Posts Tagged miniature garden

Fake News is Infesting our Christmas Tree Traditions

A Miniature Christmas Garden from the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book. Click the picture to see our new Christmas Tree Dress Kit, our first Prop Shop Kit. The kit is the supplies needed, the instructions are in the Prop Shop book so you can make easily at home! Photo is by Kate Baldwin.

Fake News is Infesting our Christmas Tree Traditions

Your amateur consumer advocate is baaaack…

You’ve heard me go on before about certain things that just tighten my jaw, like Fairy Garden Moss, What They Won’t Tell You But I Will and How to Identify an Expert on the Internet, but this one is particularly ludicrous.

You can bring your miniature Christmas garden inside over the holidays, just follow the same rules as a living Christmas tree: Stage it beforehand, keep the soil at least damp, keep it away from any heat source, stage it to go back outside after 3 or 4 days.

I’m not sure where this vicious rumor started but no, the chance of your Christmas tree being “infested” with bugs is so wrong – so “fake news” – it’s incredibly frustrating to see these articles circulating around Facebook and other social media streams.

We’ve been bringing trees inside our home for the holidays for centuries. Now do ya think if there was any real problem we would have heard about it by now? Here are a couple of other points, if I may:

Did you know that bugs don’t like to be bugged? Funnily enough, they are like us and prefer to be comfortable.

One of my favorite organic gardening techniques is to bug the bugs so they can’t set up their nest and lay their eggs. The idea is to keep upsetting the soil where they want to set up house, or slough them off the foliage whenever we see them to force the insects to move-on-down-the-road where the living is easier. You would think if any bug that has set up inside a Christmas tree would surely jump out as soon as the chainsaw hits the trunk, or at least seek safety when the tree hits the ground, gets rolled up in twine, thrown on to a wagon, then onto a truck… shall I go on? I think you get the gist.

Fancy pots! Our favorite miniature garden Christmas tree come in bright red pots this year. Add a bow, and you’ve got a fun little gift for any gardener! See the Jean’s Dilly Dwarf Spruce up in the store, here.

The mini spruce tree is an excellent anchor tree for any miniature garden.

But, don’t take it from me. Here’s what some of the folks in my Independent Garden Center group are saying about it today:

– “Ridiculous.” (VA)

– “Get real. The percentage of people who have this problem is so low that it’s not worth changing habits for.”(GA)

– “Shows how far we have come in our travels away from common sense.” (MA)

– “Every so often we find a stink bug. That’s the extent of our bugs in tree issue.” (TX)

To exacerbate the issue, we now have professional entomologists claiming that black widow spiders can live in Christmas trees too. Um. Waitaminute. Now I’m not even close to being an amateur entomologist but I do know spiders prefer dark and dry places – not in airy spruce branches that need the rain and the sun to grow. Duh. Oh my poor head!!!

SO, there may be a harmless bug or two on your tree – but the chances of it being “infested” are next to none.

Please don’t let fake news wreck your holiday traditions.

And, oh ya, and always question the absurd when you see it, so others who live in different circles can be warned of fake or ridiculous news too!

See America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center store for fun and unusual gifts for ANY gardener at TwoGreenThumbs.com

Miniature Garden Gift Ideas

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Decorating Your Fairy Houses for the Holidays

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Project Extension

Decorate more than just your full-sized house for the holiday! A project adapted from the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book for a demonstration at the Plow and Hearth store in Marlon, NJ.

Decorating Your Fairy Houses for the Holidays

I took a couple of pages out of my Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book for a recent Plow and Hearth demonstration earlier this month at their Marlon, NJ store. It was fun getting messy while meeting several fairy gardeners that came to see what I was up to!

For this demo, I turned one of their fairy garden houses into A Very Fairy Christmas House with a little paint, glue and detailing that took about 2 1/2 hours to do. Needless to say, I could have crafted for another 2 1/2 hours!

This Fairy Christmas House project was adapted from the Fairy Haven project in the Prop Shop book. Check out the photos below for more ideas:

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Project Extension

This is the fairy house that is in the Prop Shop book. What you can use is just about anything within a fairy’s reach. The Prop Shop book goes over multiple ways of attaching different items to the resin house. 

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Project Extension

The same fairy house used in the Prop Shop book before the renovation. The end result will look nothing like the house you started with! 

 

 

Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Project Extension

This was one of the first fairy houses that I customized. I always wanted a pink house and this is currently the only way I can have one. Lol!

 

ANNIVERSARY SALE! Get both books for $35 PLUS FREE SHIPPING! (Until 11/30/17)

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Project Extension

The second fairy house I customized was for a Seaside Fairy Garden for client north of Seattle. This one was a fun one – I loved playing with one theme and pushing the boundaries of what I could do with it.

 

The Miniature Garden Society

A Private Community of Like-Minded Miniature Gardeners! Click the logo to learn more about this wonderful new adventure! 

