Posts Tagged Bonsai

In Search of The Perfect Miniature Garden Tree

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

I’m always on the look out for fun advertising fodder or puns to use – it’s one of the perks of the job. :o)

In Search of The Perfect Miniature Garden Tree

The store was a bit quiet the other day and Steve was looking for something to do. So, I told him to see what was up in the big world of miniature garden trees, fairy trees, railroad garden trees or bonsai starts by just Googling them to see what comes up. Whoa Nellie! Here’s what we found out.

From the Two Green Thumbs' archives.

Group shot taken in 2009. We still have some of these miniature gardens today that are still in miniature gardens now that I revisit the photo. I can see only one tree (that we don’t carry anymore) that ended up to big for us: the bushy cypress in the orange pot in the middle. I’ll remember the variety name at around 2 am tomorrow morning. Lol!

Miniature Garden Trees – Fairy Approved!

Where did everybody go? Lol! We’ve never shut down for the winter because miniature gardening has always been a season-less hobby for us here in Seattle, but you can do it anywhere. We’ve mentioned before how we can easily keep gardening and because you can plant a container at any time of year. You can plant in-ground anytime the ground is not frozen too. So keep gardening until you can’t, I say!

I so need the garden therapy after a hard week at work and I’m sure you can always use some peace and tranquility too. Checkout the wide variety of hardy trees and shrubs for your miniature garden adventures this season here, where they are sorted by USDA zones. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!

Miniature and dwarf trees for railroad gardening

You can see how using high-quality, well-behaved trees is a worthy investment for any railroad gardener. The cone-shaped trees are dwarf spruces. The variegated shrub, bottom-left, I think is a euonymus and I’m pretty sure the blue shrub, bottom-right, is a Blue Star Juniper. That’s Steve in the back.

 

The Miniature Garden Society

 

Railroad Garden Trees

Miniature and dwarf trees for any garden railroad must behave as expected. This may be why most railroad gardeners shy away from the plant-side of the hobby and tend to focus more on layin’ the tracks and runnin’ the trains – at least in my experience they have.

If a tree doesn’t grow in as promised, and grows super-fast without the engineer-gardener expecting it, it can cause a major renovation and upset for the railroad that was built around that now-overgrown tree. The beauty with railroad gardens is the same as miniature gardening, the age of the garden really brings the charm and magic. So to upset a grown-in, planted scene merely two or three years after planting, will bring the age of the scene back to “0.” Fun if you planned for it but if you didn’t, not-so-much!

All our true miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs are of the highest quality in the country, are very well-behaved and do as the tag says in shape, growth rate and care. Our trees are always well-packed by (quite possibly) the best packer in the country (Steve, for real,) and they are sent the fastest way to avoid any stress, by USPS Priority Mail. We have plants for all sizes of miniature gardens.

Bonsai starts or pre-bonsai, this is the popular Elf Dwarf Spruce.

Elf Dwarf Spruce or Picea glauca ‘Elf.’ This tree is about 8 to 10 years old. Transplanted in 2012 from a 4″ pot.

 

Bonsai Starts

In our research, we have found a great many trees that we carry in our online store are used for bonsai as well. I’ve always bragged about how our trees naturally grow-in to look like a bonsai in a couple/few year’s time and while it feels like cheating, we’re just letting nature take its course. It appears as bonsai starts go, ours are pretty inexpensive if you have some time to grow them in for awhile.

Plant your Two Green Thumbs’ tree in a pot at least 8″ deep and let the baby tree grow a thicker trunk and wider branches for a couple/few years. Then bonsai the roots to fit them into the bonsai tray – you’ll be glad you did because you’ll be that much further ahead in the growth of the tree. If you bonsai a young tree right away, it will take much longer for the trunk to develop and the branches to reach out and thicken.

Don’t want to wait? Check out our one-gallon pre-bonsai trees up in the plant section of our Etsy store here. We do get smaller “pre-bonsai” tress in from time to time too, if you would like to join our email list to get first dibs. (Average cost is $20 or less!)

Happy Miniature Gardening!

