Posts Tagged miniature garden

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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12 Watering Tips to Help ANY Garden Beat the Heat

July 4th in the Miniature Garden

From the Archives: July 4th in the Miniature Garden

12 Watering Tips to Help ANY Garden Beat the Heat

Whoa Nelly! Heatwaves in June? I normally don’t talk about these dry topics until mid summer but here are some tips for keeping your miniature garden, and your full-sized garden, healthy during heat waves. You may be in an area with a water ban as well so it is even more critical to conserve whatever water you can. With proper techniques and knowing what to look for, you can get the most out of your watering even in extreme temperatures.

The following tips can work for containers or for the garden bed.

Watering Tips Help Your Garden Beat the Heat

Tiny firework packs are made of paper. We only put them out during parties and we take them in if it rains.

1. Test: Only water if needed. Stick your finger down into the soil at least one-full-inch deep. If it is still moist or damp, you can put off the watering for a day or so. If it’s dry, then water. For smaller pots, lift them up to feel how heavy, or light, they are. Dry soil will be much lighter than moist soil.

2. Frequency: Water your in-ground gardens deeply and infrequently. This will teach the roots of the plants to look for water on their own, and grow deeper into the soil. Watch your watering for your containers and water accordingly for the plants’ needs, not just because it is a new day.

3. Timing: Water in the early morning or at night after the sun has gone off your garden. I like watering in the evening because it cools down the garden and we can sit and enjoy the dampness – until the mosquitoes come out. The plants can recover during the cooler nighttime temperatures. “Spot-water,” meaning random acts of watering whenever it’s needed – but only if it’s an emergency and you see a plant crashing, or notice the soil it getting too dry. Otherwise, group your watering into one or two sessions a day to make it easy on yourself AND to make sure everything is getting a good drenching.

4. What to water: Water the soil, not the plant, and make sure the water gets down to the roots by waiting to see the water drain out the bottom of the pot. For in-ground gardens, get a trowel to check how-far-down your watering has penetrated for the best results.

Fairy Gardening with Two Green Thumbs.com5. What to use: Conserve water by hand watering. Sprinklers and sprays of water don’t direct the water straight to the plant’s roots where it is needed. Use a watering wand on the shower setting, and turn the tap on half-way to avoid strong, misdirected sprays of water that is just going to evaporate in the heat.

6. Corral the water: This might only work in your full-size garden: build a trough around the base of each plant to direct the water straight down to the roots. Fill up the trough with water and let it drain down a couple of times for some deep watering. This is a critical technique if your garden is planted on a hill, adjust the trough so it catches the water flowing down the hill.

7. Mulch: Mulching means to put a 2″ to 5″ layer of (usually) organic matter on top of the soil to help keep the moisture from evaporating. Organic mulch can be bark, wood chips, straw, cocoa beans, pine needles, shredded leaves, compost or cut grass. Inorganic mulch can be a variety of things like rubber chips, newspaper, or plastic. For your miniature garden, use a fine compost and keep the layer even throughout the garden bed. For pots, the fine compost works well too, but normally you wouldn’t have much bare soil in a container.

8. Cover the ground: Some of our most favorite miniature garden plants are ground covers fortunately. By covering the bare ground with plants and foliage, it will slow down the soil drying out.

9. Shade: Is your miniature garden in a container? Move it out of the full-sun into a bright shade spot, like the north or east side of the house. If the plants belong in full sun, they will be okay for a few days on the porch or under an awning until the heatwave passes. If you have new plantings in ground, use a big golf umbrella to shade them during the hottest hours. Weigh-down the handle of the umbrella so it won’t blow away!Your Miniature Garden Center

10. Plant more: It is possible to plant during a heat wave – but only the small plants that you can temporarily shelter from the sun with an umbrella until the heat wave ends. This fall, consider planting more of your full-size garden. Big trees bring shade and cooler air, and combined with big shrubs can create an naturally cool place in your garden. Planting in fall is one of the best times to get a garden established before the heat of next summer, and you’ll use less water next year, because the fall and winter rains will help them get established in their new home.

