Archive for Product Reviews

Miniature Fairy Gardening : What They Won’t Tell You But I Will

TruthAboutMoss 1

Miniature Fairy Gardening : What They Won’t Tell You But I Will

Ugh. It’s a pet peeve of mine. I should be a consumer advocate. I just hate seeing people set up for failure – especially in our beloved miniature garden niche.

A customer emailed the other day and complained that her moss smelled musty. After a bit of digging, pun intended, I Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvofound out she used the new moss “sheets” to cover the ground in and around her plants. The moss was getting moldy because of the dampness of the soil in the living garden. Unfortunately, she was sold artificial moss for that specific purpose: to “grow” it in her fairy garden.

Ugh x 2. Really?

The fairy garden moss that is out on the market today will not work with live plants nor will it grow. It’s fake and should be used only for artificial scenes. It will suffocate and kill the soil, and any roots if it is used with real plants too. (Soil is alive, dirt is dead – but that is another blog post, right here.)

THIS includes any kind of preserved moss, moss sheets, moss clumps, Spanish moss, reindeer moss, whatever you want to call it. It will NOT grow in a living miniature nor any fairy garden.

And the funniest thing about this is: it’s expensive!

Ugh x 3!!

The Truth About Fairy Moss

Fake moss can’t replace the real thing. It will get musty and moldy in a real garden environment. Fake moss is at the top, the real moss is below on the left in sheet form, and in clumps on the right. Both live-moss samples we find on our property here in Seattle.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

AND THEN, I see videos of “professional designers” laying the moss sheets right on the soil! The “designer” then tucks the odd (living) plant in here and there, right into the fake moss! I wonder if she can hear me yelling at her from my desk in Seattle. Lol! Poor plants. That’s just not going to work out well at all. That silly moss will become a nice moldy mess because of the dampness of the living garden, and it will fade to brown quickly in the sun too.

Quick Moss Primer:

What is it then? These are my definitions of the different kinds of craft mosses. I’m 98% sure I have it correct but, they do such crazy stuff in the craft-supply world and in the gift industry, I’m leaving a small margin of error.

Reindeer Moss – Is really a lichen. It was alive at one point, but needs to be killed and preserved to sit on the big-box-store shelves. It comes in dark green, chartreuse green and shades of brown.

Moss Sheets – A certain kind of moss was killed and treated and glued to a plastic mesh, or burlap. It is perfectly dead too. There are “moss sheets” packs that aren’t glued down as well, that can be ripped into tinier pieces for your artificial garden projects.

Mood Moss – An anomaly. Lol! I don’t know what it is made of but it is not moss. And, what made it moody? It didn’t get a seat on the bus this morning on the way to work? It didn’t have a date for Friday night? :o)

Spanish Moss – It’s not a moss either, it’s a bromeliad, Tillandsia usneoides. If you are plucking this off the trees down in the southern states, put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to de-bug it. The Spanish Moss you find in stores is preserved and very dead too.

Ad-MossGarden

Living Moss Rules: 

  • If you want moss in your living miniature garden, stick with real moss. 
  • If you want moss, you need the correct environment for it to grow it in which is difficult to replicate if it doesn’t happen naturally.
  • If you want moss to grow on rocks, you need to find moss that grows on rocks or pavement.
  • If you want moss to grow on the soil, you need to find moss that grows on the soil.
  • Moss needs light and water too.
  • DIGGING & HARVESTING MOSS FROM PUBLIC LANDS AND FORESTS IS VERY, VERY WRONG. Natural-growing moss is part of the eco-system and if you take away one part of the system, the other parts will suffer and/or fail. Please harvest responsibly or… 

Here are Some Real Moss Resources:

Here is our moss guru, the indelible David Spain with his great (and funny!) website on everything mossy: https://www.mossandstonegardens.com/

Here is our moss for sale that we cultivate here on our property, 3 different types (or stages) of growth. Only available in the winter months. Moss does go dormant in the dry, summer months so if you’re searching for our moss in the dormant months, please come back later! :o)

And leave that fake moss for your other crafty projects! Make a purse or hat for Mom’s Day, or a tie for Father’s Day.

Like this? Want to know more about miniature and fairy gardening from people who will tell you straight? Join us here for your weekly Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter!

The Truth About Fairy Moss

You can tell it is fake by looking at the backside. If it is not soil – it is fake.

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!

The Truth About Fairy Moss

Not convinced yet? Steve thought it was dried moss until I showed him the inside. Rip it open and you’ll see the fibers.

