Posts Tagged Child’s garden

Faith, Hope and Pixie Dust: Miniature Gardening with Disney


Faith, Hope and Pixie Dust: Miniature Gardening with Disney

[Updated from November, 2010.] A trip to the toy store the other day to lurk for miniature garden ideas instigated a trip to the video store to rent the latest fairy movie from Disney, Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue. It’s all in a day’s work here at America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center.

You bet I watched it  – and no, I don’t have children, nor do I have a child in my life that I could borrow for the excuse to watch it. I just did.

Oh, you’re doing it again, aren’t you? You’re laughing at me!

Now this is the kind of invaluable market research that is part of my job as leader of the hobby, researcher of everything mini garden and owner of the world’s only Miniature Garden Center dedicated to gardening in miniature. It’s this is the level of sacrifice


Nah, really, I just wanted to see if there were any cute ideas I can share and, never-to-be-disappointed-by-Disney, there were more than a few new ideas that you can put in your bag of tricks the next time the kids or grand kids want to get miniature gardening.

Miniature Fairy Garden

Get the kid’s imaginations working with some hands-on fairy fun and magic in the miniature garden.

Fairy Origins and Lore via Disney

– Each time a baby laughs for the very first time, a fairy is born. This is called their Arrival Day, similar to our Birthdays. Wait. Did I hear a giggle?

Disney latest line of fairy toys can easily be used in the miniature garden.

Disney latest line of fairy toys can easily be used in the miniature garden.

– Fairies are from Pixie Hollow and each fairy has a different purpose. They come to the “mainland” to help with the change of the seasons by coloring the flowers in the spring, they help pollinate and tend to the gardens and crops in the summertime, paint the leaves in the fall and make icicles and snowflakes in the winter. Just place what they do before the word fairy and you can create any character for your own purpose. Examples include, “Wind Fairy, Pumpkin Fairy, Dog Fairy, Spruce Fairy, etc.

– Fairies are about 5” tall and are dressed in anything natural that usually illustrate their purpose. Flower fairies wear petals and leaves, the pumpkin fairies wear the pumpkin and the wind fairies… huh? Wait. Are they naked? Lol!

– The fairies help to put the hibernating animals to sleep in the fall or to wake them up in the spring. I wish they could do that for me when I can’t sleep at night. Oh, and they also take care of wounded animals everywhere.

– They paint the stripes on bumblebees and design the patterns on butterflies. Awesome.

– They use fireflies as flashlights. When you see a firefly, it is really fairy flying around.

– Male fairies are called Sparrowmen. They look like elves with wings and acorn hats. I love that name!

A pretty fairy in the mini garden.

A pretty fairy in the mini garden.

Points of Attraction

– Fairies love shiny objects just like me. Place a small mirror or something shiny in the garden to attract them – or me. Lol!

– They sometime use buttons as stepping-stones to lead the fairies to your fairy house. If you do use buttons, please don’t relay on your fairy to keep them in place. Instead, use our Mini Patio Mix Kit. It’s easy and fun to use.

– Create a wee leaf-plate for the “fairy offering” to help lure them into your garden. Fairies eat fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and bread. Place a wee snack as an offering and see if they take you up on it.

– Fairies smell slightly like cinnamon. If you catch a whiff, there is a fairy nearby but not the fairies are still not edible.

– They use mint leaves as a toothbrush and pine needle combs. They use cotton balls as pillows and leaves as blankets. Fairies prefer the natural house and lean-to’s so they can go inside and see out the windows.

If you are NOT going to see the movie, here’s a synopsis:

The mAd-Fairyovie was very fun in typical Disney fashion. The only characters are the Dad, the daughter and the fairies. The Dad is very pre-occupied with his work collecting, studying and mounting bugs and butterflies, which is completely horrific for a fairy to see! The daughter catches a fairy by accident (Tinkerbell) and they bond. Dad eventually finds out, catches a fairy and rushes to expose his find to the world. Just before it is too late, he is swayed when he sees his daughter flying with the fairies, pleading for the release of her friend. The fairies befriend the Dad and, with a heavy dose of pixie dust, make him fly too. I love the end where the Dad, daughter and all the fairies are all hanging out spending quality time together.

