Posts Tagged green

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.

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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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VIDEO: Miniature Garden Ideas for Christmas & Winter Holidays

VIDEO: Miniature Garden Ideas for Christmas & Winter Holidays

Ah! The Big Day is almost upon us! I can feel my tension mounting as my “Oh, I want to do that too!” list keeps growing and growing. If you’re like me, sometimes it takes a while to get my momentum up to bake & decorate and then all of a sudden I become Santa’s right-hand woman. Hear me Ho-Ho-Ho. Lol!

So, here is a video packed with a bunch of miniature garden ideas to help you through the last week because you KNOW how much fun it is to decorate your miniature garden or fairy garden as well as your full-sized world. I set the video to some very pretty piano music to remind you of the magic of Christmas. The video is only a minute and a half long but it’s FULL of ideas. Please like and share it!

More Miniature Garden Gift Ideas

Custom Miniature Garden Kits – You pick, we send!

Our Miniature Garden Calendar – One garden, 12 occasions. Whoa.

A Subscription for the Miniature Garden Society! – A fun place to connect, craft and create!

More Miniature Garden Decorating Ideas

DIY Christmas Decor in Miniature! – How fun is this?

Miniaturizing Martha! – Emulating the Queen of Decorating, Martha Stewart.

More Decorating Ideas – Less the fuss!

Share Your Love!

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THEN use the share buttons to help spread the joy of miniature gardening!

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Easy, Quick & Fun: A Miniature Garden Pumpkin House

Halloween Miniature Garden

Once the pumpkin house was carved, it was easy fun setting up this shot in the miniature garden.

Easy, Quick & Fun: A REAL Miniature Garden Pumpkin House PLUS Halloween Tips

After years of creating and growing with this new-again hobby of miniature gardening, it’s a wonder that you can come up with anything new, huh? But, alas, it’s the variables that rope you in and keep the ideas dancing in your head in the wee hours of the morning. So many plants, pots, accessories, sizes, themes and designs to keep you creative! Oh my!

You mean I can plant a garden now? – ‘Tis the season and you can start with Halloween, carry on through Thanksgiving and into the holidays with the same garden – or make a new one each month. Miniature gardening is season-less and can be done anytime, anywhere, so don’t wait for the seasons to have a reason to gardening in miniature!

Make a REAL Miniature Pumpkin House! – Alright, there are now two ways to go about getting a miniature pumpkin house in your miniature garden. This pumpkin-house blog was first published 3 years ago and, since then, a few different kinds of resin pumpkin fairy houses have been made in China and brought back here to attempt to tempt you with… if you can be temped by future landfill. (Sorry, I’m a tree-hugger and very pro-Earth.) BUT you’ll never get the satisfaction out of a resin house that you will from carving your own house design from a real pumpkin. So, release your inner architect, grab a knife and pumpkin and have some fun. I sure your fairies will enjoy a real pumpkin house too!

Halloween Miniature Garden

We tried shooting with some extra light off to the side, but found them a bit distracting from the pumpkin house. We found the light-up ghost for $1.99 at Rite Aid.

Tips for Shooting Photos in the Dark:

  • Set up your shot in the daylight and start shooting when it’s dusk. If it gets too dark, the camera can’t see the plants with the natural light and you can’t see the surroundings. Photoshopping it afterwards doesn’t look natural.
  • Use a tripod or something sturdy to hold the camera in place. The camera’s shutter will need to stay open for a few seconds, by keeping the camera steady, it will stay focused.
  • Try a couple of different settings on your camera. If you have automatic “scene” settings, try the food and/or museum settings first. Turn the flash off if the camera sets it off automatically. If you are tinkering with manual settings, try adjusting the exposure compensation to a brighter setting.

