Archive for The Business

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.

 

The Miniature Garden Society

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How to Be a Better Gardener

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I found this photo from a 2009 blog post. This garden is about 2 or 3 years old here. See the same garden below, how it looks today. Click in to see what Hinoki Cypress are available now.

How to Be a Better Gardener

Every so often, when I jump on my high horse about NOT using fortified soil for miniature gardening, I feel like I am shouting in a vacuum. I mean, what’s a miniature gardener sitting at her desk in Seattle to do when we come up against a behemoth like Scott’s Miracle Gro’s and their crummy Potting Soil that kills our miniature garden plants and discourages people from gardening? They have to know that new gardeners will blame themselves for killing plants and may not try to grow anything ever again. It’s shameful.

So, I do what I normally do, I asked the Internet. Of course, I found out I wasn’t alone:

Consumer affairs gives Scott’s Miracle Gro Potting Soil 1 1/4 stars (out of 5) with 141 complaints to date.

Consumer reviews on Amazon.com for Miracle Grow Moisture Control Potting Mix, 87% of the reviews gives it one star out of five, probably because they can’t give it zero stars.

Good things come in small packages.The forums are full of way more complaints than not. Heartbreaking stories include using Miracle Gro Potting Soil to repot grandma’s 35-year-old plants and killing them within a couple of days. Other tragic tales include the new bags being filled with gnats and infesting homes and gardens. Scotts used to be a brand name that we can trust and it’s interesting to notice the more popular they get, the more complaints they get. And yet, they are advertising more, they are in more stores than ever AND they are in the back pockets of industry professionals, sponsoring them so they’ll be quiet, I bet.

It truly is the number one killer of our miniature garden trees and plants. I constantly get emails about dead or dying plants only to find out that they used Miracle Gro Potting Soil. It’s maddening to be able to offer the best quality plant material, only to have the customer use the wrong soil and kill them within days.

Did you know that fresh organic soil contains enough nutrients to sustain a miniature garden for at least 3 years? No need to fertilize so spend your money on a better-quality soil instead.

Now, if you do hear of any good reviews, it’s probably because it has been used for heavy-feeders, like annuals and vegetables. You will also noticed that the “good” reviews are only on the big-box-store websites, interestingly enough, like Walmart, Ace Hardware and Home Depot. Funny, huh?

But I would be very wary of using any chemicals on my veggies. And no, Miracle Gro Potting Soil is not organic. Here’s a page from the website listing the ingredients that go into “the perfect mix.” Once you click in, hit Command F to search the page for the keyword “organic.” You’ll find two at the bottom of the page directing you to their “organic and natural potting mix,” under the brand name Nature’s Care. (Ironically, I first read the website name as NatureScare.com.) BUT this soil STILL has the water-retaining polymers so how can it be completely organic and natural? Hmmm?

JeanIseliHinoki - 1

The same Hinoki in the same pot, 7 years later. While some conifer lovers would think this appealing, for us miniature gardeners, it’s a great tree for a tire swing, birdhouse or treehouse. The patio is from a stone sheet and our Mini Patio Mix Kit – both are available in our online store. Click the pic to get visit!

We are being duped by their advertising and marketing claiming all these benefits. The professional Garden Writers Association has always been sponsored by Scotts (which is owned by Monsanto, btw) – which is why you won’t hear many other garden writers writing about this. My publisher strongly advised that I join this group, but I just couldn’t because it goes against my principles and I’ve since taken the hit professionally too. I’m still baffled by this lack of activism within the garden world. Heck, Hollywood celebrities are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in for our planet.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

So please ignore the huge Scotts promotions this season in the big-box-stores despite the rock-bottom prices. Walk past the pallets of Miracle Gro Potting Soil and look for an established organic alternative like Cedar Grove’s line of soils, for example

urlHere is a link to the USDA’s organic integrity database if you want to do any research for yourself.  There’s a search bar under the word operation that you can use to make it fast and easy.  Also look for the USDA organic status symbol on any packaging. Now there is a concern about anything being completely 100% organic, but at least this is a step in the right direction.