Checkout your local toy store for a number of different fairy figures to use in the miniature garden that are child-safe, washable and durable. Introduce fun and magic to the children while you still can.

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See more:
Whimsical Fairy Swing DIY
About Miniature Fairy Garden Moss
Declutter Your Fairy Garden 

Checkout Disney’s wonderfully Interactive Pixie Hollow Website here.

Sophisticated Fairy Gardening, by Janit Calvo

NEW LOW PRICE!! Click the Picture to read the intro! An expert view on fairy gardening and how to make them look authentic in your miniature garden.


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5 Ways to Start Your Own Miniature Garden

How to Start a Miniature Garden

There are many reasons to grow your own world – they are fun to give and fun to get! This scene is approximately 10 inches wide.

5 Ways to Start Your Own Miniature Garden

I’ve made well over 1,300 miniature gardens since I started this business in 2001, [Update to 2015: we are over 3,000 gardens, in-ground and in containers.] and I have found that there are a number of ways to begin the journey of creating your own wee world.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Choose your site for your mini garden

Right plant, right place applies in miniature as well. Where is your miniature garden going to live: In ground or in a container? Indoor or out? Then figure out what kind of light does that spot have: Full shade? Morning sun? Then choose the plants that will do well in that environment. (Note that indoor plants are tropical plants that like to stay 60 degrees or above all year ‘round. No, you can’t grow an outdoor plant indoors.)

Use the search to find your miniature garden plants for your area up on your Miniature Garden Center store (- click on the little magnifying glass in the upper right corner and type in your zone.)

2. Choose your favorite tree

If you have the luxury of planting anywhere, checkout the miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs that are ideal for miniature gardening, and pick a tree that sings to you or tweaks your interest. Some trees can be “limbed-up” to show some more trunk so it looks more like a tree than an shrub. Choose your “mini bedding plants” (a.k.a. ground covers) by matching the same light and water requirements as the tree. If you haven’t been bitten by the miniature conifer bug yet, be warned: they are both numerous, gosh-darn cute and easy to grow.

See all our plants for shade here.

See all our plants for sun here.

We’re digging deeper. Join us at our members-only website! Membership reopens in the summer!

3. Choose your favorite theme

Forest? Backyard? Formal? Rustic? Re-creating your grandmother’s life-sized garden in miniature? While there may not be an exact miniature version of the full-size tree, you can more-than-likely find a similar, slow-growing, small foliage tree that is similar in growth shape. Use images of life-sized gardens to help kick-start your brainstorming session and Google it. Look for iconic items that will weather well, classic a rose arbor or grandma’s favorite garden chair, to add to your miniature garden rather than clutter the small scene with tiny details that will get lost in the living miniature garden.

4. Choose a container

Sometimes the container just beckons to have a wee world in it. Let the colors and the personality of the pot help or dictate the mini garden theme. An unglazed, terra cotta pot would be the perfect pot for a rustic backyard garden-theme. A big, black, glazed, ceramic pot would look smashing with a formal-style miniature garden planted with a Blue Pygmy Juniper, Hens & Chicks and Wooley Thyme for the understory that all enjoy the full sun and tolerate the odd dry soil.

See all our miniature garden trees, plants and accessories for miniature gardening here.


Your Miniature Garden Center

5. Try a complete kit.

I have a variety of Miniature Garden Kits in my online store, to suit a number of different environments. They come complete with full color instructions that guide you through the simple steps to create a mini garden in a container, and it can be applied to an in-ground garden too.

Miniature gardens make great gifts for that hard-to-shop for person in your life, hostess gifts, centerpieces for family gatherings or weddings. They do very well at charity auctions and raffles too.