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  • Load your photos to your computer from your camera before you take the scene apart. Seeing the images on a bigger screen gives you another perspective and you can see what needs tweaking, fix it and reshoot it right away.
  • Be prepared to work fast, as soon as that sun sets you have a limited amount of time to use that dwindling light. If you can, do it again the following night. If you’re an early bird, try this at dawn but set up the shot the day before when you can see, have the candles ready to light and have a piece of cardboard or plastic to sit, kneel or lay down on.
  • Have something else that lights up in the shot. That little light-up ghost helped to illuminate some more details outside the pumpkin house. If you have string lights, see how they look just laid behind the house, or in front of the house and the edge of the shot.
Halloween Miniature Garden

I cut the squares for windows, then sliced up the cast-off pieces to make the “window panes” and just wedged them in place. The pieces will dry out and shrink so either keep some extra pieces cold and damp to replace the strips when needed. If they dry out too much, get the hot glue gun to tack them in place from the inside. (Assuming the inside flesh of the pumpkin has dried out as well. Remember that it’s only temporary.)

Miniature Garden Clean-Up Tip: For your Halloween set-up, leave the fallen leaves scattered around the miniature garden. It will look more natural. Don’t worry about detailing the garden if your photographing in the dark, the focus will be whatever is lit up. In this example, the eye will go to the pumpkin house first, the ghost second, and then take in the rest of the scene.

Miniature Halloween pumpkin house

The impromptu patio was taken out of a miniature garden and reused here. It’s made from our Mini Patio Mix Kit, a special recipe just for miniature gardens. You can customize to fit any garden and won’t wash away in the rain.

Have a happy and safe Halloween! 

In case you missed it:

How to Carve a Miniature Pumpkin

Halloween in the Miniature Garden

Our main website with galleries and FAQs

Our online store, The Miniature Garden Center

Like this? Then you’ll love our FREE Mini Garden Gazette! Join us here.

Miniature Garden Trees

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Bling Gardens: Kokedama Comes to Americ… Huh?

Bling Gardens

Bling Gardens: Kokedama Comes to Americ…huh?

— This blog was first published 4 years ago. I thought string gardens would be a passing fancy but, no, I was wrong again in calling an end to a trend. Hey, at least I got miniature gardening right, right?? ;o) I still enjoy these photos as I wasn’t able to keep them alive for very long – I was unable to regulate the dampness of the soil that these plants needed. If you try this, chose drought-tolerant plants that don’t mind when the soil dries out, like tropical succulents for example. —

String gardens. It’s the new thing. Trees and plants dangling from the ceiling, suspended by a piece of string.

But, something was missing.

There was certain beauty in the simplicity but these dangling plants were lacking that little something to make them, well, you Fairy Gardening with Two Green Thumbs.comknow, pretty.

So, I spent some time in the studio over the last couple of weekends tinkering with the idea. Yea, I know, it’s how I unwind…

And THEN, my friend Christina Salwitz, author and garden guru of the popular blog, The Personal Garden Coach, highlighted them in her reporting of the big Philadelphia Flower Show this past week so, I HAD to get back in the studio to finish them off last night.;o)

Here’s are the results:

Bling Garden with Green Tara

Bling Garden with Green Tara. Trying different combinations of materials to see what works. That gold band is about 3″ wide. I kept nicking the fragile leaves… !!

Kokedama is the Japanese art of string gardening. It’s kind of like a hanging bonsai in the sense that the plant’s roots are confined to a small space – but without the container. Most of the instructions I found on the Interweb say that you need special kind of soil, Bonsai soil or Akadama soil, but I just used a fine mix of peat, sifted compost and vermiculite. In theory, we are looking for a soil that retains moisture but still drains. We don’t want the roots wet all the time or they will rot – but nor do we want the root ball to dry out all the time. We shall see if that works…

Bling Garden with Buddha

I wanted more than a “string” to hang them with. In this case, with such a chunky chain that I chose, this bling garden needed a bigger accessory, of the same color, to balance the boldness of of the chain. The leaves took more abuse with all the experimenting…

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How-to Kokedama simply put: The plant is planted in a ball of soil, wrapped in peat, then wrapped in sheet moss and tied together with a string. I figured there was lots of room for play…

Bling Garden

After this one was done, I had to laugh. The focus is really off the plant now that there are so many things poked into it. That’s an old doily dyed with paint that is wrapped around the sheet moss.

I put up a hook and chain in the studio where I could see how they hung while I was working on them. It felt like I was dressmaking at times with all the primping and poking. Too. Much. Fun.

Bling Garden

This bling garden turned out to look like a present. Lol! 

