Posts Tagged gardening

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.)

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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.

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Want to know more about our Miniature Garden Society? See that here.

 

Miniature Garden Gift Ideas from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

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How to Plant a Miniature Garden in a Big Pot, Part 1

Miniature Gardening in Large Containers

From the Archives, 2004: Our first display at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show. A good tip: pick a pot with a lip on it so you have something to grip if you have to move it or pick it up (not like most of the pots above!)

How to Plant a Miniature Garden in a Big Pot, Part 1

Miniature Gardening in Large Pots

From the Archives, 2004: This pot is 17″ high and 14″ wide and big enough to put a path through the middle of it.

Planting a miniature garden in a big container creates room for more fun, more plants and more ideas. You can visually break up your design into a couple of smaller garden rooms within that one big pot, with paths leading to and fro. You can make a huge yard with several focal points happening around the container, or have enough room for a small house or building, a particular favorite of fairy gardeners. We talk about the different kinds of pots that can be used miniature gardening in our new book Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World, but here are a few more tips on how to save some time and money – and your back – when working with very large pots or containers.

What’s Deep? What’s the Minimum?

What do we consider a deep pot for miniature gardening? Any pot that is deeper than 14″, in my opinion. We recommend at least 8″ of soil so the miniature garden can stay together for a couple/few years before needing repotting. This allows the trees and plants to grow and weave together and you still get that aged-garden-look after a couple of years that is very enchanting.

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How to Keep Your Big Pot and Plant It Too

Another popular question when planning a miniature garden in a huge pot is, “Should I put something in the bottom before I start planting?”  Yes, and there are several reasons why you can go ahead fill that big container up with some sort of filler, leaving 8″ to 10″ from the top of the pot, before you add regular potting soil that will make you, and the plants, happier in the long run.

The miniature garden plants that we recommend to use are usually small to start with, so they don’t need a lot of soil to get growing. I find some types of plants tend to falter when planted in a huge container full of soil, as most plants prefer a smaller root environment when they are young. We call it “swimming in soil,” when the water wicks away from the plant’s roots to the bottom of the pot where gravity pulls it, and the moisture doesn’t stay around the roots where it is needed. Then the roots dry out, the plant starts to stress and falter. By using filler, it shortens the depth of the soil, prevents the water from wicking, the soil stays damp longer and the roots stay happy.

Miniature Gardening in Large Containers

From the Archives, 2004: Planting miniature gardens in large pots leave more room for creativity.

Fill ‘Er Up

Another reason to use filler on the bottom of the pot is huge pots can get really heavy. The spot you choose may be perfect for that garden this summer and into next summer but you may want to eventually move it. The two most popular ways to fill up your pots are:

Styrofoam peanuts or popcorn: Most packing peanuts are biodegradable now so put them in a plastic shopping bag, tie the bag shut and place the bag upside-down in the pot so water doesn’t get inside and stagnate. If you are using a really big pot, use several of bags-full and fill the pot up to about 10” to 12” from the top.

Miniature Gardening in Large Pots

Upside-down poly pots make a great filler. Smush them to fit them in.

Upside-down black plastic nursery pots: Start with big 1 or 2 gallon pots in the center

Miniature Garden Gift Ideas from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

Join us! We’re digging deeper! 

of the bottom of the pot and work in the upside-down 4” pots, squishing them so they fill in as much space as possible. You can cut a couple of pieces of cardboard and layer it on top of the upside-down pots to create the “bottom” of the pot, or you can just start filling up the pot with soil.

We’ve heard of people using upside soda-cans and they would work only if they are rinsed out really, really well. Otherwise the sugar in the soda would draw unwanted pests to your container.

Note that this is for miniature gardening with small plants. Bigger plants mean more roots. If you are creating mixed containers of regular perennials and nursery plants (aka trees and shrubs) you may want to use potting soil all through your container to leave plenty or room for root growth.

SOIL CONCERNS: Use organic potting soil with no added fertilizers or water-retaining polymers. Your miniature garden plants don’t need it and the added fertilizer will burn the roots of the miniature and dwarf conifers.