There are just as many reasons to grow your own world, as there are reasons to live in this one. Enjoy your mini garden journey and adhere to the most important, number one rule of gardening in miniature: Have fun and grow your own world.

Need more?


Visit the source of the miniature garden hobby here.
Visit America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center’s here.

Like this? You’ll love our weekly Mini Garden Gazette! It’s free! Join us here.


Gardening in Miniature, now in it's 5th printing!

The bestselling book on the hobby! Click in to get your autographed copy or find it on!


Shop Miniature Garden Plants

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Miniature Halloween Gardening with Plow & Hearth

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Many are called but few are chosen: when I came across these baby snails during the photo shoot, I knew what I had to do. See the bigger one on his lap. Snails are not included. Lol!

Miniature Halloween Gardening with Plow & Hearth

Have a “little” fun in the miniature garden by mixing and matching Plow & Hearth’s fairy items and houses with their holiday accessories. In this blog today, we’ve used their houses in a couple of different gardens so you can get a better idea of what they look like. I’ve made notes about the plants and design throughout as well.

Click to enlarge the photos to have a better look.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo


– The backdrop of the Wilma Goldcrest cypress (aka Lemon Cypress) behind the Stucco Fairy Garden Cottage adds a splash of color in the winter months. If the temperature dips to freezing, I’ll have to cover them somehow, they are hardy to 0F.

– To make the hill, we mounded up the soil, planted the top then placed the stones and stairs into the side of the mound. We’re gradually adding little ground covers in between the stones to help hold the soil in place – a technique used in full-sized gardening here in Seattle to prevent mudslides.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Bird’s eye view so you can see what’s going on. 

– That “big” tree up on the hill is a Jervis Canada Hemlock. The ground cover that is cascading down the hill is a ground cover thyme.  The wee shrubs lining the fence on the right-hand side are Alpine Spireas that are getting ready to shed their leaves for the winter.

– We usually use our Mini Patio Mix Kit to lock in the stone sheets but you can use them without and fill in the gaps with more soil. In a climate like Seattle, moss will eventually find its way into the cracks if I can leave it alone for a few seasons.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo


– Get “matchy-matchy” with your patio and houses, it just looks better. See the photo before this one to compare – it looked alright until we switched houses and found that this combo was much prettier. Pick up the colors of the house when selecting your miniature patio materials.

– When placing your items in your miniature garden, place them as you would in your full-size garden to help the realism and the enchantment. Leave pathways clear for foot traffic and the door free of clutter to go in and out. Make your path and patios cohesive by creating them with the same stone, or at least the same color of stone. See our Patio and Path Department for more ideas.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

The Thatched Fairy Cottage can look like a completely different house when turned at an angle. The sides of all the houses have cute details, windows and flower boxes.

– Since working with the Plow & Hearth miniature fairy garden houses and accessories in our new in-ground garden, I must point out that I have some neighbors walk by and don’t see these fun details at all – and they don’t even see me in the garden either  – and others just melt, point, giggle and say OMG alot. Lol!

– The Halloween Accessory Set from Plow & Hearth is very sturdy and staked with a rod to hold their place in the garden soil. Great for kids 6 and up, and perfect for “big” kids like you and me!

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

I had to try the baby snail on the ghost too. Cuteness abounds!

Like this? They you’ll love our monthly Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter delivered to thousands of fellow miniature gardeners throughout the world. Join us here by filling out the form and confirming through your email address.

Find your miniature garden trees, shrubs, plants and patio materials here, in your Miniature Garden Center.

Miniature Halloween Garden


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A Little Fairy Gardening with Plow & Hearth

Fairy Gardening with Plow & Hearth

Playing with Plow & Hearth’s Tree Stump Fairy Garden furniture in our miniature gardens.

A Little Fairy Gardening with Plow & Hearth

If you’ve been following my work then you know I haven’t done a lot with fairies in my miniature gardens. It’s not that the idea isn’t appealing, my Mom has always been nutty about them and the two of us would enjoy pouring over any fairy book whenever I was home sick from school. I also fondly recall being entranced with Water Babies, a book by Charles Kingsley that Mom gave me too. What is it with young, childlike figures with wings that mesmerize us so?