As with anything these days the more stuff it has in it, the more chemicals it’s “fortified” with, is not better.  Simplicity is better and organic is more in-tune with our beings and our souls, not to mention our health and the health of the planet – now isn’t that worth a couple of extra dollars?

If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for everything.

I’ll get off my soapbox now, thank you for reading.

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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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So, You Want to Start a Fairy Garden Business??

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So, You Want to Start a Fairy Garden Business??

Do you love fairies? Do you love fairy gardening? Do you want to spend your days working with everything fairy?

Are you thinking of how to start a new fairy garden business for the New Year?

Do you want a way to explore your passion and make money too?

Do you want a head start?

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

We’ve set-up in stores, coffee shops, on street corners, at farmers and craft markets, at garden shows, miniature shows…

If you answered a big, “YES!” to all these questions, here is a way to jump-start your business and your learning curve to get you started on the right track to making money from your passion right away. Spring will be here in a couple of months and you have a chance to leap into action now, and get everything ready for the planting season.

Here sample email of questions that I get almost every week from people wanting to start a business from their passion for everything fairy:

  • Can you give me information about selling fairy gardens at fairs, etc.?
  • How do I transport them?
  • Where else can I sell them?
  • What sells?
  • How is the final price determined?
  • What are average prices?
  • How do you keep the plants alive between shows?
  • Do I need electrical hook-ups?
  • Do you add a little care booklet for the customer?
  • Is there a market for this?
  • What a about commissioned gardens?
  • How to price them?
  • Do you need permits?
  • Do I warranty the plants??
  • How do you preserve the items for a garden?
  • Paint with clear varnish? or something else?
  • How can I find the right plants in my area?

You can see how this long list of questions may take you days, weeks, or for some questions, years to answer. Most of these answers came to me by trial and error.

Errors that I’ve already made so you don’t have to.

One of our booth displays at the third best garden show in the country, the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

One of our booth displays at the third best garden show in the country, the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.

Here is a chance to spend time with me to answer your questions and get you started with the right ideas, the right items and in the right direction to get you going with your new fairy garden business. This includes a copy of our bestselling book, Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World AND one of our very popular Complete Miniature Garden Kits.

Ask anyone who has started a business, the right conversation at startup with the right person is WORTH EVERY PENNY.

Click right here for more details and to purchase your jump-start to your very own fairy garden business! 

 

We've set up displays at the two top garden shows here in the Seattle area for over 10 years now. This was a display in 2012 and called the best display at the show by the Associate Editor of Timber Press, Andrew Beckman.

We’ve set up displays at the two top garden shows here in the Seattle area for over 10 years. This was a display at the NWFGS in 2012 and called the best display at the show by the Associate Editor of Timber Press, Andrew Beckman. (You can see his comment here.)

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!

Top Fairy Garden Domains For Sale!

~> So you are thinking of a new online fairy garden business for the New Year?

~> Need a jump-start with a great domain name?

~> Are you already in the fairy garden business?

~> Need a great website name to help boost your business?

Want a successful online business? It starts with a great domain name!

Want a successful online business? It starts with a great domain name!

Domain names are the real estate of the Internet. It is especially important to get a  “dot com” address, as the noteworthy names are now few and far between. But, we have you covered because here are a few of them up for sale RIGHT NOW!

Domain names like these are PERFECT to get your fairy garden business noticed in Google search for your main keywords because your keywords, “fairy” and “garden” are already in the domain name. 

If you are interested in purchasing any, please get in touch. It takes a couple of quick and easy steps and then it’s all yours!!

You can start today!

Serious enquiries only. If you want more than one domain name, prices can be negotiated.

Domains for Sale:

FairyGardenChat.com

FairyGardenExpert.com

HowToMakeAFairyGarden.com

MiniatureFairyGarden.com

MiniatureFairyGardening.com

MiniFairyGardenChat.com

MiniatureGardensRUs.com

Janit has brought it to the largest garden show in the country, the Philadelphia Flower Show and had line-ups at the signing table afterwards.