I kept fussing and fixing it until I realized that they should be created “in-the-round,” meaning that it’s going to be viewed from all side. So, however it hangs or turns, it will still look good.

Bling Garden

I used hemp string together with the ribbon to tie it up and make it hang securely, the pearls and ribbon are just tacked on. The little fairy house was a perfect fit that worked with the coloring too. I’m not sure how the moss will react with it smothered like that with the doily… I kinda hid the plant though! It’s all bling, no plant. Lol! 

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Bling Garden

This poor begonia took some abuse during all the poking and prodding. We’ll see how the plant grow in – and if they can handle all that “bling” too.

Bling Garden

Now the plants become trees with a smaller accessory at the base. The pink ribbon is reinforced with fishing line.

Bling Garden

As with miniature gardening, the personality of the garden changes with the accessories. This one takes on a rustic air with the wagon wheel and bucket.

Bling Gardens

Small toys work too… Lol!

Bling Gardens

Keeping it simple is very sweet – and puts the focus back on the plants.

Water them often because they can dry out pretty quickly. I use a spray bottle but I take them to the sink to do that – it’s the only way to water the moss to keep it green. You can use a squeeze bottle too, and squeeze the water directly into the root ball. Again, watch where they drip if they are hanging inside and protect your surfaces from the water. Note that any cloth you use, like the lace doily I used above, will get dirty quickly and start to look messy. Take a photo of your work for your brag book.

Bling Garden Ad

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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.

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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!

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

 

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Happy Father’s Day from America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center!

Fathers Day 2016 in the Miniature Garden

Happy Father’s Day from the Miniature Garden.

Happy Father’s Day from America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center!

We had fun putting this together for Dad’s special day. Have a wonderful Father’s Day weekend!

Click the photos to enlarge them.

Fathers Day 2016 in the Miniature Garden

The black water bowl was purchased years ago and has seen (felt?) several miniature gardens over the years. It’s the perfect shape for a miniature scene. This one is about 18″ in diameter.

The tree is a Seiju Dwarf Elm that we get in stock from time to time. The pot is 18″ across and drilled for drainage.

See the Garden Chair up in the online store here.

Fathers Day 2016 in the Miniature Garden

Here’s lookin’ at you, Dad! Have the camera make eye contact with the critter in your miniature garden – as if it was caught in the act. It starts the story.

Plants from left to right, click the links to see more photos and info in the store.

Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’)

Sea Foam (Herneria glabra) alternated with

Hens & Chicks (Semperviren tectorum)

Red Thyme behind the Dwarf Mondo Grass, upper right (Thymus praecox)

Fathers Day2016 in the Miniature Garden

Include a tiny scene to draw the viewer into your miniature garden. It’s the details that will keep them smiling. That is a HO scale model figure in the wee barbecue miniature garden. You can find those tiny accessories at your local train/hobby store.

See our Miniature Propane Barbecue here, a tiny rubber chicken is included!

Regular set of miniature Sedum Cuttings

See the genuine Cedar Oval Deck, made in the USA.

The Miniature Puppy Dog.

The Small Cedar Trellis.

The birdhouse, Miniature Tower with Steeple.

Fathers Day 2016 in the Miniature Garden

Keep it simple and avoid cluttering the scene. It makes it more play-able too. You have room to get in there and reposition the accessories at whim.

 

Barrel Planter, drilled for drainage!

Larger Sedum Cuttings.

Like this? Then you’ll love our FREE monthly Mini Garden Gazette! Our subscribers get first dibs on exclusive, true miniature trees, shrubs and plants, as well as any of our unique, realistic accessories and kits. Join us here.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY WEEKEND!

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America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center

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Miniature Garden Workshop Tips

Miniature Garden Workshop Tips

For a successful miniature workshop – and with very little effort-  you can take care not to set your students up for failure with plants that work and pots that last.

Miniature Garden Workshop Tips

Spreading the joy of miniature gardening is just as much fun as creating one. With our beloved hobby travelling like wildfire throughout the country, and the world, there are many fellow miniature gardeners who have stepped up to teach it this year. Here are some pointers that we developed after teaching this hobby for the last decade.

