Posts Tagged Janit Calvo

Teaching Gardening In Miniature to the “Experts”

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Project Extension

The custom fairy house from the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book makes a miniature garden a fairy garden. Simple. But the difference starts with the garden.

 

Teaching Gardening In Miniature to the “Experts”

It’s happened again. The garden industry is taking the easy way out and has got our hobby all wrong – still. It’s no wonder I keep getting emails from these garden center customers asking me the usual questions because they couldn’t find an answer at their local garden center.

Take note of this article from Garden Center Magazine that doesn’t offer one photo of a true miniature garden, yet uses the term all throughout the article. It boasts using realistic miniatures but they are not shown. In that one plant photo in the article, I would recommend ONE of those plants – the rest plants, you are set up to fail.

It even references one “expert” who misleads newcomers consistently and constantly, and has been doing so for many years, chasing shiny bullets in the garden world. (Although she trolls my work relentlessly, I find it weird that she has yet to learn anything from my work. I wish she would read my book already. It’s getting ridiculous. Lol!)

 

 

And here’s another article from the same trade magazine. In this one, they again confuse the two different styles of gardening small and call fairy gardening, miniature gardening. Anyone can see that these are two different hobbies are unto themselves by the different levels of attention to detail, (we stay in scale,) attention the plants, (we actually design a real, living garden,) and the simple fact that a “real” miniature garden can last for years and years – and years and still stay in scale. NONE of the gardens shown in the article will last more than a season, in fact several of the gardens have plants that are not even compatible with each other – which is a perfect waste of time and money!

I’m making this point because it’s me that gets the phone calls if something doesn’t work out in a fairy garden. It’s me they text to find out why their fairy garden plant didn’t survive in the huge pot they put it in. And it’s me that takes the time to answer all the questions that are being overlooked or ignored by these so called “experts.”

Anyone can be an expert on the Internet – look to their own authenticity and their own work for validation on whether to trust them or not. Here is more insight in how to figure out if the “expert” you are following is really and expert or is in it to get sponsored and paid by companies to tote their wares.

How to Identify an Expert on the Internet

 

Your primers for the Miniature Garden hobby! Click to see more!

 

 

 

 

 

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Simple Heat Zone Map is Handy for Internet Plant Shopping

MG-Spruce-Dilly-Pusch - 1

The Jean’s Dilly on the left, Pusch Norway Spruce on the right. Time to do a little cleaning up of the miniature garden beds now the the weather has warmed up.

Simple Heat Zone Map is Handy for Internet Plant Shopping

Do you buy plants on the Internet?

Are you wondering how you can know for certain what plants you can grow in your area? When you shop at your local, independent garden center, they have already done their homework on what plants will do well in your area. But if you’re shopping online, you need to know just a couple of things, to make sure the plants you are ordering will survive and thrive.

We know as gardeners, we have been trained to look at the cold hardiness of the plant to see if it can survive the winter but, for the warmer States, there are different concerns: the heat.

Harold, from Burbank, California, asked if the Dwarf Alberta Spruces (Picea glauca) can survive in a railroad garden that gets several 100 degree Fahrenheit days in the middle of tAd-FallPlanting - 1he summer. How do we find that out? By referencing the American Horticultural Society’s Heat Zone Chart, we find that the heat zones in Burbank (heat zone 8 ) are outside the recommended zones for the Dwarf Alberta Spruce (heat zones 6-1). From this research, we can figure out if he would have better success with a Dwarf Norway Spruce (Picea abies, heat zones 8-1) instead. And yessiree, he will.

Now, because the Norway Spruces are on the edge of the recommended heat zone for Burbank, CA, and we know they like their roots to remain cool and damp, by planting it in part sun and adding a simple mulch each spring, Harold will have a much-easier time maintaining the dampness in the soil. The roots are kept happy, which will keep the Dwarf Norway Spruces happy, which keeps Harold happy, and everyone is happy! Hope you are too.

But I digress. Happily. :o)

Short Needle Mugo Pine. Pinus mugo 'Short Needle.'

A true miniature Mugo, the Short Needle is hardy – but not heat-hardy enough for Batan Rouga, LA.