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

Our new eBook raises the bar on fairy gardening. Get your copy today, click the picture to go to our online store!

Your Miniature Garden Center

 

Comments (31)

No Room for Miniature Gardening at the Big Northwest Flower & Garden Show?

A Fairy Garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

A fairy garden made by the garden designer’s daughter at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

No Room for Miniature Gardening at the Big Northwest Flower & Garden Show?

Well, a fairy garden made it into one of the big display gardens at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show this year – that’s something at least. There were a couple of booths where you could buy some fairy-wares, but there were were no miniatures for miniature gardening. Really? (What’s the difference? See here.)

Ad-GardeninFairyGardenWhere are the Miniature Gardens?

We brought our miniature gardens to the second largest garden show in the country, held every February here in Seattle, for ten years straight. I think our last display was in 2014 that capped the 10-year run on our creative displays promoting the new hobby. There was always a crowd around our exhibits taking in the details and snapping photos – it was always well-received with the public reassurring me that they always looked for it each year.

So, when the Northwest Flower and Garden Show changed ownership in 2013 the place where we set up our miniature gardens changed too. The configuration of our usual exhibit space on the skybridge became a little too big for this miniature gardener. When I asked, and I’ve asked every year, if I could get a spot for a miniature garden display, the responses always, “We are booked, there is no more room.”

There is no room for miniature gardening at the second largest garden show in the country. 

Lol!

Even Swanson’s Nursery, the place where I had my big “Aha Moment” when the universe blessed me with the idea, had only a few things for fairy gardening.

Oh, the joy! THE JOY of bringing something new to the marketplace! AWESOME! Lol!

At the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

There were tiny gnomes tucked here and there throughout one of the exhibits

Give them the benefit of the doubt? Maybe “what we have here failure to communicate?”

But, you see, I was hoping that if I backed-off, other people might come forward and display their miniature gardens, but that hasn’t happened yet either. So I guess I’m going to have to do something about this.

SO, WHADDAYA THINK:

Would YOU want to bring one of YOUR miniature gardens to show at this show?  I can see it working like any other club where we all take turns looking after the display in exchange for a ticket to the show.

Even though it was a fairy garden in that big garden display this year, it still got a lot of attention and there was always a crowd around it taking pictures…

Let me know what you think in the comments below! If there is enough interest, we can make something fun happen but we’ll need to act early and see if we can “make” some room for the biggest and newest garden niche. :o)

Join us for the world’s only miniature garden newsletter, The Mini Garden Gazette, here.

At the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Steve and I finally got Gardeners of the Year!! Yay!!

HowTo-SpruceMG-12text

Comments (9)

Tired of Winter? Tired of Politics? Have NO FEAR…

Miniature Garden Society - the best website for Miniature Gardening on the Planet!

Miniature Garden Society – the best website for Miniature Gardening on the Planet!

Tired of Winter? Tired of Politics? Have NO FEAR…

…Your Miniature Gardeners are HERE!

Ugh. That silly groundhog called for SIX more weeks of winter…

Okay, you’re going to have to envision my green cape with my miniature garden logo flapping behind me in the breeze okay? With a green leotard, a mini skirt and really cute boots… can you picture it in your mind? Good. Nice boots, huh? Lol! Here’s what I have for you:

  • A website full of original content on your favorite topic of miniature gardening that is growing and evolving constantly.
  • A place to connect to people that do the same thing you do.
  • A website where there is always something growing.
  • A place for you to ask any question about miniature gardening, plants or accessories.
  • A website where you can find a yummy project for the afternoon, or for the long weekend.
  • A safe place for you to go on the internet that is free of flashing ads, videos that play at random, or ads that have tracked your latest search.

But wait. There’s more.

How about a website that shows you how you can make money doing what you love to do?

I’ve been working on this website for over 2 years now but it feels like I’ve only just started because there is still a TON of information that I have to put up in this unique website.

More projects, insight, how-to’s, upcoming show reviews, interviews and reviews of everything miniature garden! PLUS – I have a super-exciting secret that I’m ONLY sharing here, on this intro page to the Miniature Garden Society Website. You’ll have to click-in to find it out. (Promotion period for this has ended.)

:o)

 

Miniature Garden Society - the best website for Miniature Gardening on the Planet!

The Miniature Garden Society website includes – and will include – exclusive reviews, previews, interviews and news! Fun and informative! Click the picture to find out more. ;o)

Comments (2)

What’s New in the Big-Box Stores for Fairy Gardening and Miniature Gardening for 2017?