Now before you go sending me emails again, please note that fairy gardening is different than miniature gardening in the same way fiction is different than non-fiction. Fairy gardening is based in fantasy and miniature gardening is based in realism. It’s as simple as that. Fairy gardens tend to be focused on the houses, figures and accessories. Miniature gardens are focused on the plants, trees and garden design.

So, when Plow & Hearth approached me for a collaboration, it opened up that fairy door again and in I went. And, after an hour of searches on the Internet I can safely ask the question that hasn’t been answered yet: how do you make a realistic fairy garden? Join us on our exploration of fairy gardening with Plow and Hearth and, together, we’ll figure this out and have some fun along the way.

There are a number of very fun fairy garden items up in the Plow & Hearth store here, but for now, we focused on the furniture accessory sets for our containers because we can’t get into our soggy garden beds right now. (Working the soil when it’s wet will compact the soil and make it difficult for water, air and roots to get through. The damage can be long-lasting too.) When the weather warms up this spring, we can get out into the miniature garden bed and hash-out some more realistic layouts and ideas that I’ve been accumulating. 

What about you? Do you care about realism in the fairy garden at all? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think.

Fairy Gardening with Plow & Hearth

This cute set looked great in the miniature garden next to our miniature trees and plants.

This is the Ivy Fairy Garden Set, an eight piece set – includes another barrel planter that isn’t shown. We drill holes in the bottoms of the miniature planters so they don’t fill up with rainwater and rot the plants. That wee shrub on the left is a true miniature Duflon Fir, the “big” tree on the right is a grown-up Majestic Japanese Holly. See our Jersey Jewel Japanese Holly here – it’s easier to find than the Majestic.

Fairy Gardening with Plow & Hearth

The detailing is crisp and well done. It’s a nice set for a miniature garden.

Find the “permanent” patio solution up in our store. We used the Terra Cotta Stone Sheet and locked it in with our Mini Patio Mix Kit. These stones are level and flat – ideal for miniature furniture so they don’t sit askew.

Fairy Gardening with Plow & Hearth

Cute accents on the birdhouse and the arbor is really sturdy.

Fairy Gardening with Plow & Hearth

I keep playing with that pond – some days it’s fire pit with a tea light in it, other days it’s a small pond. I use a rag-towel to “wick” out the water if I want to empty it.

The chairs are part of the Adirondack Furniture Accessory Set, the tree is a Jervis Canada Hemlock that has grown-in for a few years – find some younger Hemlock trees here. And that patio is made from our Mini Patio Mix Kit and our Montana Rainbow Reds Tumbled Stone (it took a couple pounds to find enough skinny ones for this design.)

Fairy Gardening with Plow & Hearth

Mixing and matching to see what will fit with what. No, I can’t leave anything alone! Lol!

All the Plow & Hearth accessories are really sturdy and they would be great for kids – as well as “big kids” like us!

Fairy Gardening with Plow and Hearth

The Woodland Fairy Garden Set includes with a bridge (not shown) that we will definitely play with later.

See the Woodland Fairy Garden set here. The tree is an older Jean Iseli Hinoki Cypress, find a slower-growing one, the Nana Hinoki Cypress, right here. That is Elfin Thyme, a ground cover thyme that isn’t edible but makes a perfect miniature garden bedding plant. See all our plants for sun or part sun here.

Fairy Gardening with Plow and Hearth

Our tiny gnomes work perfectly in the miniature birdbath. Too cute!

Plow and Hearth Fairy Gardens

The Tree Stump Set is very cute – check out the door in the table.

Here’s the Tree Stump Fairy Garden set up on the Plow & Hearth website. It also includes a bridge that will be a lot of fun to play with in the garden bed this spring.