Another example is from another miniature gardener from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Lori asked whether the Mugo pines (Pinus mugo, heat zones 7-1) would work in her garden. The pines are really tough plants but, referencing the heat zone chart, they are just outside of the Louisiana heat zone 9, and are two-too many zones away to feel safe recommending them. There are just too many hot days for the Mugos to survive – in theory, however.

 

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We have the cold-hardy and the heat-hardy zones in all our plant listings in our online Miniature Garden Center Store!

That said, gardening is a personal and sometimes, a very arbitrary hobby. What works for one gardener may not work for another in the same area. In each and every State, there are many micro-climates and something as simple as a different garden bed on the shaded side of the house may be just fine for one conifer, but not for another type that isn’t as adaptable. In the hot states, the air-movement is also a factor so by spacing out the conifer, or thinning out the shrub a little, the air will be able to move through the tree, help it breathe and stay cool.

You can find out more about heat zones in The American Horticultural Society A-Z

Getting to Know America's Favorite Miniature Garden Center, TwoGreenThumbs.com
Find everything you need to know to get started in the hobby with the bestselling Gardening in Miniature book from the world’s top garden publisher, Timber Press!

Encyclopedia of Garden Plants where they have comprehensive listing of (almost) any plant grown in the States today and the heat zones for each plant are within the individual listing. It is a truly wonderful reference book for the dedicated gardener. Mine lives in my desk drawer, ready for action at the flick of my wrist. I’ve marked off a lot of the plants, full-size and miniature, in the book so I can one place that I can go to remember what’s what.

Online, you can find a more heat zone chart information from their website at: http://www.ahs.org/gardening-resources/gardening-maps/heat-zone-map. It used to be searchable, but if you are ordering plants from our store, you should find the heat zone information in each miniature garden plant listing.

As the golden rule suggests, choose right plant for the right place for the best success!

See what we have in our online Miniature Garden Center Store here.

Join our mailing list for more miniature garden goodness here! Scroll down a bit to get to the form.

More than Fairy Gardening

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10 Reasons Why the Philadelphia Flower Show is the Best Garden Show in the US

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

The Wonder of Garden Shows: the Philadelphia Flower Show.

10 Reasons Why the Philadelphia Flower Show is the Best Garden Show in the U.S.

I just got back from the huge Philadelphia Flower Show last Monday and I’m still reeling about the show. It was awesome. This is my third time going to this show and it truly is the best garden show in the United States hands-down. Here are 10 reasons why.

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

I missed getting this volunteer’s name but her hat is divine…

1. It’s All About Volunteers

The Philadelphia Flower Show is hosted by the Philadelphia Horticultural Society and is completely organized and driven by volunteers. The simple fact that it’s built by volunteers takes the pressure off the money and puts the focus back on the plants, education and gardening.

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

All protein, no carbs! Lol! This show doesn’t have any filler-booths with food or junky home decor. The booth space is always sold out too.

2. It’s All About the Plants

95% of the show is about gardening, plants and the environment – including the marketplace. You won’t find rows and rows of food vendors hawking their mustard, nor a whole sections of shabby-chic indoor decor just to fill up the booth space.

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

Collaborating with other professionals and businesses forces them to come up with more and more creative solutions each year. This show just keeps getting better and better.

3. They Collaborate

As you walk through all the exhibits and competitions you notice that all kinds of schools, universities, garden clubs – and kid’s garden clubs, societies, museums, art galleries, small businesses plus a large number of visual artists and floral designers are involved throughout the show in many different ways. It seems no one is pigeon-holed into only having one way to participate.

The huge garden displays are built by many different companies to create wonderfully creative displays that are dramatic and memorable. There were a number of displays representing different countries as well. How refreshing!

Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

One of the many different displays of artwork made from the garden! How awesome is this necklace??

4. They Think Outside the Garden Bed

Among the garden displays are many different categories of garden art made for the garden and from the garden. Sculptures, paintings, abstract arrangements of all shapes and sizes, Ikebana, and jewelry – my favorite – everything is made from nature but it never looks like it!

 

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

There is always a strong art-element to this great show. This is just a small part of the 1280 square foot mural that was in the middle of the show.

5. They Love Art

OMG. I can’t say enough about how the PHS and the city of Philadelphia work together to promote the arts. Not only does it make a great flower show, it makes for a great city too. Giant tulips sticking out of buildings and huge bronze sculptures – art is everywhere in Philly!