 

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MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants Miniature Plants from Two Green Thumbs.com

An old Tompa Dwarf Norway Spruce that is now about 16 years old is STILL 10″ tall. The cone shape resembles an Alberta Spruce – but in miniature. I cleared away the bottom branches to make the shrub into a tree. Hardy to zone 3 (-40F), it’s tough and holds up well around kids and dogs, loves full sun and grows very slowly. For in ground or containers.

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants

This is a continuation of an earlier post, on miniature plants for miniature gardening, fairy gardening and/or railroad gardening. When I first started the search for plants that will work well in the miniature garden 16 years ago, I found a number of miniature and dwarf conifers that were perfect to use and sold as “railroad garden plants.” Since then, the gardening in miniature niche has grown slowly into a international pastime and the growers have responded to the demand – thankfully. But, the question remains, how do they age in a miniature garden? What do they look like after a few years? Here are more examples of how our favorite miniature and dwarf plants can grow into perfect majestic trees in miniature.

If you have been following us for a while you will recognize the Tompa Dwarf Spruce shown in the photograph above, as it looks today. It was planted around 2004, here it is in 20072010, 2011, 2014. (The garden is 12 years old, with one unnecessary repot, the tree is about 3 or 4 years old when we get them from the grower.) The flowers at the base are Ajuga reptens ‘Chocolate Chip’ or Chocolate Chip Bugleweed – that’s been in the pot with the Tompa for years, I just trim back the runners each spring.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

I think this photo was taken around 2010, just after we moved into our house. That is the same Ajuga planted at the base of the Tompa. And this was before I limbed-up the bottom branches to “show some leg.” :o)

Find It:
Tompa Dwarf Spruce
Bugleweed (Ajuga)
Cedar Trellis (made in the USA)
Park Bench
Terra Cotta Brick Sheets

 

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com.

A 6 or 7 year old Mugo pine stands about 5″ tall in our larger miniature garden. The Mugos are tough too. They hold up well around dogs and kids. Hardy to Zone 2 or -50F (burrrr!)  Drought tolerant when established in the garden bed and they are perfect for containers. Mugo pines can handle that hot afternoon sun but if it’s in a pot, don’t let the soil completely dry out.

 

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

The Valley Cushion Mugo Pine has a spreading habit so the tree will stay very compact, low and flat, wider than tall. As the trunk lifts the canopy up off the ground, place smaller scaled miniature underneath it to make the Mugo appear huge. Click the photo to see more photos and care information.

Our Trees and Bonsai

Some of our trees come “pre-bonsai” and are grown specifically for that purpose, but they are PERFECT for our miniature gardening, especially in-ground where you need bigger trees for a more of a presence. Some use our regular (meaning, not “pre-bonsai”) trees and shrubs as bonsai starts too – but if you grow it in a miniature garden for a couple few years before “bonsai-ing it” (technical term ;o) you’ll have a much thicker trunk and branching system to start with.

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.MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

The growers are growing smaller. A response to the miniature garden and fairy garden trend. Use a few of the 2″ potted trees in the same miniature garden to create more of a presence. Planting the young trees together, (not touching though, let the air circulate in between them) when they are so young will help them through the extremes – they are still babies, after all. Okay, all together now, “Awwwwww…” Click the photo to see more.

 

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

A young Thoweil Hinoki Cypress growing happily in the corner of our miniature in-ground garden. It’s in dappled shade, that is Baby Tears at the base of the tree. When the top foliage flushes out a little bit more, I’ll trim up the leaves at the bottom of the trunk and it will instantly look like a tree.

See other Hinoki trees in miniature here.

Find It:
Thoweil Hinoki Cypress
Baby Tears
Birdbath
Bench

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

I’m a bit biased, however, I love all the miniature and dwarf hinoki cypress, but I’m looking forward to watching this Thoweil grow up. It grows into a narrow, upright shape that will make a perfect anchor tree for the garden. Hinokis are hardy to zone 5 or -20F. This is the Thoweil Hinoki Cypress in a 4″ pot. The tree is 4 to 5″ tall here.

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MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com.

The tiny Thoweil is also available in a 2″ pot. Clean out any dead foliage from inside the tree when you see it. It is how the tree exfoliates and it needs your help to get rid of the dead stuff when the tree is young. Older Hinokis and conifers can get rid of this dieback naturally.