See our wide selection of miniature garden trees, shrubs and “bedding plants” available up in our online store. If you are a subscriber to our Mini Garden Gazette newsletter, we’ll hold your plants until your weather improves and ship them when you want. Purchase reserves the trees and quantities are limited. Sign up with us here.

Plow and Hearth Fairy House

Can’t wait to get the Plow and Hearth Fairy House’s into our miniature garden bed!

Like this? Then come and meet me at Plow & Hearth’s English Village Store in Philadelphia on Saturday, March 8th at 1 pm for a living miniature plant demonstration and Gardening In Miniature book signing.

Your Miniature Garden Center

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How to Change the World One Miniature Garden at a Time

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Miniature Tiki Party Garden

Hey, Steve found a Tiki Man!! He’s a bit big though. We’re still celebrating  our 5000 Facebook milestone last week. See last week’s blog post for more party pictures.

How to Change the World One Miniature Garden at a Time

I believe that everyone is creative. When confronted with someone who denies it, I am able to point out their creativity by asking them what they do for pleasure – and that usually illustrates my point. So. I look for concrete facts on the topic every-so often, and just happened to I stumble across a video of creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson on

A Tiki Man!

Steve found this guy for the Tiki Garden Party.

Sir Ken challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems to cultivate creativity and to acknowledge multiple types of intelligence and ways of learning. He points out the sample principle that Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” But the good Sir explains it further in his engaging, joking manner in this video from one of his TED talks.

“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.”

His premise is this: What we learned in school 20 years ago did not equip us for the world that we live in now. We had to learn to adapt, change, invent, produce and grow throughout the years to be able to navigate the world that we live in right now. In other words, we had to be creative. Sir Ken goes further to explain the importance of teaching creativity to children now, so they can have the necessary tools to live in the world of the future.

Fairy Gardening with Two Green

A Miniature Tiki Bar

The A miniature tiki bar was put together with hot-glue because I’m not going to let it get wet. I rubbed the wood underneath with artist’s charcoal to blend in with the driftwood.

“Children starting school this year, will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue, has any idea, despite all the expertise …of what will happen in 5 years time.”

We get educated out of creativity. So much class time is spent on the sciences and maths, and not enough time is spent on exercising our creative muscles. The children aren’t learning to adapt.

And, guess what? This is where YOU come in!

How? Be a show off.

Show off your creativity to the young kids around you. Show them how much fun you are having building your miniature gardens and keep mentioning it, keep bringing it up, drag them over to see your gardens and invite them to come closer. Use some of your older accessories in the front garden beds by the sidewalk for all to see and visit. Make little vignettes, or larger miniature garden scenes throughout the front garden bed. You’ll not only be showing off your expertise, you’ll be showing them how fun a garden can be. Why not? It’s all in the name of creativity and hey, you can change the world one miniature garden at a time.

And here’s the TED talk, it’s quite funny too. Click here to go the website.

{TED is an non-profit organization dedicated to “Ideas Worth Sharing” which now includes an ongoing annual series of global-wide conferences and a heavy online presence through their website at If you love to learn, you’ll love this site – there’s a ton of free entertainment on there.}

Like this? Then you’ll like what we do on our main website, Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center:




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The Most Creative Review on Gardening in Miniature Book

Texas Triffid Ranch

The Texas Triffid Ranch – Odd Plants and Oddities For Odd People – another source for creativity and ideas. This is his masthead.

The Most Creative Review on Gardening in Miniature Book

As the book reviews keep flowing in and around the Internet, one stands out among the rest as the most creative book review I’ve read – never mind receiving. Paul Riddell is the imaginative brain behind The Texas Triffid Ranch. His slogan is “Odd Plants and Oddities for Odd People,” he had me at the word “odd.” Lol! Check out this book review and let me know if you’ve ever come across one that is more creative than this:

Review: Gardening in Miniature by Janit Calvo

And here’s a couple of more links to his miniature garden research and suggestions on his blog. Paul has had a love for dinosaurs since childhood and miniature gardening was one of the ways he would play and learn about them. Do a search on his blog for ‘miniature garden’ and you’ll get to more of his info, resources and ideas on tools, books, dioramas and more. Especially if you have young boys around – you’ll love his take on miniature gardening.

