Posts Tagged miniature

Miniature Garden Therapy Mission: Spark Joy

Miniature Garden Therapy at the Old Soldier's Home

Operation Spark Joy has begun! Our first installation as The Miniature Garden Society at the Washington Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Washington, south of Seattle.

Miniature Garden Therapy Mission: Spark Joy

I love it when a plan comes together. Now, to see if it works!

After talking to Linda for a minute on that cold, gray day in the middle of the winter, it felt like I was talking to an old friend. She was asking if I knew of a speaker that could come and talk at their big workshop day that is held every spring for the the Hill and Dale Garden Club. Who knew that that would turn into a project that, quite possibly, can “spark joy?”

I’ve always wanted to find out if a miniature garden can really deliver some garden therapy to non-miniature-gardeners if it was put in the right spot. If a full-size garden can be therapeutic for everyone, why not a tiny one too? And now that the Miniature Garden Society is established, we can make time to reach out into the community, to see what we can do with our hobby to share the joy of gardening in miniature.

So, with the help of Linda and the ladies at the Hill and Dale Garden Club, we installed a larger miniature garden in the courtyard at the Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Washington. Here’s what happened:

(Click the photos to enlarge.)

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The Hill and Dale Garden Club did the hard part: the lugging in of the trough and the potting soil. The tub is 6′ x 2′ x 2′ and it’s filled more than half-way up with chunks of styrofoam. The styrofoam won’t make it easy to move but it saves a boatload of time, money and energy not having to fill it all up with soil.

Find out more about the right potting soil to use for your miniature garden here.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

After the mountain was in place, we dug in. I’ll be putting the instructions on this easy-mountain-install in the Miniature Garden Society!

See the MiniatureGardenSociety.org website here.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Steve made the silo from a beer can and straws! This side will begin to look more like farmers fields when the different thymes start to grow in.

See our different Thymes here. 

 

I made the little cinderblock fence from our tiny cinderblocks and a couple of skewers. The silo and the fence were glued on to a board which was hidden with micro gravel.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

When Linda and the ladies installed it, they made sure it was a good height for most wheelchair-users. That need triggered the idea for some sort of backdrop for their point of view, so we built up a hill with a solid chunk of Irish Moss from my full-sized garden that needed a good home. It’ll be a great place for a picnic!

See the gray flagstone sheet here.

See the Mini Patio Mix Kit here. 

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Linda brought some full-sized Hen and Chicks so we used them as Agave-type plants to add some great texture to the miniature garden bed.

See our full-sun plants here.

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Layers and textures, oh my! Here’s what we planted in the trough. It’s going to get full-sun all summer, and it’s protected in a courtyard to it should be a great growing environment for the plants.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The patio was a bit rushed at the very end, but I don’t think anyone else noticed. The bright green chair matched the Golden Torch Barberry in the upper-left corner.

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

The Mercedes Dwarf Birch, the Goldfinch Fir and a few of the succulents were donated by Bob Fincham and Linda Maida.

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Dueling Photographers. That’s Linda taking a photo of the finished garden. Steve said everyone was just beaming with smiles as they slowly realized what was happening. For someone who didn’t know what was going on, it must have looked strange. Lol!

 

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

That’s Thomas, he’s a master gardener so we left it in his good hands.

 

A few of the residents gathered to watch the garden go together and some of the staff watched too. It was fun to see them respond as the garden came together. Between us, the garden club, the residents and the staff, it sounded like everyone wanted to “look after the garden” so I imagine it will be well-taken care of! We’re looking forward to going back in a couple/few weeks to see how it’s growing – and to see if it sparked joy.

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

 

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

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Spotlight on Dori’s Miniature Garden Bungalow, from American Miniaturist Magazine

Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

Fellow Miniature Gardener, Dori Allard, made it on to the cover of April’s American Miniaturist magazine!

Spotlight on Dori Allard’s Miniature Garden Bungalow, from American Miniaturist Magazine!

What a treat! I’m not sure how long I have known customer and fellow miniature gardener, Dori Allard but, I’ve known her definitely long enough to call her a friend. So, when she posted this cover of April’s American Miniaturist Magazine on the Miniature Garden Society Facebook page, I didn’t immediately see her name on the bottom, right corner. I knew Dori was an avid miniature gardener but I was slow to realize that she was a miniaturist as well, until I studied the photo and I saw “Scene by Dori Allard” at the bottom. It was my turn to squeal with excitement. How awesome is that!?!

You may not believe me when I tell you that a couple of her photos that were inside the magazine looked full-size. I said to myself, “Wow, is that her studio?” and “Oh, look, she’s making another house!” Lol! You KNOW it’s excellent miniature work when you have to do a double-take to figure out if the scene is really a miniature one! Congratulations, Dori! ❤

So, in case you missed it, Dori sent me a copy of her magazine and I wanted to share. She scored 5 full pages as well as the cover! Here is a visual recap of the “She-Shed” article from American Miniaturist Magazine.