What’s New in the Big-Box Stores for Fairy Gardening and Miniature Gardening for 2017?

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.comWe have hobbies to escape, to transport us out of our everyday lives, to get purposefully lost in the details and in the doing. This past year we’ve watched our miniature garden hobby grow even further and take root in more hearts than ever as it keeps spreading throughout the world. Needless to say, it’s been very interesting to watch it grow from where we sit, from selling it in street markets at the turn of the century, to a worldwide trend-turned-hobby as we see today.

We’ve also watched many small businesses develop around the hobby – and now it’s grown into the mainstream where it needs to grow so everyone can learn about miniature gardening. While it is our mission to make our hobby as well-known as knitting – and seeing the idea in the big-box stores is really awesome – but those corporate powers that be should have asked for “little” help, imho.

Needless to say we did see this coming, like all trends that find their way to get mass-produced in China without regard to the nuances of the hobby. It started with Hobby lobby a couple of years ago as they took the lead from the independent garden centers who loved it as a new way for their customers to grow. As the miniature garden idea spread it was inevitable that the large, corporate craft and hobby stores would begin to produce their own products that catered to the hobby. And sadly, some of the items have been blatantly copied from smaller companies and ourselves, reproduced in China by people without conscience or ethics. But it’s just business, right?  

Big Corps and Little Gardens

Yes it in english too! :o) Click the picture to see it in our online store or find it on Amazon at the link below!

Yes it in english too! :o) Our Gardening in Miniature book is available wherever books are sold. Click the picture to see it in our online store or find it on Amazon wherever you are located!

What the big corporations and gift manufacturers don’t seem to do is to consult with anyone directly related to the trend before taking an idea to China – it surely doesn’t look like they did. (It doesn’t look like anyone does!) I’m not sure if anyone at Michael’s Crafts or JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts was actually a miniature gardener or a fairy gardener while they where brainstorming their new lines of miniatures for the hobby – and that shows. AND it looks like they just copied what the other fairy suppliers copied with no consideration for the end user -> YOU! (There’s my consumer advocate side again!)

So here’s a little insight in a quick video of what is out there this season so you can see what is up, as well as how you can use it – or can’t use it – in your own fairy garden or miniature garden work. Caveat emptor : a number of the items are not weatherproof, will melt in the rain, and the color will fade in the sun quickly. 

Making Miniature Magic

If you are serious about gardening in miniature and recognize the joy, depth and creativity it can bring to your own world, join us at the Miniature Garden Society! We have many projects to help you stay creative all year ‘round, plus all the information, insight and advice that you need to grow a successful miniature garden wherever you are. To learn more about it, visit here.

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

Leave a Comment

Personalized and Customized: Miniature Garden Kits Go Straight to the Heart

Personalized and Customized: Miniature Garden Kits Go Straight to the Heart

Awesome! Our Custom Miniature Garden Kits are proving to be a hit with our fellow miniature gardeners this holiday season. Putting together a miniature garden kit with that special someone in mind is proving to be not only a great gift idea, but a fun gift to put together too! Here are a couple of fun stories behind our Custom Miniature Garden Kits that we’ve put together for some very happy customers:

Custom Miniature Garden Kit

A custom miniature garden kit similar to what we built this past week but this one shows an older tree with a couple of extra accessories. We usually have room in the box for extras, and shipping is included.

A Dog Lover’s Miniature Garden in PA

Dan wanted to surprise his girlfriend, Karen, with miniature garden kit so we started with asking a little more about her favorite things. It turned out that Dan’s main competition is Karen’s dog, so we had a laugh and zero’ed in on a dog lovers miniature garden and chose the doghouse set and a wee dog. After finding out where she would probably place her miniature garden (on her front porch, full sun,) I made a quick list of the trees and plants that would do well in Zone 6 in Pennsylvania.

Dan picked out a tree, the Achat Dwarf Spruce, but needed help with the “bedding plants” (aka ground covers) so I gladly helped him choose two different-textured plants that can grow along with the tree: Blue Star Creeper and Irish Moss, so the dog can have some “miniature lawn” to play on. Karen’s favorite color is blue, so we switched the stone sheet for a terra cotta brick sheet that will complement any shade of blue container. We’ll be shipping it much closer to Christmas day so he can place the box without opening it under the tree and include a greeting card with a little note and DONE. Easy peasy!

Custom Miniature Garden Kits from TwoGreenThumbs.com

Some of our miniature and dwarf trees are really hardy, like this Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’) that is hardy to Zone 4, or -30F. Brrrr!