 

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

Another fun surprise as a great miniature garden tree. The Humpty Dumpty Dwarf Alberta Spruce is the real deal: a miniature version of the majestic Alberta Spruces in our forests all over the US and Canada. This one has been “limbed-up” to make it look more like a tree. The tree is almost 10″ tall here and is about 12 years old, I suspect. We’ve had it in this container for at least 8 years and when we get them from the grower they are about 4 years old. Click the pic to see more.

 

MORE Effortless Growing With Proven Miniature Garden Plants & TwoGreenThumbs.com

It’s charming in the 4″ pot. Hardy to zone 2 or -40F, sturdy and durable. Spruces are drought tolerant when established in the garden bed. Remember that plants are about 15 degrees LESS hardy when planted in pots.

Find It:
Humpty Dumpty Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Tricolor Sedum
Dog
Doghouse (comes with the food dish & rawhide ;o)
Bench
Basket

See more on miniature garden design and combining plants with texture and color too.

Want to dive deeper into this wonderfully creative hobby? Join us at the new Miniature Garden Society, a private members-only website that is full of everything miniature garden with a lot more to come! Learn if it is good fit for you here.

Join our email list here for a weekly dose of miniature garden with our Mini Garden Gazette delivered to your inbox at the end of each week!

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New Miniature Garden Trees are for Bonsai and Railroad Gardening Too

Miniature Garden Trees and Shrubs

White Bud Mugo Pine is a favorite for the miniature garden. This one has been groomed for a bonsai start but we can take advantage of that, and use it as a “big” miniature garden pine tree.

New Miniature Garden Trees for Bonsai and Railroad Gardening Too!

The fall shipment of miniature garden trees arrived this week and, as usual, I was chomping at the bit for the truck to arrive. I think it’s seeing them all at once that does it. The miniature and dwarf conifers come in an astounding number of colors, textures and personalities that is simply inspiring.

If you haven’t considered a conifer or dwarf tree for you miniature or fairy garden, please do. It will change the look of your miniature garden dramatically and make it look like a true garden in miniature. See our full line of miniature garden trees and plants here, there is something for almost every zone too.

New “Pre-Bonsai” Trees

In addition to our favorite miniature garden trees and shrubs we received a bunch of pre-bonsai plants too. While they are groomed to be bonsai’d, we know that we can use them in our miniature gardens as perfect “big” mini trees, trust that growth rate will be stable, and skip all the maintenance that comes with the art of bonsai. You can impress your friends AND your neighbors!

Keep them in shape by removing any new growth along the trunk and prune away any wayward top branches.

Click the photos to see more pictures and the growing details up in the store.

Shimpaku Chinese Juniper

Miniature Garden Trees and Shrubs

The Shimpaku Juniper before grooming and growing for a couple of years.

Pre-bonsai trees for miniature gardening

This Shimpaku Juniper after grooming and growing-in for 3 or 4 years. You can see why it’s prized by bonsai artists and desired by railroad gardeners. The peeling bark on the trunk adds wonderful detailing, they are hardy and drought tolerant too.

Valley Cushion Mugo Pine

Miniature and Dwarf Trees and Shrubs for the Miniature Gardeni

The Valley Cushion Mugo Pine is available as a cute little shrub too.

Miniature and Dwarf Trees and Shrubs for the Miniature Gardeni

A bigger Valley Cushion Mugo Pine groomed and grown in for about 3 or 4 years. It’s just too sweet to watch the wee trunk gradually lift the canopy off the ground.

Seiju Dwarf Lacebark Elm

Miniature Garden Trees and Shrubs

Before growing and grooming. You can see how delicate the trunk looks. If you start with young trees, you can have the pleasure of watching them grow up.

Miniature Garden Trees and Shrubs

The Seiju Lacebark Elm groomed for a few years by the grower. Maintain this look by pruning away any new growth along the trunk, and cut any wayward, top branches. In late winter, shear the canopy into shape by looking at the tree as a whole, instead of the individual branches.

See all the new trees and plants that arrived up in the store here. We’ve sorted them for you by zone here.

Like this? Join us for your Mini Garden Gazette newsletter – it’s monthly and it’s free. Sign up here.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

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