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Project Extension

If you use your customized house outside in your fairy garden where it can get weathered and aged, just plan on giving it an update every year or so. Everything weathers in the garden!

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Project Extension

The Seaside Fairy House before the renovation photographed in our front miniature garden.

 

Find your Plow & Hearth Fairy Houses here.

Love miniature gardening? We do too! Join us and thousands of other miniature gardener for your FREE Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter delivered straight to your inbox each Friday! Sign up here.

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Find the Fairy Haven renovation instructions inside the new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book along with 36 more projects designed specifically for the miniature garden – written by a miniature gardener! 

 

 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Project Extension

A Very Fairy Christmas House! We are ready for the holidays! 

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Miniature Gardening on the East Coast!

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book tour is on its way to the East Coast! 

Miniature Gardening on the East Coast!

Come one, come all! Come and play and laugh and get inspired! This is serious! Lol!

Hey, I’ll be at two different venues THIS weekend. Come and see my Plow & Hearth Very Fairy Christmas House Renovation to see what YOU can do with your fairy houses! I’ll be decorating the house for the holidays throughout Thursday evening, November 2nd, from 4pm to 7pm at the Plow & Hearth, Marlton, NJ, store. Be sure to print out the coupon below just in case you find something you like – they have a bunch of new miniatures this season. (Or keep it on your phone, I’m sure that works as well.)

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AND I’m at the largest miniature show on the east coast, the Philadelphia Miniaturia show, note that Friday night is the preview night that requires a special ticket – here’s the details:

Philadelphia Miniaturia Show
Friday November 3rd through Sunday November 5th 2017

To be admitted on the 3rd, you must purchase a preview ticket for $25 (covers full weekend admission)
Preview hours are 6pm – 9pm Friday and 9am – 10am Saturday

General Admission – Show hours Saturday 10 – 5, Sunday 11 – 4. Daily admission $10 Adults, $4 Children under ten

Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cherry Hill, NJ.

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Can’t make either? Join us for your FREE Mini Garden Gazette each Friday (this Friday is an exception.) Sign up here.

Want to jump in and dig deeper? Check out our Miniature Garden Society Community Website here.

And for everything miniature garden and then some, check out our new website at MiniatureGarden.com

 

The Miniature Garden Society

 

Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

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New Format for Your Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter & Video Letter About Miniature Topiary!

New Format for Your Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter: Video Letters!

They say a picture says a thousand words. I wonder how many words a video says? Lol! Join me and thousands of Fellow Miniature Gardeners for you weekly dose of miniature garden goodness via VIDEO! I’m only starting to scratch the surface on what I can show you!

Today’s video is all about creating topiary for the miniature garden. See it here.

These videos will only be through the Mini Garden Gazette newsletter (sign up here) and archived in The Miniature Garden Society where they will be added to and expanded upon as we move forward. This is still a brand new hobby so we are still assembling all the many delicious insights, how-to’s and to-do’s as we go. Join us here, for yourMini Garden Gazette Newsletter. Join us here forThe Miniature Garden Society where we are digging deeper and dreaming bigger!

Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

The Miniature Garden Society

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How to Save Time and Money on Your Miniature Gardening

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

How to Save Time and Money on Your Miniature Gardening

Do you want to save some time and money? 

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

Did you know you can have BOTH?

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

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

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

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

Fall Planting Perks

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

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

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

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

Tips for your fall planting:

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

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

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

 

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

  • How do they grow: what shape they will grow up to be?
  • How much will they grow per year?
  • What do they need to stay happy and healthy in your miniature garden?
  • What are the water needs?
  • Can it even grow in your area?

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

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

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More useful blogs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Adventures in the Miniature Garden

New Adventures in the Miniature Garden

Hey Fellow Miniature Gardeners! There’s something new growing-on here at our Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Studio here in Seattle. I tried a video letter for last week’s Mini Garden Gazette newsletter and, well, the response was terrific! And it was fun. And it was easy. Who doesn’t like that?

So, I’ll be doing a short video letter each week for the Mini Garden Gazette newsletter that will give you a dose of inspiration, a tip to add to your arsenal or a technique that you can apply to your gardening in miniature. Sound fun? Sign up to join us here.

 

Links from the above video:

Mini Garden Gazette newsletter signup – the ONLY miniature garden newsletter for the hobby!

The Gardening in Miniature: How to Create Your Own Tiny Living World – a primer for the hobby!

Miniature Gardening 101 Series – a quick series to get you jump-started.

MiniatureGardenSociety.org – we’re digging deeper and dreaming bigger!

Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center – serving the miniature garden hobby since 2001!

Thank you for watching and thank you for reading!

 

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How to Identify an Expert on the Internet

Miniature Gardening: Go Ahead, Act Your Shoesize

Gardening in Miniature since 2001.

How to Identify an Expert on the Internet

“You can be anybody on the Internet!”