6. It’s Very Accessible

The Philly Flower Show is held in the Philadelphia Convention Center which is right on top of train station. Easy for everyone.

7. They Give Back

Proceeds from this show drives the Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s “green” projects for around the greater Philadelphia area. A great example is their Tree Tender Program  plants over 2000 trees annually, since 1993.

8. They Keep Growing After the Show

The PHS has a very long reach into garden education and outreach programs that happen throughout city and state for the rest of the year. They have community gardens, parks, public landscapes that involve thousands of city residents “to make the city a more livable, likable and vibrant place to live and work.”

This year the Philly Flower show added a “Water Summit” to their agenda that was open to everyone – and for anyone. They brought in leading environmentalists and industry experts to educate us on real-world solutions to the issues we face in keeping our fresh waters clean and drinkable.

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

My Best of Show pick from the Miniature Garden Settings exhibit. The artist is Nancy Grube.

9. They Honor Different Ways to Garden

Within the show itself, the different classes of competitions help to remind us of the many different types of plants and trees that we can grow AND they encourage and inspire us to do so. But, more importantly from my perspective, they include our beloved Miniature Gardening. They have two classes of miniature gardening PLUS the Miniature Setting Exhibit which is one of the best attended exhibits with a constant line up from the time the show opens right to when it closes.

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

The PHS honors many types of gardening. This is just a fraction of it – the Wardian case competition.

10. It’s Not About the Money

It’s about community, education, the environment, art and gardening. Sure they need to make money to keep it going, but that’s not the focus – the people are. Yes, there is a marketplace within the show for shopping, but most of the floor is devoted to the exhibits with a few stages for education sprinkled throughout the floor plan.

And, its official, I’m jealous. Lol!

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

There were a lot of lovely displays by floral designers too.

 

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

The garden displays kept going and going… it’s always lovely and inspiring!

 

Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

While some of the displays were totally out of the box, other displays could easily be replicated at home. Very inspiring!

 

Our Gardening in Miniature book set! Shipping is included with this set – and let us know if you want them autographed!

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A Brand New Miniature Garden Center Store!

It’s a brand new Miniature Garden Center!!

A Brand New Miniature Garden Center Store!

Release the doves! Crack the champagne already! Send up the songs of gratitude! Call the press! GET THE CAKE!!

It’s a brand new Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center Store that is completely up to date and now available on any computer, device or phone nearest you!

And we’re thrilled!

Look forward to us growing and adding to this website as we move forward in spreading the joy and love of gardening in miniature just in time for spring – we’re doing the happy dance!

Don’t just sit there – click into the America’s World’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center, TwoGreenThumbs.com

Beautiful photos are throughout the site. Easy to navigate too. Use the search bar to shop by your planting zone!

Here are just a few differences that keep us apart from “the rest:”

1. We wrote the books on it: Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World and Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World.

ICYMI – These little bars are the new menu on a lot of new websites these days. Click the little bars to see more!

2. We keep our focus on realistic miniature gardening because that’s were the magic and enchantment really happen.

 

3. We have the only full-time blog on the hobby (you’re reading it now.)

4. We have the Mini Garden Gazette that we send out to thousands of Fellow Miniature Gardeners each week for FREE. Join us here – just scroll down a bit!

5. We specialize in the miniature and dwarf trees and plants that work. Our plants don’t outgrow your miniature garden in one season, they are easy to take care of and won’t die if you turn your back. Search by your planting zone!

6. We have a brand new website that is easy to navigate! :o)

7. I’m prolly missing something. Lol! Here’s the link to the store while I think of it: TwoGreenThumbs.com

 

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Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center is online ONLY.

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Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Yep! This is it. Lol! It’s was the only miniature garden that I found at the “second largest” garden show in the country. It’s a cake. Where did everyone go?

Miniature Gardening at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Yeah, I would rather be miniature gardening too. Lol!

Well, the big Northwest Flower & Garden Show was held here in Seattle last week. As usual, I scoured the show for evidence of our wonderful new hobby and found – — wait for it — a cake. I couldn’t even eat it either.

And, that’s it.