Janit has “brought it” to the largest garden show in the country, the Philadelphia Flower Show and had line-ups at the signing table afterwards. Want to take your fairy gardening on the road, Janit has done that too.

 

Need more juice to bring to your fairy gardening? Dig into our ebook, Sophisticated Fairy Gardening: Advanced Techniques and Imaginings by Janit Calvo. It’s an instant download PDF – get it right now!

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Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

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Back to the Future: Predicting The Miniature Garden Hobby

Miniature Garden by Two Green Thumbs

One of the first miniature gardens that we sold in 2001. The patio was made of sand and glass. This was built before I invented our Mini Patio Mix Kit, now anyone can create a custom, permanent patio that won’t wash away when you water nor when it rains.

Back to the Future: Predicting The Miniature Garden Hobby

It’s funny how an iconic movie from your childhood can make you think of the past, present and future at the same time. As kids we gobbled up those Back to the Future movies over and over. We all wanted to be Marty McFly and jump to the future to see what our family would look like too. The movie did a great job in making 2015 seem so far away it was unfathomable to think of.

Well, funnily enough, we predicted the future in our own way here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center.

Tiny Gardener in a Tiny Mini Garden

We relied on tiny toys and dollhouse miniatures found at a local miniature store here in Seattle, Dolly’s Dollhouse.

Being the first business dedicated to the art and craft of miniature gardening, I forged ahead and just started it in 2001. Who knew that creating a business with no customers wasn’t the thing to do? Scouring business books for start-up information was the only thing I could find, the Internet was very limited at that point, but hey, you could order books from the library on it. Nowadays, all you have to do is input your question and Google will provide.

The history of Two Green Thumbs

Courtesy of the Wayback Machine (linked below) you can see where we first got the domain in 2001 and then got it up and running in 2004. Before the online store, we sold through eBay. (Click to enlarge.)

Wayback website: https://web.archive.org

Back to the Past: How to know if it was a good idea?

So how did I know if this miniature garden idea had legs when there was no one else doing it? It was my Ontario College of Art and Design training. During my last thesis Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.compresentation with my painting instructor, Paul Young. I asked him how do I know if it’s a good painting or not? How do I know if the painting is finished? He said, “Now that you are the artist, if it excites you, it will excite others.”

In the first years of Two Green Thumbs, there were times where I would just be overwhelmed with ideas and stopped in the middle of my studio, trying to synthesize all the potential in my head. At the weekend markets, where we tested out the idea for years, there were people who would just stop in front of our booth and stare at the miniature gardens. There was no talking to them during this trance either – they were trying to get their head around the notion of a tiny living garden in miniature too. Witnessing this trance fed my desire to bring the idea to the world and, amazingly enough, we did, one person at a time.

And, needless to say, if you are a miniature gardener you don’t need me to tell you just how juicy this idea is. How often have you been lost in your miniature garden world?

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Jump to the Present

Miniature garden by Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

The first miniature gardens were over-planted a little too much, and quickly outgrew the pot within a season, with little regard to the plants needs. We quickly learned “right plant in the right place” applied to miniature gardens too.

Nowadays, everyone is on the fairy garden bandwagon in some form or another. Stores that quickly copied our business model years ago, duplicating our inventory and launching their own online stores now focus on fairy gardening instead. A Google search on “fairy garden” now generates over 8,500,000,000 results. You’ll find large displays of fairy garden items at most local, independent garden centers.

Major big-box stores are now on board. You’ll find new miniature sections at Michael’s Crafts now, and seasonal miniatures for the garden at JoAnn’s Fabrics. Hobby Lobby has always carried dollhouse miniatures but the department seems to have grown exponentially. And, lastly, the number of tiny businesses online that specialize in fairy gardening, mistaking it for miniature gardening, are everywhere on the web.

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

And Now to the Future

We’ve stayed the course here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center and even though at times we’ve included the fairy garden idea into some of our inventory. blog and social media posts, we still stand firmly behind this miniature garden hobby.

We haven’t let the fairy idea take over our business model like other businesses have, because it wasn’t the fairies that entranced us to begin with – it was the miniatures and the garden. 

