Posts Tagged Conifers

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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Announcing the NEW Miniature Garden Society, 2.0!

Announcing the NEW Miniature Garden Society, 2.0!

It’s a brand new, totally focused website on everything gardening in miniature with all the bells and whistles!**

If you’ve been following us for awhile, you would have heard about our Miniature Garden Society member’s only website opening up a few months ago. Well, truth be told, it did get lots of kudos, oohs and ahhs, but it couldn’t add any community, forums or post-ability to make it just that more fun. BUT, alas! Have no fear because your miniature gardener is here!

Welcome to the NEW Miniature Garden Society website! It’s all that and more. Now that we have some roots and branches to the site, it’s time to get it really growing. Personally, I can’t wait because it’s a place to share all our ideas and information that didn’t fit into this book – nor did it fit into this book either. Lol!

Yup! Can’t tell you any more – need to get back to the new site! Learn more about it here. 

**May contain fairies. :o)

 

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

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How to Save Time and Money on Your Miniature Gardening

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Layer it. The Jacqueline Hillier Dwarf Elm is a great anchor tree for the miniature garden bed – you can easily plant under it as it gets older. That is a miniature Blue Planet Spruce in the back, left side. Sedum Angelina to the right and miniature daisies on the right. The pond is handmade – the best kind!

How to Save Time and Money on Your Miniature Gardening

Do you want to save some time and money? 

Do you want to have a successful miniature garden next summer too?

Did you know you can have BOTH?

  • Fact: Fall is the best time to plant your garden bed.
  • Fact: You can save time and money next summer by planting your garden right now.
  • Fact: The success rate for getting trees established in the garden bed is far greater in the autumn months than any other time of year.

(Images are from our Instagram feed. Follow the leader for more fun in the miniature garden, I’m under @theminigardener!)

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

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This miniature garden was sold around 2003 and lives on the Oregon coast. The couple who sought us out and bought it for their sister in law still keeps in touch with us. Apparently it is still alive and thriving. A testament to our true miniature garden trees, plants and shrubs!

Fall Planting Perks

Many people think spring is the best time to plant an in-ground miniature garden, but fall actually has many definite advantages. Fall planting is perfectly positioned in between the hot summer months and the cold winter season so any plant planted right now, will use this time to an advantage to get established in your garden bed. You can plant in-ground as long as the ground is not frozen.

You see, the plant’s roots still grow in temperatures 40° or above so, even though the temperatures might feel cool to you, the plant does not mind at all. During this time the root systems have a chance to develop and become established before winter. If you’re in a place where it doesn’t freeze, the roots will actually keep growing and establishing themselves to get ready for next spring.

When spring comes back, the new root system can fully support and take advantage of the flush of new growth. When the leaves start to bud and grow, the stronger roots are now able to tap in the reservoir of water on their own. You’ll save time because there is less maintenance to do, you’ll save money by lowering your water bill AND you will lose less plants to the whim of nature because they are already well-on-their way to becoming established. You can spend more time on creating and crafting the details of your miniature garden instead.

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Blue-colored shadows underneath the Golden Sprite Hinoki Cypress that’s about 9″ tall now. Our true miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs grow up to look like a majestic tree – in miniature! Why do you think we keep using them in our gardens? Because they can stay in the small scale for years and years…

Tips for your fall planting:

  1. Always invest in the best plant material as possible. High-quality trees and shrubs come with a well-developed root system that is ready to grow. Don’t get fooled by bargain plant sales – many of those plants have been fertilized consistently over the last few months and will crash when you plant them in your yard because you have no idea on the level of feeding they are use too. Do you always wonder why you easily loose plants from plant sales ALL the time? This is it. Word.

For example, Steve and I invested in a couple of cherry trees a few years back. We got them on sale – and it was the end of the sale – so we compromised and chose the best two out of four on the lot. We brought them home and planted them in our new garden about five years ago.  Well, this winter I’m definitely pulling both of them. They didn’t branch out as I expected. They did not produce any cherries – oh wait, I think I got one (1) cherry last year. This year, no cherries at all – none, nada, zilch, zippo. I even tried to prune them each year to attempt the shape them and increase the cherry production with disastrous results. After five years of trying to compromise with these bargain-sale trees, we ended up with a big huge waste of time and money. Had we stepped up and invested in decent high-quality trees to begin with, I would have cherry jam on my pantry shelf, and I would be looking forward to another cherry blossom show next spring.