11. Give them air: Make sure you have air circulation all around each plant and/or each pot. If the plants are planted up-against each other, those spots that are touching will die-out and you’ll have a bare spot on your tree. It’s like having a band-aid on your finger for an extended period of time; the skin (the plant’s foliage,) that doesn’t get the light and air will start to suffer.

12: Signs of over-watering: If you see the top of the soil start to get slimy and a bit green, or if you are getting those tiny little bugs flying up every time you move the foliage or water, it a sign of over-watering. It’s often said that over-watering is worst than under-watering.

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12b: What is happening is the plant’s roots are not able to breathe and your creating a different environment – one almost terrarium-like – for your plants and they can’t handle that. If this is the case, stop watering. Wait for the top of the soil to dry out to damp, then get a fork to churn up the top of the soil. Poke a longer rod, at least 1/8″ in diameter, right down into the soil around each plant to help get air down into the soil. Make sure the drainage holes are allowed to drain. Check them to see if they are blocked and look into getting the pot up on pot-feet so it can drain better. If it’s sitting in a saucer, get rid of the saucer. Let the entire pot dry out to barely damp before you water again – go back to #1 and do that test before each and every watering until you and the miniature garden, are on the same page.

Water ban? When you turn on your shower, or your tap, and wait for the water to get hot, collect the water (called grey water) in a bucket to bring out and water the garden. Better yet, plug the drain and collect your all shower water – if you take baths, use the bath water. Make a scoop by cutting out the bottom of a square milk jug or detergent container. You can also put a bucket in every sink to collect the run off every time you turn on any tap. Consider using organic soaps although I’m not sure if it does matter because this is not recommended for edible crops. You can also use the water that you boil any vegetables in too. Note that some areas have certain regulations for grey water usage.

I hope this helps you get through this extreme weather. I know that there are a lot of variable that I may have not considered because most of my experience is based on gardening in the PNW. If you have a tip for watering your garden, full-size or in miniature and live in the southern states, please help us help others by sharing it below!

New to Miniature Gardening? Visit our main website here.

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Happy Father’s Day from Your Miniature Garden Center

Miniature Gardening with Two Green Thumbs & Janit Calvo

From the archives: A miniature father and baby sculpture. Tots adorbs!

 

 

Happy Father’s Day from Your Miniature Garden Center

See more Father’s Day Miniature Gardens here & here.

And remember that Fathers love miniature gardens too!

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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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Waiting for Spring in the Miniature Garden

Bursting buds on a wee Canada Hemlock. Tsuga canadensis 'Loowit'

From the Archives, April, 2009: Bursting buds on a wee Canada Hemlock. Look to your miniature and dwarf conifers for proof that spring is finally here!

Waiting for Spring in the Miniature Garden.

I’ve got my fleece hoodie on, my wool socks and a hat – and I’m inside in my office. Did someone forget to order spring? I’m itching to get out in my garden and get growing! The only upside is that the plants don’t care and our spring flowers are pushing through the cold spring temperatures.

So, what to do? We need to appease our inner gardener. It’s spring. Here are some ideas to get you gardening.

 

The Miniature Garden Society - it's where craft and garden meet!

Rain is Good

It’s really not so bad. Don your rain gear and get out in it. With your “space-suit” on and an iPhone playing your favorite music or podcast, you instantly create your very own bubble and can have a lovely time getting some much-needed chores done. Want to make the world go away? This is how you do it. Lol!

TIPS:

  • Have a couple pairs of garden gloves handy so when one pair gets wet, you can change into dry ones, and keep going.
  • Don’t work the soil when it’s completely wet, you’ll damage all the microcosms and air-pockets in the soil and make mud.
  • You can always pull weeds and clean-up your walkways and driveway.
  • Prune your shrubby perennials. If your trees are still dormant and not showing any new buds at all, you can still prune. If you have any questions regarding any plants from our Miniature Garden Center store, email us.
  • You can clean out and organize the garden shed. There’s nothing like puttering in the garden shed or on your porch with the rain pattering on the roof.
  • Clean-up your containers – or let the rain do it. Put your empty pots out in the rain to get washed, and take a scrub brush to them if needed.

 

 

Divide and Share

This cold spring has given us a little more time to dig up and divide some of our perennials, if you haven’t already done so. Ground covers follow this general rule: the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap. By dividing your ground covers in your miniature garden every three years, they’ll stay in check.