The Swanson’s Nursery booth had some fairy garden tchotchkes, and Robert from Pacific Northwest Bonsai was there with his bonsai and accessories, and there were a few mini garden plants found in with the full-sized plants, but nothing for the miniature garden hobby. It seems that everyone has made their money and moved on which really means, they were only into it for the money, honey.

We did get a nice spot on the bookshelf in the show. :o)

Well, have no fear, we are here! And, we love gardening and miniatures  – and, okay, who doesn’t love money? – but we’re not a trend-chaser and never have been.

Won’t you join us? Here are a few ways to do it:

1. The world’s only Miniature Garden Center solely dedicated to the miniature garden hobby. We didn’t go the way of the fairies when it was trending because the gift and garden industries were pushing it so hard. (A note to the powers that be: there will be fairy gardeners still fairy gardening after the trend wanes!) TwoGreenThumbs.com

2. This blog. It’s the only  blog solely dedicated to the art and craft of gardening in miniature. Congratulations for standing apart from the crowd with us!

3. Our Mini Garden Gazette is the only newsletter solely dedicated to… you know where this is going, right? Sign up through our headquarters at MiniatureGarden.com

4. The Miniature Garden Society. We’re not exactly keeping the dance alive at the MGS, we’re still creating the music and the choreography! This hobby is DEEP and very creative and we’ve only just begun even though the Society is 3 years old now. Learn more about us here.

We did have a blast meeting everyone who came for my demo! Thankfully my out-of-the-box ideas were well received and I did get a chance to make ’em laugh. Thank you to all who joined us!

Why doesn’t Two Green Thumbs Miniature Gardens vend at this show anymore? It was toooooo stressful for just two people to do and hold-down an online store too. We don’t have a garden center full of employees that need something to do during the winter. We would then go into our busiest-season completely burnt-out. We tried it for three years, three different ways and it just wasn’t fun.

The Northwest Flower and Garden Show is a difficult show for any vendor but with the show using more than half the space that used to be the plant market for food and thrift-store booths now, it’s simply not an interesting show for the experienced gardener any more. The show promoters also added a conference for “industry professionals” which takes away from the vendors who spent all that time, money and energy setting up for the show. I think they need to decide on whether is a country-fair show for people hawking their wares, or a conference for industry professionals or a garden show for gardeners. IMHO.

Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

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Miniature Garden Plants: Miniature Settings Exhibits Vs. Real Miniature Gardening

Miniature Gardening at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Miniature Garden Displays: Miniature Settings Exhibit Vs. Real Miniature Gardening

NOTE: The photos in this blog are from the 2014 show. The Miniature Settings Exhibit has since changed hands, and the quality of the exhibits is apparently very different from what you’ll see here.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is home to the only major Miniature Garden Settings exhibit in the world – and it happens to be one of the most well attended exhibits at the show too. I’m on my way there in March where I will be speaking at the Gardener’s Studio stage on Saturday, March 10th at 2pm, the second Saturday of the show to promote my second book, Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World.

When I finally saw the gorgeous miniature displays in person last year, I realized it was completely different than the type of miniature gardening that I have taught for well over a decade. I knew it was different, but it wasn’t until I received this email last August that I realized other people didn’t know the difference – even some of the people who are participating in the exhibit.

“Dear Janit,
I have been invited to show in the miniature class in the next Philadelphia Flower show and not too long ago ordered several plants from you. Unfortunately a few of the plants were way too big in scale to be used, one died and another is on its way out. It seemed like a great deal of money and I was sorry I spent it for so little return. I, therefore, will not be ordering from you again and could not, in good conscience, recommend you to anyone else.   [Name and location removed]”

Whoa. It’s like I took her $75 and hightailed it to Mexico. Lol! Yea, our type of miniature gardening is well, gardening!

Right plant, right place works for miniature gardens – and all types of gardens, wherever you are and whoever you are. Plants are the great leveler of society, they only care if they did not receive the right growing conditions, and not money, nor fame, nor status – nor any nasty email – can change that.

This poor woman spent almost $75 on a Slowmound Mugo Pine, Dwarf Hens and Chicks, Mini Sweet Flag, Gemstone Hinoki Cypress and Piccolo Balsam Fir that included the Tansu Cryptomeria and Jersey Jewel Japanese Holly. Had she asked if any of these plants were ideal for her project, I would have cautioned her about how to use them – and the fact that they are outdoor plants would be first on my list.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings – The Birds by Louise Krasniewicz. Click to enlarge the photo and you will see a blend of young plants, plant starts, indoor and outdoor plants. This method of growing and combining plants works wonderful for the settings exhibit, but would not be expected to last if it was planted as a miniature garden.