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That’s a mugo pine on the left and a hemlock tree in the center. In the background on the right, is a wall of Monteray Cypress (a.k.a. Wilma, Goldcrest or Lemon Cypress, Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Wilma Goldcrest’)

 

2. High-quality trees and plants will reward you year after year by a behaving as they should. Take the time to find the best trees for your miniature gardening. Here are the questions that you need answers to in order to find the best plant for your gardens (- oh, and yes, we  answer them right in each listing in our online store!)

  • How do they grow: what shape they will grow up to be?
  • How much will they grow per year?
  • What do they need to stay happy and healthy in your miniature garden?
  • What are the water needs?
  • Do you know how to tell when to water so you don’t overwater or underwater??
  • Can it even grow in your area?

If you’re buying plants without answering these questions, you’re not taking advantage of our experience and expertise at our Miniature Garden Center, TwoGreenThumbs.com. All of our customers can get hands-on advice specific to your planting needs – just for being our customer! 

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From our Instagram feed. The miniature garden bed, full of texture and color, looks like a full-sized garden bed. How fun is that? The green lobe-shaped leaves are miniature daisies, about 1/2″ long. 

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!

 

3. Buy from a nursery that has fresh plant stock each season.  Many of the copy-cat online nurseries that attempt to specialize in true miniature and dwarf trees get their plant stock once a year: IN THE SPRING. That’s why you will see plants on sale right now, because they are leftovers. You may be getting a great bargain – but it’s not – that plant has been sitting on their store shelf for the last six months, in the hot weather, getting completely stressed out and is definitely root bound by now. Our trees and shrubs, and because we ONLY focus on miniature gardening, are FRESH each and every season. We are able to order in small batches from our high-quality grower to keep our inventory at the highest quality for YOU, our Fellow Miniature Gardener.

A wee bud on a dwarf fir is getting ready to burst. If you only plant in the spring, you'll miss the show that these plants put on!

A wee bud on a dwarf fir is getting ready to burst. If you only plant in the spring, you’ll miss the show and have to wait for another full year before they do it again!

On top of saving time and money by planting this fall, here are more great reasons:

  •  You don’t have to wait a year for results, enjoy the spring flush IN the season! If you plant your miniature garden now, you can enjoy the spring flush of growth at its prime. The lime-green buds that emerge from the tips of the miniature spruces, hemlocks and firs are so soft and bright, you’ll giggle with delight. The buds (called candles) of the wee mugo pines magically flush out in tiny, softer growth, you’ll wonder how they do that.
  • You can witness the spring with the deciduous trees too, (deciduous = lose their leaves in the fall) as the little baby leaves quietly unfurl on the small branches. The spring flush of growth is often so magical, you can see the leaves growing. So if you wait and plant it in the spring, you’ll miss it – have you will to wait a full year before experiencing the awesomeness of spring in your miniature garden.
  • You can appreciate the winter’s blush for months. Many of the conifer’s foliage change color in the colder temperatures and will give you a colorful show to enjoy in the winter months when you need it most. The miniature and dwarf hinoki cypress change to a wide variety of colors, plum, amber, purple and orange. The cryptomerias blush purple as do the junipers. The arborvitae turn a wonderful, solid amber color that looks great in the gray of winter. If you plant now you can appreciate this colorful wonder of nature for the winter THIS year. 
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Showtime! More winter bonuses by planting in the fall months: you get to see the entire cycle right now – no waiting another year to find out what you’ve missed! Above, the Pusch Dwarf Norway Spruce has cones from last year mixed with the new growth and emerging cones for a fantastic delightful experience.

So you don’t have to shut-down your miniature gardening just because winter is coming. You still have plenty of time to get your miniature garden or fairy garden ideas planted in the ground before it freezes.

See our plants by zone here.
See our plants by light here.

Remember that miniature gardening is, indeed, a season-less hobby because you can always, always, always plant a container garden at anytime of year.

More useful blogs:

Winterizing Your Miniature or Fairy Gardens
About getting your in-ground gardens ready for the winter.

Keep Gardening This Winter with Indoor Miniature Gardens
Includes dish gardening and terrarium information.

For the Love of Conifers: The Winter’s Blush
Dwarf and mini conifers change with the seasons too.

Winterizing Your Miniature Garden And Containers
A few tips on winterizing your containers from central Ontario – the land of icy tundra!

Like this? Well then join thousands of other like-minded miniature gardeners and sign up for the world’s ONLY regular miniature garden newsletter, The Mini Garden Gazette. It’s FREE and delivered straight to your inbox each Friday. Sign up here.

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

We wrote the book on it. Click the pic to see more.