POTTING SOIL VS. TOPSOIL: Potting soil has all the necessary nutrients and micro-organisms for a contained environment. If you look closely, you’ll see rich, dark organic matter, bits of sand and perlite or vermiculite mixed in to keep the potting soil from becoming a big lump of dirt over time.

Topsoil is plain soil, without the added ingredients for pots and containers. It is used to amend the soil in garden beds where any water drains naturally. The plant’s roots have all the room they want and can find nutrients on their own.

Part 2 is here. This was getting too long and I have more tips and techniques to share here.

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It’s a Mini Spring Round-Up in the Miniature Garden!

MiniatureGarden.com it's where craft and garden meet!

We’ve got our new website, a hub for all our work and research on Gardening in Miniature is now at MiniatureGarden.com!

It’s a Mini Spring Round-Up in the Miniature Garden!

Happy, happy Spring! You just can’t beat the first smell of spring in the air, can you? Here in Seattle, one day it’s sunny and warm, the next day is cold and rainy. Needless to say, it’s that time of year when I schedule my work around the weather. Hey, if you can’t beat Ma Nature, join her! Here are some more tips on how to get started with Spring, and without.

On the Spring To-Do List

We’re patiently waiting for it to stop raining so the soil can dry out so we can get busy. If you work the soil when it is wet you’ll damage the microcosms and ruin your good soil so hang-tight if you’re having the same weather that we are here in Seattle. Here’s a quick list of the 8 Spring To-Dos in the Miniature Garden.

 

Still Waiting for Spring?

Here is a blog post to get you started despite the weather. Miniature Gardeners don’t need a reason or a season to start gardening! Waiting for Spring in the Miniature Garden.

Celebrating Easter?

And here is an Easter garden that was part of our “Year in the Miniature Garden” Series a couple of years ago. See it here.

Like this? Join us and thousands of other miniature gardeners from around the world for your weekly Mini Garden Gazette. It’s the only miniature garden newsletter out there and it’s still free. Join us here.

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Faith, Hope and Pixie Dust: Miniature Gardening with Disney

faithhope

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

;o)

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.

Sign up to be on my mailing list to stay inspired here.

Like this? Please visit the Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center here. We appreciate your support to keep us going and we specialize in superior, personalized customer service!

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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Patriotism in the Miniature Garden

A patriotic miniature garden.

A patriotic miniature garden for Inauguration Day. 

Patriotism in the Miniature Garden

Honoring the United State of America today! I think it’s the biggest ceremony that we have in the US despite who you voted for.

We’re proud to be the only miniature garden store with a Made in the USA department that we established years ago.

It is important vote with your wallet and shop your favorite micro and independent businesses – we’re the businesses that truly appreciate your support!

 

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See our flag printable up in our store.

A fun patriotic USA flag banner. A quick, fun project for the miniature garden.

See our flag printable up in our Etsy store.

Insight into making the right-colored lights is up in our MiniatureGardenSociety.org.

Insight into getting the right-colored lights is up in our MiniatureGardenSociety.org.

You have your hobby, now here is your club, the Miniature Garden Society! 

Our tiny gardens are up in the store.

Our tiny gardens are up in the store from time to time. Join our email list to find out when our new kits are in stock!

See all our kits here.

Join our email list here.

Creeping Thyme cascades down the front of the pot.

Creeping Elfin Thyme cascades down the front of the pot.

Find our Creeping Elfin Thyme here.

Authentic miniature patio collects moss naturally.

Only with our Mini Patio Mix Kit! An authentic miniature patio collects moss naturally, stays in place and ages really gracefully. You can keep reusing it as you repot and replant your miniature garden over the years.

Find the Mini Patio Mix Kit here.

The patio is made with our Mini Patio Mix Kit and our Stone Sheet.

The patio is made with our Mini Patio Mix Kit and our Sea Green Stone Sheet.

Find the Mini Patio Mix Kit here.

Find the Sea Green Stone Sheet here. (Comes in large and small sizes.)