And what she didn’t notice is that all the pot sizes are mentioned in the text and shown in the photo with my hand as a reference to the size of the plants.

I hope she didn’t plant these all together because would be a disaster: The mugo pine and hens and chicks are outdoor plants, love full sun and drier, well-draining soil. The Mini Sweet Flag prefers wet soil, shade and can be grown indoors and the rest are outdoor plants, prefer evenly damp soil and part sun/shade.

All these differences and growing details are always mentioned in each listing underneath the multiple photos of each plant in our online store.

Thankfully, I’m from “the east coast” and knew that it was just a misunderstanding, albeit an irritating one. I wrote her back explaining the difference, included some references and wished her luck in the exhibit.

But despite my compassion for teaching and sharing the joy of gardening in miniature for almost two decades, I’m human and the email did ruffle my feathers a bit. I haven’t stayed in business for over 18 years by supplying the nation with miniature plants that don’t work. I didn’t fill the bestselling book on the hobby, Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World, with false pretenses and nor did the world’s top horticultural publisher, Timber Press, print a book filled with wrong information. Why did she jump to such radical conclusions? Because people hate being wrong.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

A close-up of Louise’s garden beds – they were impeccable. She plays with rooting cuttings and uses them while they are young. Begonias and succulents are her favorite. That burgundy colored plant is a very young coleus. The wee garden bed looks perfect! (Click to enlarge.)

So, Janit, What is the Diff?

Dr. K of the Miniature Garden Settings exhibit blog has put together a database of the plants used in the exhibit. It’s a work in progress and she has about 300 plants listed so far. I’ve scanned through the list and yes, there are plants that we use that can last for years in our miniature gardens but majority of the plants aren’t for our type of gardening in miniature.

The exhibit is only supposed to last for about two weeks and sometimes the plants have to be switched out either due to being too stressed out because they are growing in abnormal conditions, or they are growing too fast.

Here are some observations on their techniques and examples of plants that won’t work for a long-lasting miniature garden. I imagine the artists have many more and I look forward to learning more from them.

Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Garden Settings

This is the Mythical Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Pamela Goldman. Young date palms are combined with air plants, Sedums, young begonias and small-leafed perennial starts. The effect is superb but the combination is not expected to last long.

 

Miniature Settings Exhibit Techniques

– Over-planted: Almost all the displays are deliberately over-planted to look lush and full.

– Temporary: It is not planted as a garden that is meant to stay together for years like we do. It’s only meant to last the for the show.

– Mixing Plants: The artists plant indoor with outdoor plants, light loving with shade loving because, again, the display does not have to last long.

– Fast Growing: Ground covers and rockery plants are a favorite because they can be grown quickly and the young plants add color and texture to the miniature setting-scene. Examples: Lamium, Veronica Speedwell, Candy Tuft, Pileas – all plants that I would NOT recommend for the real miniature garden because they are too fast growing.

– Young starts: A number of the plants are really young babies that we’re grown for this purpose only. Plants are swapped out during the show if they get too big. The artists have more plants growing behind that wall for this very reason. Here’s more…

Miniature Garden Center

Miniature Garden Settings Plant List from Dr. K.

This is Dr. K’s long plant list from her Birds display from last year’s show. You can see the wide variety of plants used in just one setting. The task of creating the display and planting the tiny gardens is an art unto itself and I don’t think it could not be done any other way.

Miniature Settings Exhibit Plants Explained

– Seedlings, Starts and Young Plants: The exhibitors cultivate plant starts, or use very young plants that mimic full-sized garden plants. The leaves and stem are usually the perfect size and the variety of textures look fantastic in the wee garden beds – but it’s not going to last. Examples: Polka Dot plant, Kalanchoe, Creeping Jenny, Catnip, Lavender, Rosemary, Sorrel and even culinary Thyme is suggested as a miniature plant. All these plants will grow up within one growing season and will not stay miniature.