Miniature Garden Center

A Fairy Garden in WY

Jennifer wanted to give her mother a kit to get her started because she was tired of listening to her mom go on and on about fairy gardening. Her mom was simply nervous about starting and really didn’t know how to begin. It was our bestselling Gardening in Miniature book that was included that cinched the decision so her mom could learn more about the miniature scales, plants and growing the garden. She was unsure about how to go about getting a fairy garden together in winter in Wyoming so she was delighted to hear about our Custom Miniature Garden Kits. And, I reassured her that there are indeed winter fairies too, after all, who takes care of Jack Frost? :o) Here’s what we came up with.

Jennifer perused the Zone 4 and Below Section of our Miniature Garden Center Store and picked out a tree and two ground covers that are included in the Kit – a Miniature JuniperHens & Chicks and Irish Moss. She loved the Miniature Patio Set of 3 so her mom could sit in her fairy garden and relax. Jennifer added extras, a Stone Swan and a Grapevine Birdbath to match that finished off the scene nicely. Free Priority Mail Shipping was included. Done!

Like this? Give us a “like” below!

Want more? Get our Mini Garden Gazette delivered straight to your inbox each Friday! Sign up here – and you’ll get a free PDF, The Best of the Mini Garden Gazette, just for signing up.

Give the gift that can last a lifetime: the joy of miniature gardening!

 

 

 

Comments (2)

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

Leave a Comment

Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture in Miniature

Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture in Miniature

Miniaturizing full-sized projects isn’t as hard as you think but you need to pay attention to scaling down the measurements accurately to create a true miniature. 

Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture in Miniature

Lounge chairs, birdhouses and tables, oh my! I’m a nut about do-it-yourself projects around my full-sized house. So, when this new book from Timber Press arrived in the mail, Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture by Katie Jackson, it was everything I needed to get inspired, grab some wood and get busy.

But then my passion took over and instead of heading to the garage, I went into the miniature studio. Look what happened.

Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture in Miniature

I don’t know why I picked a hard project to start with – but it may be because I already had the skinny popsicle sticks on hand and it looked like it was a perfect match. I had to carve my own legs, which sounds harder than it is to do. 

The book is a delight to browse through and the steps are laid out nicely with a lot of breathing room on the uncluttered pages. The photos are very helpful in walking you through the project. You easily see what needs to be done ahead of time even for the most complicated project which didn’t seem that complicated anymore. I found myself being an armchair carpenter for an hour!

 

Join us for more miniature gardening!

 

Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture in Miniature

I mistakenly cut it short on the first attempt. That is a special jig on the right that I found at a miniature show. I used the cut-off ends of the popsicle sticks as spacers. 

The 20 projects include a couple of different kinds of planter/flower boxes, different tables, storage solutions and even a fun torchiere that you can light up. Katie keeps it simple, all you need is a few tools, some lumber and a couple of hours for some projects or up to a weekend for others. It’s dedicated to anyone who has every said, “I could never do that!”

Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture in Miniature

The camera angle makes the bench look longer, it’s 4 1/16 inches long and 1 1/8″ wide. In large size or 1″ scale, this would be a little over 4 feet long and about 15 inches wide – I should have added a couple of more slats. Dang.

 

The book starts with the basics, choosing boards, the types of wood, how they are sold. It has an overview of the tools you need followed by a chapter on how to use the tools. It is very well organized and edited a la typical Timber Press fashion – that’s why they are the top garden publisher after all.

 

We wrote the book on it. Get an autographed copy from our store or find it on Amazon.com!

We wrote the book on it. Get an autographed copy from our store or find it on Amazon.com!

 

Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture in Miniature

It does look a bit skinny but the third time is the charm! Lol! Not the kind of miniature furniture that I would keep outside or let get wet. 

See more about how to find out what scale your accessories are here.

Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture in Miniature

This was a much easier project to translate into miniature. I tied it to a hook so I could move it around the branches easily. 

It’s the author herself in the photos too, which is cute to see. See more about Katie Jackson’s Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture: 20 Step-by-Step Projects Anyone Can Build here, on the Timber Press website or look for it anywhere books are sold.

AdS-leaderboard-Plants

 

Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture in Miniature

By following Katie’s measurements and methods, I was able to get a realistic, true miniature swing. Sweet.

Want to get the world’s ONLY Mini Garden Gazette newsletter delivered straight to your inbox every Friday? Join us here.

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

Comments (5)

Older Posts »
%d bloggers like this: