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.

Your Miniature Garden Center

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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How to Insert Charm into Your Miniature Garden with Authentic Patios and Pathways

Miniature Garden Study, Patios and Pathway Materials

Stone sheets make for a no-brainer solution for the miniature garden patio. Lock them in permanently with the Mini Patio Mix.

How to Insert Charm into Your Miniature Garden with Authentic Patios and Pathways

We’re bringing charming back to the miniature garden. For us here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center, it never really left. Why? Authenticity.

Charm, noun
1. the power to delight or attract people
2. a feature or quality that delights or attracts (often used in the plural)

Charm, verb
1. to delight or attract people
2. To influence somebody by using powers of attraction
3. to affect somebody or something by, or as if by, the use of a supposed magic spell

Aha! Magic! That must be it! You’re probably thinking to yourself, FAIRY MAGIC….wo Green Thumbs' Mini Patio Mix Kit Ad

But no. It’s simple: scale and authenticity

(Stay with me on this one! ;o)

The key ingredients that you can easily bring to your miniature gardens are realism, proportion and scale. If your accessories are realistic and in-scale with each other, you’ll get the charm.

And something that is not so obvious but is a very valuable element for a charming garden in miniature: the authentic miniature patio.

The addition of a patio or pathway increases the appeal of a true garden in miniature because it helps the viewer to identify the fact that it is a real miniature garden instead of a container full of small plants.

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The miniature patio cinches the scale immediately because we know how big the mini patio is supposed to be. After all, we stand on them all the time, right? But it tends to be the last thing we think of when we put a miniature garden together and we end up dumping a bunch of marbles in for a path, include an odd collection of rocks for the patio, or layer-in colored stones that you would never see done in a full-size garden.

Take a look at the following examples of the different sizes of miniature gardens to get an idea of what I mean by paying attention to the patio materials in the following photos:

(Click to get into the bigger slideshow. It works better on a regular computer.)

Checkout the Miniature Garden Patio and Pathway Department in our store for easy solutions to add charm to your miniature or fairy garden scene.

Be sure to lock in your design with our Mini Patio Mix Kit. The only solution design specifically for miniature gardeners by a miniature gardener! They come in several different ways too, see them here. ;o)

We’ve remained authentic too. All our accessories are based in realism and are categorized by size here, in our Miniature Garden Center store. We’ve stayed with true with our gardening in miniature because that is where the magic really is.

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette! The world’s only regular newsletter completely dedicated to gardening in miniature. Join us here.

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Sharing Ideas with the New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

The Gnome Garden in the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book was a fun one to create – I’m still pinching myself that I had this opportunity to share my ideas with the world. The projects in this garden are the gnome door and the log border that lines the “veggie bed.”

Sharing Ideas with the New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

When opening day came around at the big Sorticulture Garden Art Show last weekend in Everett, Wa., (about an hour north of Seattle,) fellow miniature gardeners started introducing themselves right away. It was an awesome welcome-back!

We’ve been trying to figure out the last time we set up our Miniature Garden Center Store at a garden show and, well, we decided it’s been a few years because we just couldn’t remember. So it was an extra special treat to see a boatload of old friends and customers! We also had the chance to put a face to the names that we’ve been seeing on the orders from our online stores too. Super fun! We must do that again before too long!

Here’s a photo essay of our display that we brought with us. Note that these gardens were made 3 & 4 years ago. You can compare them to the photos in the Prop Shop book to see how much – or how little, lol! – they’ve grown.

And apologies, we were so busy, we didn’t get many other photos of the booth, the miniature gardens that I made for it, (!) nor any of my fellow miniature gardeners. I guess I need to take a page from the younger generation and just have my phone out ALL the time, ready to click, click, click away! :o)

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

A birthday cake for the miniature gardener. Lol! I’ve thought of several versions of birthday cake gardens throughout the years, it was fun to finally get one of them out of my head. In this chapter, you will learn how to make that fun little garden sign and how to customize any container.

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Bird’s eye view of the Deserted Island Survival garden. The projects in this chapter are the treehouse and the wee cave. Both of these projects have been out in the weather all year since they were made in 2015 and have survived.

 

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

In the World Tour section of the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book, we took a trip to Spain. In this chapter, I teach you how to age a resin fountain and how to create a pretty mosaic patio in a few simple steps.

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Aquascaping was supposed to be one of the chapters, that’s why we have an odd number of 37 projects in the book. After killing 17 fish, I decided upon an easier version: a miniature garden that looks like it’s underwater. Can you tell it’s one of my favorite? The projects in this chapter are a sea throne and a tiny glass float.

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Can you tell this is another favorite of mine? I was limited in what I could bring to this display because it sits in full sun. Many of the gardens in the book were for indoors or for shade. In this chapter, I show you how to create a miniature garden folly (back, right) and how to age and weather a miniature brick patio.

In each chapter in the book, I also go into the plant choices for each theme, why I chose them and how you can adapt this way of using the plants to help get your theme across to the viewer. Considering all the parts, plants and pieces for your theme not only raises the bar on the quality of miniature gardening that you can produce, it makes the thrill-of-the-hunt much more interesting and satisfying. After sifting through all the projects in the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book, you will have a good idea of how to get the same results.

Get your autographed copy of the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book here.

Find it at a better price if you don’t need it autographed here up on Amazon (affiliate link.)

Like this? Want to join us for your FREE Mini Garden Gazette newsletter delivered to your inbox every Friday? Join us here. 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

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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.

Like this?

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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