Paul’s essential reading on miniature gardening 

Walking with Miniature Gardens

From the gallery of Texas Triffid Ranch

Paul’s miniature gardens aren’t just gardens. They usually contain a link to the past – or the future. Click the picture to go visit his gallery.

Paul also does a ton of work with promoting unusual plants through his nursery, lectures and trade shows in the northern Texas area. One of his specialities is carnivorous plants – some of which come in miniature, I might add! He also specializes in prehistoric plants and vivariums. Check out his main website, see his gallery and event schedule here:

Follow his journeys on his Facebook page and I guarantee you’ll never look at life the same again,

Gardening in Miniature Book

Now available at a bookseller near you!

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New Miniature Garden Plants & Accessories for the New Hobby

Miniature Garden Pond

The new medium-sized pear shaped pond snuggled into the pot quickly and easily. Surround it with a few “boulders” to make it blend in.

Mini Garden News: New Plants, New Accessories for the New Hobby

Whew! There is nothing like a book deal to throw a wrench in your work week. I really hate when that happens! Lol!

Yeah, ya caught me – I didn’t have time to blog for weeks now and I do feel bad about it. Blog ideas have been piling up in my brain though so know that I have thought about you! We got a ton of stuff done, Steve and I, but to have a quiet moment to write a short blog? Whassatabout?

So, in an effort to make up for it, I have added some more brand-new-never-existed-before-ever miniature garden accessories, re-stocked a bunch of old favorite miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs in our store.

Miniature Garden Lagoon

I think I need a monkey for this Miniature Garden Lagoon.

Miniature Garden Pond

The new small-sized Miniature Garden Pond.


Brand spankin’ new Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Ponds are modeled after the real thing. The ponds were designed by me (Janit) are made for the living miniature garden, but they can work for the dollhouse garden too. They come in three different sizes and can work with all different miniature scales.

The shapes are very fun to work with: a small kidney shape, the medium size is a pear-shape and the large one, pictured above in the tropical garden, we call the lagoon. Made of resin, the ponds are weatherproof, can hold water and install quickly and easily. The realism and detail are nicely done – a simple solution that looks great in any miniature garden situation.

Tansu Japanese Cedar

The Tansu Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Tansu’) is a favorite for the miniature garden with its delicate looking foliage and irregular shape. Perfect for a sunny spot with evenly damp soil.

Plant Favorites

Butter Ball Hinoki Cypress

The lacy, colorful foliage of the Butter Ball Hinoki Cypress.

There’s a ton of information out there these days, so you might want to rely on the tried and true to start your journey into the garden. We are restocked with a few of our trusted favorites – you’ll find something in there for all types of miniature gardens. The Blue Pygmy Juniper is terrific for sun and loves sharp draining soil, the Horsford Canada Hemlock is real cutie for tiny, shaded gardens with the cutest little trunk in the nursery. The Variegated Boxwood is perfect for indoors. You’ll find slow-growing dwarf Hinokis, Japanese Holly and dwarf Arborvitaes too.

Miniature Garden Rose Trellis

Miniature Garden Rose Trellis, design by Janit for the living miniature garden.

Miniature Garden Bean Pole

The Miniature Garden Bean Pole looks great with or without plants on it.

More New Designs

I love it when a plan comes together. Check out the new Rose Trellis and Bean Pole, the latest addition to the Two Green Thumbs line. Designed by me and are specifically made for the living miniature garden. Sturdy metal painted copper can be seen against the greens of the plants.

Ponds, horses, tiny trees and bean poles. Where else are you going to get this kind of news? ;o)

Checkout the rest of our New and Back-In-Stock Department in the online store here.

Join us for more miniature garden goodness here.

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