We’ve talked about this before on a previous blog post, about how the Internet is growing all kinds of experts. I’ve worked online since 2004 and have witnessed a number of great people gradually become the true experts in their field. I’ve also watched a few people try to become experts and, if they are good salespeople, they can trick people into thinking that they are indeed an expert.

You see, it is really a lot of hard work to become an expert, as Malcom Gladwell states in his bestselling book, The Outliers. Malcolm has calculated that it takes at least 10,000 hours devoted to one topic to become an expert. To put this in perspective, if you worked 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 50 weeks per year, that’s only 2,000 hours. So, at best, if you really crammed and worked overtime, you might be able to crank-out 3000 hours per year. You still need at least 3 years of overtime, nights and weekends, to achieve the expert level of experience.

 

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

 

But, if you ask the Internet, apparently there are now quicker ways to become the expert, or at least appear to. Anyone can write their own blog and get a book published these days – anyone. (Always wanted to publish a book? Do it. There are publishers for everything and every level if you keep looking. Heck, you don’t even need to know how to write.) But, honestly and realistically, there is no quick way to dive deeply and thoroughly into any topic to become that expert overnight or within a month – experience just can’t be rushed.

There is SO much information out there on the interwebs these days, especially with the “real” fake-news sites, that you need to, you must, take the time to figure out if that blog/website/person that your looking at is authentic and has the right answers to your questions. Especially with gardening, doing the wrong thing in your garden can sometimes do lasting damage and ruin your outlook on gardening forever.

So, here is how you identify an expert, I’ve included some questions that you can ask yourself before you consider if the person is authentic. I don’t imagine this list isn’t complete at all, if you have another way to ID an expert, leave it below.

 

The definition of “authenticity” from Wikipedia:

Authenticity – of undisputed origin; genuine.
Synonyms – genuine, real, bona fide, true, veritable; legitimate, lawful, legal, valid

 

The Miniature Garden Society

Collecting expert advice on the new hobby of gardening in miniature is one of the reasons we set-up this wonderful Miniature Garden Society website for miniature gardeners only. All members get direct access to me, my library, my resources and my experience.

How to Recognize an Expert

You can’t fake passion – If she is coming out of the blue with a completely new topic all the time then she is just jumping on the next trend, and the next, and the next. Look to see if her blog/books/portfolio jump around too much and feel unfocused.

Does she stay within her area of expertise (subject-wise AND geographically?) – Does she have a number of different books published on different topics? Is she writing about gardening in different regions but has lived all her life in one state or area of the country?

Is she collecting credentials? – Look to see if she is a member of every group in the industry. No one can join every organization and still get practical work done – unless you join in name only – but I do believe organizations frown on that.

Does she jump around a lot with her job history while still claiming to be the expert? – Does she stay with one or two roles or are there a list of different jobs from different organizations but she only looks to be 30 years old? Does she specialize in chickens, grafting tomatoes, canning, year-round vegetable gardening and open, own and manage a full garden center and landscape business – and all within a couple of years? There is no time to learn anything thoroughly if you can’t stay put and learn the ropes.

Does she jump around a lot with her offers? – Does she promise to solve all your problems and plan your wedding too? You’re looking for an expert, remember.

Does she have any past work of her own to show? – If she is a gardener, does she have her own garden’s photos up on her website or blog? If she writes about miniature gardening, does she share any of her miniature gardens on her social media?

Listen to her talk. – Does she sound like she knows what she is doing or is she just filling the airwaves with the obvious? Does she sound confident? Can she articulate what you need to know? Does she explain things well? This is especially important if you are paying for services. I hired an editor through email to help me edit my first manuscript for Gardening in Miniature. When I spoke to her on the phone after the contract was signed, I was extremely disappointed in her lack of expertise and confidence. Needless to say she couldn’t complete the job and passed it back to me after sitting on it for 6 months (then she went and published her own book on miniature gardens a couple of years later, believe it or not.)

And the kicker: she could just be a good salesperson and she knows which buttons to push to get you to buy into her game. Marketing and selling is actually a formula that has phycological triggers that can be used to lure you into buying if you aren’t careful.

UPDATE: An insightful example: My cousin has worked for the Yamaha Corporation in their drum department for over 25 years now. He has the constant challenge of getting celebrity drummers to endorse drums for Yamaha and he has noticed that the most talented drummers are not interested in marketing themselves – they just want to play drums. It’s the less-talented drummers that shine at the marketing themselves and thus get all the attention. After hearing this, I’ve noticed it across many industries – the most creative people are busy claiming their gifts and creating – not facebooking and tweeting.

So next time you are in need of some expert information, use your intuition and do some quick Googling around with the above list to see if they have any experience logged anywhere to back up who she claims to be.

Then, if you’ve figured out that they are genuine and you like them – bookmark them in your browser as one to go to for the right answers. Maybe if we keep patronizing the real experts, the fake ones will move along and go after the next “shiny thing.”

End of rant. Stay real.

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

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

 

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