 

A Jean Iseli Hinoki Cypress is over 10 years old.

A Jean Iseli Hinoki Cypress is over 10 years old.

Find all our Hinoki Cypress here.

Insight into making your own accessories is in our MiniatureGardenSociety.org.

Insight into making your own accessories is in our MiniatureGardenSociety.org.

See the MiniatureGardenSociety.org here.

The flag printable comes in 3 scales.

The flag printable comes in 3 scales.

Find the printable DIY USA Flag Banner here.

Find our Creeping Elfin Thyme here.

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A patriotic miniature garden.

A patriotic miniature garden. Be sure to tuck the paper accessories away for July 4th!

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I’m Taking You With Me – Your Miniature Garden Cub Reporter

I’m Taking You With Me – Your Miniature Garden Cub Reporter

Well, well, well!! It’s about time, isn’t it? We’ve been so busy building the new MiniatureGardenSociety.org website for the last two years that it feels really, really good to finally be doing the things I wanted to do with YOU!

Because I’m taking you with me! Yay!

Join me on a winter tour of our favorite wholesale wholesale nursery today. It’s this type of insight that I’m bringing to my new Miniature Garden Society so you can learn about, see more of and experience your miniature garden hobby in ways that you never thought of before: through the eyes of the person who brought it to the marketplace AND wrote the bestselling & most informative on it. (Whew! :o)

Our members can look forward to coming with me on a tour of the second largest garden show in the nation next month, a mecca of miniatures in April – the largest in the States AND you’re coming with me to the huge Epcot Garden Festival at Disney World where I’m presenting my new book, The Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World by Timber Press (An affiliate Amazon link.)

SO JOIN US!! It’s all happening inside the MiniatureGardenSociety.org!

Miniature Garden Gift Ideas from Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

Here’s the script to the video:

I’m brought you with me today! I’m Janit Calvo, founder of the Miniature Garden Society and your new cub reporter for everything miniature garden. This is the type of insight and info-tainment that I’ll be bringing you this year through the Miniature Garden Society. Yep – I’m bringing you with me wherever I go!

Today, we are here at our favorite wholesale nursery just outside of Seattle, Washington. It’s a frigid January day in the Pacific Northwest and our gardens have been frozen for the last 2 weeks. Luckily, we specialize in cold hardy plants for the miniature garden and our plants are definitely hardier than I am!

So this wholesale nursery specializes in all types of perennials and this is where we get our miniature garden bedding plants – okay they are ground covers but isn’t it more fun to call them miniature garden bedding plants?

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.comI’ll bring you back here in the summer because you can’t see just how pretty all the plants look right now – they cover the rows up every winter to give the plants some protection from the often-unpredictable pacific northwest weather.

Some days the sun will warm the plant material up only to dip down to freezing at night. By covering up the plants, it evens-out the temperature and the plants don’t get subjected to that extreme difference each day. It’s just an extra step that this nursery takes to make sure their plant material is high quality all the time.

Another reason they cover them up  plants (or keep them in a heated greenhouse) is to speed up the growing process so they can sell plants faster but they do make sure they harden-off the plant and actually put the plant through two stages to make sure it hardy enough for the outdoor weather.

You can see all the greenhouses that line the fields – there are about 97 of them here. All but a few of them are unheated. But look at the rows and rows of plants. It’s a dangerous place to be if you are a plant-aholic! We’re back here in the corner sourcing some lavender for a customer so this is the view looking back from where we came. In the summer all those fields are full of flowering perennials and it’s just lovely.

Join us at the MiniatureGardenSociety.org for more insight and fun with your miniature garden hobby. This spring I’ll be taking you to the second biggest garden show in the country, I’m taking you to the miniature mecca that happens in the United States each year AND – we’re all going to Disney! Yes, I’m taking you to the Epcot Garden Festival where I’m doing a presentation on my latest book, The Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for your Tiny Living World!

So join us – you’ve got your hobby, now here is your club: MiniatureGardenSociety.org!

 

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

We wrote the book on it. Get your autographed copy here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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