– Unusual Plants: Depending upon the topic of the scene, some of the plants listing in the database are plants that have surreal look, instead of being an ideal plant for a miniature garden, regular-sized Aloe and the Living Stones (Lithops) for example. Bog-loving plants, like the Bog Rosemary are listed – I would not grow a miniature garden in a bog. And fragile plants or plants that are fussy to grow are not on my list of favorites either simply because life is too short to fuss, examples are the Maidenhair Fern and the Mimosa.

I hope I have cleared up some misconceptions about the different kinds of miniature garden plants used in this fabulous display at the Philly Show – and I hope the display is still fabulous under this new management. It is much different than real miniature gardening if you take the time to notice, unlike our friend who wrote the nasty email to me.

If you have any further questions or comments, please leave them below. I would be glad to know what I have missed.

Come and see my talk and demo at the show! I’m on at 2pm, Saturday, March 10th, 2018, at the Gardeners Studio Stage. Here’s the PHS website for the show, I’m not sure when they’ll have the event calendar done.

Join us – but only if you want to know more about “real” miniature gardening! Sign up for our Mini Garden Gazette newsletter to get in on the fun here.

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More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

Indoor miniature gardening

An indoor miniature garden with a Monteray cypress and a Sugar Vine.  This pot is about 12″ wide.

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More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

Don’t you just love this hobby? The seasons changing can only mean another miniature garden and now you can make one for the indoors! Do you want a wee beachy-garden scene to get you through the cold months? Or, create a miniature gratitude garden for Thanksgiving? Let’s recap what you need to know, and then follow with a few examples of the different indoor miniature gardens we’ve grown over the years.

Ten Golden Rules are from The Houseplant Expert, Dr. D. G. Hessayon, my favorite go-to book for indoor plants and a great reference for your bookshelf. Here’s a quick summary of his top 10 adapted for miniature gardening.AdS-LrgRec-Dog

1. Don’t drown them. Roots need air as well as water. Let the soil dry out until barely damp. Put your finger down into the soil about 1” deep to test and yes, your finger is still the best way.

2. Give them a rest. Plants need less water and feeding in the winter. Some plants may not look as good, or need cutting back, before the new growth signals their return. Be patient and follow the plant’s signals.

3. Accept the loss of “temporary” plants. Some plants are not meant to live more than a season or two. Some miniature gardeners treat outdoor plants as short-lived houseplants during the winter. The Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Spruce, or the Pixie or Pixie Dust, is often used this way because they are true miniature Christmas trees.

4. Give them extra humidity. The average houseplant needs more humidity in the winter as the forced-air heat dries out the air quite quickly. By misting or grouping your houseplants around your miniature garden, you can maintain a better level of moisture in the air around the plants.

5. Add light. There are all kinds of plant-friendly light bulbs that can fit regular lamps, find them at your local hardware store or online. Instead of trying to position the miniature garden in the window, now you can put it anywhere as long as you have a lamp on it. Use a timer to turn it off and on for at least six hours a day, 8 to 12 is ideal. Shop lights come in a variety of sizes as well and many are available as a plug-in (as opposed to hard-wired.)

5a. Direct Sunlight. Some indoor plants enjoy a dose of direct sun but do so if you know for sure that the plant will enjoy it. Otherwise, use a sheer curtain to diffuse the direct sunlight to make it safe for all your plants. ALSO, watch that sunlight beaming into your windows in the spring and the fall. As the sun moves higher in the sky in springtime, and lower in the sky in the fall, the direction of the sunbeams will change inside your house too. All of a sudden you’ll may a sunbeam beating down on your miniature garden that wasn’t there a couple of weeks ago. This is where that sheer curtain comes in handy again.

6. Treat trouble promptly. With Google at our fingertips, there is really no reason not to be able to identify a plant-problem quickly and easily. State the problem plainly; name the plant and search under Google Images to find it faster. For example, “brown spots on parlor palm leaves.” Search at least two or three sites to get a better perspective of the solution. Not everyone is an expert out on the Internet, most often the most simple and natural solution is best.

7. Know when to re-pot. When the plants start to look sickly after a couple of years, then it may be time to re-pot. Look for the roots growing out of the bottom drainage holes to know when.

8. Choose wisely. Right plant, right place. You can’t grow a sun-loving plant in a dark corner nor can you grow a shade-loving plant in front of a sunny, southern window.