Looking for a Miniature Garden class? – If you are looking for a class in your area, the first place to start is your local garden center or nursery. Give them a call, find them on Facebook or, better yet, go and visit them to see what’s going on and say hello.

Miniature Hobby Farm Garden

We punched a bunch of holes in the bottom of this galvanized tub before planting to give the excess water a place to go.

Here is a last-minute checklist for our fellow miniature gardeners who are conducting workshops and classes this spring and summer.

  • Group plants horticulturally to make it easy-peasy for your students to assemble their gardens. Put indoor plants together, outdoor plants together, full sun with full sun, etc. Group plants that like dry soil together – or moist soil together too. If the student doesn’t care about mixing up the plant’s needs in one pot, just make sure they know what they are getting. (A workaround is to keep the moisture-loving plants in the poly-pot and plant the whole thing, pot and all, into the miniature garden. If it’s an aggressive grower, cut out the bottom of the poly-pot before placing it in the miniature garden.)
  • Not all plants will make a great miniature garden. The satisfaction and reward of a miniature garden is to have it grow and weave together over several seasons, if not for years and years. If the student has to repot her “investment” in two months time and buy new plants – they will be disappointed and may not try again. Simply put, plants that stay small and grow slow are the best choices to start with. See what’s in our store for more examples here. Make sure new gardeners have the best leg-up with the right plants so they are satisfied in the long run – and they will come back for more and more fun because the miniature garden is so easy to maintain.

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  • Gather a wide selection of containers if it’s an open class where students choose their own. Some may live in condos and want lightweight containers, while others may have a larger space to work with and want to plant a bigger miniature garden.
  • Choose pots or containers with a drainage hole. Just about any container or teacup can be drilled with the right drill and drill bit. Look for masonry drill bits for most Asian and Chinese pottery, for teacups and porcelain, look for porcelain tile.
    Miniature Garden in a barbecue

    Above photo is from 2013: I chose this “container” because it was new and, being a barbecue, it already had holes for drainage. My plants are true miniatures (Michelle Mugo Pine with Congested Ice Plant) and I know I can keep this together for years before it will need repotting. I shelter it from the hot, summer sun because it is metal. UPDATE – 2016: The Ice plant outgrew the pot last year. The Michelle Mugo Pine is still very happy in this wee bbq planter! 

    Don’t set your students up for failure by telling them that anything can be used for a miniature garden, closed containers simply will not work for everyone. Help your student’s success rate by providing a drilling service, or only recommending containers with drainage holes.

  • Give careful consideration of what you are recommending to plant in. Yes, that old drawer or broken pot may look cute for the first couple of months after the miniature garden is planted but, after a while, your still stuck with an old drawer or broken pot! As the miniature garden keeps growing more magical and fun throughout the seasons, you may regret not investing in a nice container that will last and not fall apart when moved. Note that baskets lined with plastic are temporary containers and will not last. I have found that poking holes in the plastic doesn’t work very well either if you want the garden to last.
  • Always choose organic potting soil for your miniature gardens. Stay away from any soil with extra fertilizer or water-retaining polymers, the plants simply don’t need it, it may burn the roots and nor do you want your miniature plants to grow fast. There is enough nutrients in a good-quality potting soil to last for up to two years.

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  • Recommend accessories that are weatherproof and/or are staked to hold their place in the soil. It is cute to add wee books, refreshments and tiny details but they will weather quickly and get lost in the garden – which is hard on some people’s budgets and their patience. Spending good money on miniatures that don’t last long is frustrating for the new miniature gardener. Put the focus on what will stand up to the weather for the more satisfaction.
  • Provide some snacks or refreshments during the workshop to keep everyone engaged. Miniature garden workshops can sometimes take up to four hours at times. By providing a little nourishment, you can avoid people having to leave early because they need food. Make sure to mention this in your flyer or ad, to let the people know. Better yet, team up with a local caterer and make it a luncheon-event. The students can eat while you teach, then plant afterwards.

Need to know how to build a miniature garden like a pro? Here is our complete instructions on how to create a miniature garden, it includes some in-ground tips and tricks, scale information and recommended plants to use.

Like this? You’ll like our Mini Garden Gazette – join us here for more fun in the miniature garden. 

Visit America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center, here: http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

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