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Round-Up: More About Miniature Garden Plants

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show

Some of the plants used for our Northwest Flower and Garden Show display were chosen as experiments to see how fast they grow up. The Parahebe, the small plant in front of the big Hinoki tree in the front blue pot, ‘looked’ like a good possibility – until it grew up.

Round-Up: More About Miniature Garden Plants

I STILL do it!

I always fall for the cutest little plants, especially when they are in flower. I buy it, plant it and watch it grow – and grow and grow and grow! So not cool if you are a miniature gardener.

So. Not. Cool. If your the world renown expert on miniature gardening either. Thankfully you have me to make these mistakes for you!

;o)

After all, we ARE looking from them to stay small or grow really slowly.

I’m getting a lot of emails lately asking about what kind of plants to use for miniature gardening – or how to find out what works in your backyard and what doesn’t. So I put this mini-directory together of previous blogs that have touched upon the subject in various ways. If your question isn’t answered here, please do let me know.

How to Find the Plants

This is part four of our beginner series. You’ll find the links to the rest of the series in the post. These are the steps to take for indoor and outdoor plants:

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/miniature-gardening-104-how-to-find-the-plants/

Examples of What to Look For

The main points of what to look for with a few examples of plants that we like:

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/miniature-garden-plants-examples-of-what-to-look-for/

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Secrets to Success

In this post, I talk about some of the plants that trick us into thinking they would work – until they grow up:

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/miniature-garden-plants-secrets-to-success/

About the Plants Behind the Winning Gardens

From our annual Miniature Garden Contest – I break down the plants that each winner used in their miniature gardens:

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/an-inside-peak-at-the-miniature-plants-in-the-award-winning-gardens/

The Meaning of “Dwarf” and “Miniature”

Dwarf and miniature are often used in the names of plants to help sell them – which can be misleading. Here are the definitions and what we mean by “dwarf” and “miniature:”

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/miniature-dwarf-plants-the-true-meaning/

Signs of the Plant’s Demise So You Can Prevent It

A discussion on the signals that plants give you when they are not happy. Notice the signs, save the plant.

https://minigardener.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/how-plants-die/

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

NWFGS miniature garden container

Four months later: the Parahebe sure has pretty flowers – that have overgrown the scale of the miniature garden! I’ll transfer it to one of my in-ground miniature gardens in the fall.

What Can be Grown in your Area?

The very best way to get to know what plants work in your area is your local garden center or nursery – NOT a big box store. You know, one of those cozy, plant-laden stores where you hear a soothing fountain off in the corner, the air is thick with humidity and you have to duck under trees and walk over the hose to get to the cashier – and this is inside the building – THAT kind garden center.

Take some time and walk around and get a feel for where they have the plants at the nursery.  You should find the right plants in the right place too. Note the zone info and what kind of soil they recommend for the plant (and use NO potting soil with added fertilizers!) Then you can retreat home and look again at the space that you are thinking for your miniature garden if you haven’t decided that yet.

Find the tested, tried and true miniature garden trees, shrubs and plants here, up in our online store. We have the best shipping methods and we ship safely all year long!

Here’s a quick-list of what you are looking for:

  • Miniature or slow-growing dwarf trees or shrubs
  • Groundcovers
  • Rockery Plants
  • Alpine Plants
  • Sedums & Succulents (small leafed, of course)

For a complete discussion of the trees, shrubs and plants for miniature gardening, look forward to the first comprehensive book on miniature gardening from Timber Press:

Gardening in Miniature

Now available for through Amazon.com, or wherever books are sold. To order your signed-by-the-author copy, from our online store, click here

Join us for more fun in the miniature garden and sign up for our FREE weekly Mini Garden Gazette newsletter. You’ll get a free PDF, The Best of the Mini Garden Gazette delivered straight to your inbox after you confirm your subscription through your email. Join us here.

 

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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.)

See our miniature garden plants sorted by zone here.

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 our miniature plants sorted by light here.

http://www.MiniatureGardenSociety.com

We’re digging deeper. Join us.

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 foliaged 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.

See our Theme Department here.

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 and plants 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.

The kits come with a mini or dwarf tree, matching bedding plants (ground covers), my own Mini Patio Mix Kit, rocks or brick sheets for easy install, and miniature garden accessories to finish off your wee landscape. Once you do this kit, you’ll know how to do it again and again.

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 and you get our free pdf, The Best of the Mini Garden Gazette #1, just for signing up. Join us here.

 

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

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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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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

 

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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.

 

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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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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.

 

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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

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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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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.

 

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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.

 

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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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