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Recommended Tools:

  • Water can with a long, narrow spout to get the water through to the bottom of the plants. Get used to how it pours before using indoors or you’ll make a big mess the first time.
  • Mister – but know which plants like more, which like less.
  • Saucers AND protective pads with plastic on one side, felt on the other. Don’t trust any pot or saucer on your good wood surfaces. Use an extra moisture-barrier-pad recommended for plants with a plastic backing to avoid wicking. I’ve seen cork mats, but I’m not sure if they wick moisture or not.
  • Organic fertilizer. Avoid chemical fertilizers of any kind, the plants just don’t care for it and it builds up in the soil.
  • Soft sponge for cleanup.
  • Old kitchen spoon for re-potting and fork for raking.
  • Scissors or small garden shears – or both.
  • indoor Potting Soil – Use potting soil without any extra fertilizers or moisture-retaining polymers. Look for an organic, indoor potting mix for a general-purpose soil that will be okay for most of your houseplants. Succulents, cacti and African Violets need more drainage material, like vermiculite or Perlite.

You will notice that there is not a lot of variety yet in the plants that are shown here. That is because I killed the rest of them. Yep. I tend to kill indoor plants a lot better than our outdoor plants. The plants shown here are some of the tougher plants I have found for gardening in miniature. For the most part, I’ve included the plant’s names, and the growing notes under each photo.

Indoor miniature tropical garden

A Parlor Palm and Norfolk Pine anchor the garden, filled in with miniature Aloe and Hawarthias as the understory. The Pine was left in its original poly pot to help keep the roots damper than the other plants. The lagoon-shaped pond adds to the theme. (“Janit Calvo’s Lagoon Pond” is now discontinued.) This pot is about 22″ in diameter.

Indoor miniature gardening

One of our all-time most popular plants, the English Variegated Boxwood stands alone to make a simple gratitude garden for a sunny spot. This pot is about 8″ wide.

More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

A baby Parlor Palm on the left and a Kingsville Dwarf Boxwood on the right. This miniature mediation gardens need regular water and bright light. This pot is about 8″ wide.

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More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

The tree in the back is the Variegated English Boxwood, to the right is Dwarf Mondo Grass, a small-leafed succulent with an elusive name ;o), in the foreground, two Kingsville Boxwood shrubs. Needs regular water with bright light. Sedum cuttings in the urns will last a few months before needing replacing. Large size or one-inch scale accessories. This pot is about 20″ across.

More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

The same garden as above, but with medium size, half-inch scale accessories and gravel mulch in the garden beds. You can see how the smaller accessories are swimming in such a large pot, but also notice how big they make the whole garden appear.

Indoor Miniature Gardening

A custom-made miniature garden planter from England. Elwood Cypresses on the each end, Dwarf Mondo Grass behind the urn, sedum cutting in the urn, a small boxwood shrub to the right of the bench and baby tears as the “ground cover.” (Get in touch with me if you want more info about this handmade planter.) This garden needs bright, indirect light and a very cautious watering schedule as this box has no drainage holes. This container is 21″ wide by 9″ deep.

Indoor Miniature Gardening

A finished project from my book, Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World. Clockwise from the tall Elwood, to the left is a Sugar Vine (Cissus striata,) Baby Tears and a Variegated English Boxwood. Bright light with regular watering, the Sugar Vine will need cutting back every year to slow it down. This pot is about 12″ wide.

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Indoor miniature garden

A simple Fairy Vine and a handmade trellis is the perfect place for an daily empowering message. The “boulder” anchors the garden and makes it look established. This pot is about 7″ across.

Indoor miniature mediation gardening

Our Complete Indoor / Outdoor Miniature Garden Kit has our three most-durable indoor plants, from left to right: the Dwarf Mondo Grass, Variegated English Boxwood and Baby Tears. The Kit includes the stone, Mini Patio Mix and different accessories. This pot is about 10″ across.

Indoor miniature gardening

An impromptu miniature garden centerpiece for Halloween that I made a few years ago. It lasted about three weeks before it turned to mush. I would try this again with a taller pumpkin – the candle burnt the top of the “greenhouse.” The pumpkin was about 10″ in diameter.

SEE more of our plants that we recommend for indoor miniature gardening here.

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Gardening in Miniature book

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