TIPS:

  • Plant any extra divisions in different parts of the garden to create a more cohesive, overall design.
  • Watch out for the dormant plants that you can’t see yet! Refer to your photos from last summer so you don’t accidentally dig it up or bury it.
  • When you do replant, take care to mix up the foliage textures a bit. Contrast leaf textures and match or compliment the leaf-color. If all the foliage is the same size the garden bed, full-size and in miniature, will look too sketchy. By mixing-up small leaves with big leaves, and the conifer’s needles with the unusual foliage of a Hinoki cypress, for example, you’ll have professional looking garden design.
  • Share extra plants with your neighbors, make another miniature garden, or plant them up in pots to donate to a charity plant sale later in the season.
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More from the archives, April, 2009. I can lead a snail to water, but I’ve never seen him drink…!

Armchair Miniature Gardening

There is always virtual miniature gardening too! Here is a bunch of inspiration at your fingertips:

Like this? Join us and thousands of other like-minded miniature gardeners for your weekly Mini Garden Gazette. It’s free! Sign up here: TwoGreenThumbs.com

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Miniature Settings from the Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

Nancy Grube’s garden was my Best of Show. I guess I’m just not understanding the criteria because this was, by far, the best Miniature Settings entry in this exhibit in my opinion. Nancy’s focus was on the plants, here stellar-eye for scale and details were just as focused.

Miniature Settings from the Philadelphia Flower Show, 2018

Here are the Miniature Settings from this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show in case you missed it. You can probably tell my ‘Best of Show’ by the number of photos below – it was Nancy Grube’s ‘The Old Mill Stream,’ which certainly checked all my boxes. Deb and Jim Mackie’s display, ‘The Call of the Siren,’ was stunning as usual. I imagine she made the mermaid and the horse, and her seascape was delightfully awesome. Midge Ingersoll’s ‘Dock of the Bay’ is up there in my books as well. She did a fantastic job including a boat, dock, shed and garden all in one tiny scene. But, all-in-all, it was Nancy’s trees and garden that did it for me in ‘The Old Mill Stream.’

See all the exhibits below. I won’t do any individual comments as the bulk of this exhibit wasn’t very impressive compared to previous years. You can compare them too, here are the exhibits from 2014 here, and here – and 2015 is here.

What Does the Best of the Best Mean?

My question remains how the other types of exhibits within the huge Philadelphia Flower Show seem to attract high-quality work, but this Miniature Settings exhibit does not. It’s first-come-first-serve to participate, which is apparently how the rest of the show’s exhibits operate, but where is the quality and the expertise? See the comparison from 2014 here, and here – and 2015 is here.

I also realize that it may not easy as it may seem. There was at least one other IGMA-level miniaturist in this group besides Deb Mackie – or at least I thought so – but it doesn’t show and leaves us wanting for more. (IGMA.org)

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They built new cases for this year’s show that were lighter in color – apparently the miniature details show better when the frames are darker, so I’m not sure how that detail was missed. They were hard to view with the glare on the windows too. And forget about trying to get a good photo without the glare – it was impossible to figure out with a long line-up of people behind you waiting for you to move along…

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Dig Deeper with our New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book!

I think I’ve posted all the entries in the order these exhibits were presented at the show. You can see the name of the exhibitor, the judge’s comments, the ribbons that were handed out to every exhibit as well as the plant lists. Everyone who didn’t win, got an Honorable Mention ribbon! Lol!

I was initially under the impression that the chosen award for best of show this year was because it was made by a middle school garden club – but the judging is supposedly done blind. (Judging blind means they don’t see the name of the artist when they judge it.) So, that blew that theory… You can see the big purple ribbon on it in the photos below.

Note that this is very different from our miniature gardening and should not be confused with one another. Here’s more on the difference. Most of the plants they use in their displays are tender tropicals, very young perennials or both – with some conifers included for structure.

Let me know what YOU think in the comments below. What’s your best of show? What do you think compared to the previous year’s that I linked above? (Any name-calling or overly negative comments will be edited or deleted altogether – this Mini Garden Guru blog is beholden to no sponsor, no club nor any other company but my own.)

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Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.com

 

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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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