Miniature garden by Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

Double-sided miniature gardens were not only fun to make, the clients loved them!

So, here we sit, still the leaders of the miniature garden hobby. Our plant selection is the best on the web, we offer true miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs from America’s top grower. Our miniature accessories, collected from many sources around the world, are realistic, detailed, in-scale and for the most part, weatherproof, reusable and renewable – we simply don’t want to generate landfill.

So? Like this? Want to follow the leader? If you are serious about your miniature gardening, join us here for our new weekly Mini Garden Gazette newsletter. It’s fast, fun and informative.

And checkout the world’s first Miniature Garden Center for all your miniature garden needs – because, after all, we wrote the book on it too.

 

 

Book Cover - Low Res 008

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

Here is our eBook for Advanced Fairy Gardeners only. It’s an addendum to our Gardening in Miniature book. Click the picture for more info.

 

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Miniature Gardening is Growing Roots Worldwide

TurkishCover

The Turkish version of Gardening in Miniature! Yay!

Miniature Gardening is Growing Roots Worldwide

I do believe the appropriate terms is, “AWESOME SAUCE!!”

Lol!

Yeah, a surprise from my publisher arrived earlier this week: the Turkish version of Gardening in Miniature!

Thank you, Timber Press!

It was just a couple of weeks ago that we learned of a Korean version in the works. ;o)

‘Mom spricht kein Deutsch’ is German for Mom Doesn’t Speak German

And a funny thing happened the other day. My Mom was trying to order a couple of copies of the German edition of the book from Amazon.de website and, no, she doesn’t speak or read a word of German. (How she was able to navigate the site is beyond me but I was reminded of where I get my tenacity from. Lol!) So, we ended up with a few extra copies of Gardening in Miniature in German now available here in the USA!!

We have them up in the Etsy store here.

German edition of Gardening in Miniature

Gardening in Miniature – now available in German in our Etsy Store!

 

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How YOU Can Help Save Our Environment and Our World

Please join us and millions of other concerned citizens throughout the world, by simply signing a petition at SaveTheArctic.org

Please join us and millions of other concerned citizens throughout the world, by simply signing a petition at SaveTheArctic.org. Pictured above is Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig that illegally docked in Seattle and is now on its way to the Arctic. This is not about oil.

How YOU Can Help The Pope Save Our Environment and Our World

The world needs your help!

In case you missed it, an important protest is going on online and here in the PNW to stop Shell from drilling in the pristine arctic. THIS IS NOT ABOUT OIL. It’s about putting corporate responsibility over greed.

There is a 75% RISK OF DISASTER that can NOT be fixed if anything does happen. A no-brainer you would think, but Shell is forcing their way up to the Arctic, ignoring rules and regulations along the way.

Simply put, the Arctic has a extremely important role in maintaining the balance of the earth’s climate.

Please join us and millions of other very concerned citizens throughout the world, US and Canada, by signing the petition at the very least at http://www.SaveTheArctic.org.

Your kids and grandkids will thank you – and we do too.

YOU can help. Please sign the petition at SaveTheArctic.org and boycott Shell gas stations. Let’s see if we can ruin their environment before they ruin ours.

‪#‎ShellNo‬‪ #‎boycottshellgas‬

And Here’s The Pope’s Petition:

Pope Francis has launched his own petition to help save the environment and needs 25,000 signatures to bring this issue to the December Climate Change Conference in Paris:

To the Heads of State and the Governments of the nations participating in the 21st International Climate Change Conference, scheduled from November 30 to December 15, 2015 in Paris, France.

On behalf of our children, who without your commitment and action will inherit a degraded and dangerous planet.

On behalf of the poor of the planet, the first to be victimized by pollution and the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

On behalf of the whole human family, for which we all have a responsibility to care without regard to national borders or social divisions.”  – From the http://www.thecallofpopefrancis.org/en website where you can sign the petition.

(To my regular readers: Apologies for the soapbox. If we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything. Together we can make the right change for the health of our climate, and our children’s climate.)

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

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