your Mini Garden Gazette delivered straight to your inbox each Friday! Sign up here!

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

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Miniature Garden Therapy Mission: Spark Joy

Miniature Garden Therapy at the Old Soldier's Home

Operation Spark Joy has begun! Our first installation as The Miniature Garden Society at the Washington Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Washington, south of Seattle.

Miniature Garden Therapy Mission: Spark Joy

I love it when a plan comes together. Now, to see if it works!

After talking to Linda for a minute on that cold, gray day in the middle of the winter, it felt like I was talking to an old friend. She was asking if I knew of a speaker that could come and talk at their big workshop day that is held every spring for the the Hill and Dale Garden Club. Who knew that that would turn into a project that, quite possibly, can “spark joy?”

I’ve always wanted to find out if a miniature garden can really deliver some garden therapy to non-miniature-gardeners if it was put in the right spot. If a full-size garden can be therapeutic for everyone, why not a tiny one too? And now that the Miniature Garden Society is established, we can make time to reach out into the community, to see what we can do with our hobby to share the joy of gardening in miniature.

So, with the help of Linda and the ladies at the Hill and Dale Garden Club, we installed a larger miniature garden in the courtyard at the Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Washington. Here’s what happened:

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The Hill and Dale Garden Club did the hard part: the lugging in of the trough and the potting soil. The tub is 6′ x 2′ x 2′ and it’s filled more than half-way up with chunks of styrofoam. The styrofoam won’t make it easy to move but it saves a boatload of time, money and energy not having to fill it all up with soil.

Find out more about the right potting soil to use for your miniature garden here.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

After the mountain was in place, we dug in. I’ll be putting the instructions on this easy-mountain-install in the Miniature Garden Society!

See the MiniatureGardenSociety.org website here.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Steve made the silo from a beer can and straws! This side will begin to look more like farmers fields when the different thymes start to grow in.

See our different Thymes here. 

 

I made the little cinderblock fence from our tiny cinderblocks and a couple of skewers. The silo and the fence were glued on to a board which was hidden with micro gravel.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

When Linda and the ladies installed it, they made sure it was a good height for most wheelchair-users. That need triggered the idea for some sort of backdrop for their point of view, so we built up a hill with a solid chunk of Irish Moss from my full-sized garden that needed a good home. It’ll be a great place for a picnic!

See the gray flagstone sheet here.

See the Mini Patio Mix Kit here. 

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Linda brought some full-sized Hen and Chicks so we used them as Agave-type plants to add some great texture to the miniature garden bed.

See our full-sun plants here.

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Layers and textures, oh my! Here’s what we planted in the trough. It’s going to get full-sun all summer, and it’s protected in a courtyard to it should be a great growing environment for the plants.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The patio was a bit rushed at the very end, but I don’t think anyone else noticed. The bright green chair matched the Golden Torch Barberry in the upper-left corner.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The Mercedes Dwarf Birch, the Goldfinch Fir and a few of the succulents were donated by Bob Fincham and Linda Maida.

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Dueling Photographers. That’s Linda taking a photo of the finished garden. Steve said everyone was just beaming with smiles as they slowly realized what was happening. For someone who didn’t know what was going on, it must have looked strange. Lol!

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

That’s Thomas, he’s a master gardener so we left it in his good hands.

 

A few of the residents gathered to watch the garden go together and some of the staff watched too. It was fun to see them respond as the garden came together. Between us, the garden club, the residents and the staff, it sounded like everyone wanted to “look after the garden” so I imagine it will be well-taken care of! We’re looking forward to going back in a couple/few weeks to see how it’s growing – and to see if it sparked joy.

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Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter! It’s free and every Friday! Join us here.

Want to know more about our Miniature Garden Society? See that here.

Here’s an UPDATE! We visited the OSH to decorate the garden for the Fourth. See it here.

 

Miniature Garden Gift Ideas from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

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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.

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter published almost every Friday. Join us, and thousands of other miniature gardeners, here.

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It’s a Mini Spring Round-Up in the Miniature Garden!

MiniatureGarden.com it's where craft and garden meet!

We’ve got our new website, a hub for all our work and research on Gardening in Miniature is now at MiniatureGarden.com!

It’s a Mini Spring Round-Up in the Miniature Garden!

Happy, happy Spring! You just can’t beat the first smell of spring in the air, can you? Here in Seattle, one day it’s sunny and warm, the next day is cold and rainy. Needless to say, it’s that time of year when I schedule my work around the weather. Hey, if you can’t beat Ma Nature, join her! Here are some more tips on how to get started with Spring, and without.

On the Spring To-Do List

We’re patiently waiting for it to stop raining so the soil can dry out so we can get busy. If you work the soil when it is wet you’ll damage the microcosms and ruin your good soil so hang-tight if you’re having the same weather that we are here in Seattle. Here’s a quick list of the 8 Spring To-Dos in the Miniature Garden.

 

Still Waiting for Spring?

Here is a blog post to get you started despite the weather. Miniature Gardeners don’t need a reason or a season to start gardening! Waiting for Spring in the Miniature Garden.

Celebrating Easter?

And here is an Easter garden that was part of our “Year in the Miniature Garden” Series a couple of years ago. See it here.

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