Click to enlarge the photos so you can see more of details.

Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

The front porch. I love how Dori caught the light on the two women visiting, it really looks like the morning or evening sunshine. If you look closely, Dori has a miniature version of my Gardening in Miniature book on the coffee table that she miniaturized herself. She knows how to get straight to my heart, eh? Lol!

 

 

Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

Look at that color! Miniatures and miniature gardening is one way to get exactly what you want: a purple house with turquoise shutters! How fun! My husband would move out if I painted our full-size house like this but, you can have it all in small and do just about anything in miniature!

 

Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

Details upon details is what makes this project so much fun to look at. The path was made from egg cartons.

 

Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

Dori did the mosaic on the pot and then proceeded to make the geranium flowers to go in it!

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Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

This scene is the one that I thought was Dori’s full-size work space. Not. Lol!

 

Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

And this is another photo that I thought was full-size because of the tiny house with the front porch that looks like this project. Awesome! I love the dollhouse buildings for dollhouses, they are worlds within worlds. 

 

Your Miniature Garden Center

 

Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

As you get into the details, you can start to see just how much fun dollhouse miniatures can be. You can really make anything your heart desires and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of room.

 

Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

I love all the clutter in and around the bench. 

 

Miniature Garden Plants is Our Specialty!

 

Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

A miniature garden in a miniature wagon with a miniature house it in. There are worlds-within-worlds in Dori’s scene!

 

Dori Allard Miniature Garden Bungalow

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Like this? Then you’ll love the American Miniaturist Magazine! It’s one of two main miniature magazines that is issued monthly, specifically for the dollhouse miniature world. The other magazine is called Dollhouse Miniatures. They are both filled cover to cover with miniature inspiration, projects, advice, inspiration and a whole lot more. I really had a hard time choosing between the two, so I might just have to get both! You can also find them at your local dollhouse miniature store, look for back issues as well as current issues for both magazines.

(I receive no kickbacks nor am I an affiliate, I just love them and know you will too! :o)

Find our more about us at MiniatureGarden.com where we spread and share the joy of gardening in miniature, since 2001. Our main store is Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center where you will find all the plants, parts, patios and pieces for your miniature gardening. Join us and thousands of other like-minded miniature gardeners for your FREE weekly newsletter, The Mini Garden Gazette here.

Miniature Gardening: Go Ahead, Act Your Shoesize

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

Miniature Gardening in Large Containers

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

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

Miniature Gardening in Large Pots

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

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

What’s Deep? What’s the Minimum?

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

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How to Keep Your Big Pot and Plant It Too

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

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

Miniature Gardening in Large Containers

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

Fill ‘Er Up

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

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

Miniature Gardening in Large Pots

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

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

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

Join us! We’re digging deeper! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter published almost every Friday. Join us, and thousands of other miniature gardeners, here.

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EXTREME CUTE ALERT: 185 Reasons To Go To ‘The Miniature Show’

Dollhouse miniature garden accessories

Getting ready for The Miniature Show next week. Creating tiny accessories for the dollhouse miniature garden is one of my favorite things to do. 

EXTREME CUTE ALERT: 185 Reasons To Go To ‘The Miniature Show’

If you are a lover of anything miniature, you should be in Chicago next week.

If you’ve never been to a miniature show, this will totally blow your mind.

If you’ve never been to this kind of high-caliber miniature show, this will totally open your mind.

I am thrilled to have been invited to The Miniature Show at the Hyatt Regency in Schaumburg just outside of Chicago from April 20 to the 22nd. I’m one reason – the other 184 reasons are the miniaturists from all over the world (!) that will be vending along with me, or represented in the show through Swan House Miniatures

Here are some of my top reasons why you should come and enjoy The Miniature Show along with me:

  • Perfection in miniature. Do you love to get new things? Brand new, never “used?” Like that new car,
    Dollhouse miniature garden accessories

    What would it look like if it was left out in the garden for way too long?

    but after a about a year it doesn’t look so new anymore? How about your house? Same thing right? Well, with miniatures, you can have that level of perfection ALL THE TIME. Anything you want too. Anything. It’s out there in miniature. See the perfect miniature work of Jim Pounder here, he’ll be at next week’s The Miniature Show too.

  • Fantastic fantasy. You can have it all in small. If it’s really well-done, precise and clever, all fantasy in miniature can enchant because it looks so realistic. Believability can be sustained, if only for a moment. It’s awesome. How about a miniature table with chicken legs from Jason Getzan, see them here. One inch tall fairies by Penny Thomson here. Both Jason and Penny will be at The Miniature Show too.
  • Dollhouse miniature garden accessories

    You will find aging and customizing techniques all throughout my new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book coming out this June! 

    Miniature food that looks SO perfect, you can smell it. No joke. The realism is so awesome, it tricked my mind into thinking that I could smell whatever miniature food I was looking at. Carl Brondson is one of “those” miniaturists here.

  • New ideas, techniques and insight. Saved the best for last! By looking at other people’s miniature work, you can’t help but get different insights, new ideas and learn different techniques that will help you in your own work. You will be inspired to raise your own bar and try new things just by being around the experts. Here are all of the top miniaturists that you’ll be witnessing: see the complete list here.
miniature fairy house

A miniature fairy house for the miniature dollhouse garden. Getting back into the miniatures has been a blast – I’m SO glad I was invited to do this show!

Not Convinced Yet?

How about TWO MORE miniature shows happening at the same time with FREE shuttles going to back and forth every day to all three shows? Here’s the Chicago International Show website and the 3 Blind Mice Show’s website. See you there!

Like this? Join us and thousands of other miniature gardeners for your weekly does of all things miniature garden, The Mini Garden Gazette. Sign up through our new website, MiniatureGarden.com or visit America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center’s website, TwoGreenThumbs.com to join.

miniature garden accessories

Having fun using real materials to create my miniatures. This snail-shell planter is from a project in my new Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book coming out this June. (2107)

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More Miniature Gardening at the HUGE Epcot Flower and Garden Festival!

Miniature Gardening at Disney World

More Miniature Gardening at the HUGE Epcot Flower and Garden Festival!

Whew! I’ve been catching up on everything since our whirlwind tour to Florida earlier this month. I came back exhausted and hit a bottleneck of work so it took a couple of weeks for me to recover, decompress and collect my thoughts. So, not only did I miss blogging for a couple of weeks, I actually missed three whole weeks without publishing a Mini Garden Gazette! I remain grateful that the global economy doesn’t rest on miniature gardening. At least not yet. Lol! :o)

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop

Now available for PRE-ORDER! The first edition of Gardening in Miniature sold out before the book was even launched! Get your copy reserved TODAY!

We had a fabulous time at Disney World demonstrating three different garden designs and three different projects from my new book from Timber Press, Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World (now available for pre-order!). This time around, we had the chance to meet all the Epcot “regulars” who didn’t get a chance to see us three years ago because we were there during Holy Week, one of the busiest weeks of the festival and the response was – AGAIN – awesome!

Shown here are the gardens that we made for Disney. I’m recreating the talks I gave in video format for our Miniature Garden Society so you can enjoy them too!

Miniature Gardening at Disney World

The “Underwater Sea Garden” turned out so well, I had to laugh at myself at the end of the demo! Debbie, the coordinator of this grand show, chose that pot for it – it was PERFECT! 

 

“You can take it with you!” I had fun modeling with this miniature garden in a trug – it’s the new handbag for Spring! Perhaps it’s time to give Ralph Lauren a call about a handbag design idea? 

 

 

And this last miniature garden demo was about entertaining in the miniature garden. We showed how to use our exclusive Mini Patio Mix Kit to create a patio that won’t wash away when you water it.

 

 

Yours Truly presenting at Epcot. Thankfully, they had an overhead camera so Phil, the camera and sound guy, was able to zoom in on my tiny projects.

Find all your plants, parts and pieces for the wonderful hobby of Gardening in Miniature at America’s First and Favorite Miniature Garden Center here.

Like this? Want to dig deeper? Join us and thousands of other miniature gardeners for your weekly Mini Garden Gazette. Sign up here.

 

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

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

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

Because I’m taking you with me! Yay!

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

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

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

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

Here’s the script to the video:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year from the Miniature Garden!

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Happy New Year from the Miniature Garden!

Happy New Year from the Miniature Garden!

Join me on a photo journey for this year’s New Year’s in the Miniature Garden!

We had a busy week making plans for the new year – and a new video for our Miniature Garden Society. See it here or keep scrolling!

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Added “a little” twinkle and sparkle with some tiny mirrors. Another resource and idea to add to the Miniature Garden Society!

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Used a Christmas wreath around the NYE sculpture to add color and bling.

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Found this guy in an antique mall here in Seattle. He’s custom painted for the miniature garden to look old and ancient. 

cmas2016ad-loganimal

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Making sure this coming year is packed FULL of love! 

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

I found the hat and noise maker at my local dollhouse miniature store.

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

This garden is about 6 or 7 years old and went through one major renovation. We go over the details in the Miniature Garden Society! 

mgs-ad-fbbanner

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

I left the lights on from Christmas – those are always the hardest to take down because I love them so. But the way I wound this strand so tightly on the branches, it will have to come off before springtime. 

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Now you can tell I shot the photos in my studio? Yeah, it was cold out. Lol! 

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

A retro dollhouse miniature bench painted silver fits into the scene nicely. It’s here up in our Etsy store.

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New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Another full shot of the custom miniature New Year’s Eve sculpture. We’ll be diving into custom painting techniques in the Miniature Garden Society.

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

Cutting from full-sized plants did the trick to make this quick seasonal bouquet!

AdS-leaderboard-Plants

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

The Stone side table is from our studios and is up in our Etsy store here.

 

New Year's Eve in the Miniature Garden

I just love the miniature log animals! They won’t be packed up too quickly…

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