Posts Tagged miniature

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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Who Else Wants to Grow Their Own World?

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

Click the picture to register for the WorkSHOP, from 2 to 4pm. Or come by and check out the Trunk Show anytime between 2 and 6pm. Either way, you WILL leave inspired, I guarantee it. 

Who Else Wants to Grow Their Own World?

You’ll go home happy and truly inspired. I know that for a fact because everyone that has taken a workshop with me has not only gone home pleased-as-punch, but a bit giddy too. Lol!

So come and get your own miniature garden together with us! We’ve chosen our favorite miniature garden kit because it’s good for indoors, or outdoors in the greater Seattle region. Indoors, it will need bright indirect light – if you don’t have it, I have a very easy solution for that too – AND it’ll match your decor!

It’s also a book signing! Come and pick up your copy of the NEW Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World – hot off the press! You can finally find out what the fuss is all about!

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

This is the miniature garden that you will make at the WorkSHOP on July 15th! A calm, serene little scene that you can call your own. You don’t have to design it like it did, either – you can do you own thing because, after all, it is your own world. :o)

 

 

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

The WorkSHOP is only $75 and it includes learning all about what plants, parts and pieces to use so you can build your own miniature gardens at home, anytime you want to – or anytime you need a great gift to give!! The class supplies, if bought separately, will cost you almost $100 + shipping! (Yes plus shipping, because you simply can’t get some of this stuff at any brick & mortar store!)

 

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

I’ll be bringing more miniature gardens, garden accessories, fairy garden ideas and dollhouse garden miniatures too! The Trunk Show is on during and after the WorkSHOP and goes to 6pm! 

 

 

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

Dig Deeper with our New Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book! Come and get your autographed copy at the Trunk Show and WorkSHOP too. Copies will be available at The Handmade Showroom even after this event. 

See The Handmade Showroom’s website here.

See the Pacific Place’s website here – there is parking!

See Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center here.

See MiniatureGarden.com for everything you need for this wonderfully creative hobby here. 

Like this? Want a FREE dose of miniature gardening almost every Friday? Join us for the world’s only newsletter on the hobby, The Mini Garden Gazette! (scroll down a bit. :o)

Gardening in Miniature with Janit Calvo

Click the picture to register for the WorkSHOP! The Trunk Show is on until 6pm the same day! 

 

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How to Insert Charm into Your Miniature Garden with Authentic Patios and Pathways

Miniature Garden Study, Patios and Pathway Materials

Stone sheets make for a no-brainer solution for the miniature garden patio. Lock them in permanently with the Mini Patio Mix.

How to Insert Charm into Your Miniature Garden with Authentic Patios and Pathways

We’re bringing charming back to the miniature garden. For us here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center, it never really left. Why? Authenticity.

Charm, noun
1. the power to delight or attract people
2. a feature or quality that delights or attracts (often used in the plural)

Charm, verb
1. to delight or attract people
2. To influence somebody by using powers of attraction
3. to affect somebody or something by, or as if by, the use of a supposed magic spell

Aha! Magic! That must be it! You’re probably thinking to yourself, FAIRY MAGIC….wo Green Thumbs' Mini Patio Mix Kit Ad

But no. It’s simple: scale and authenticity

(Stay with me on this one! ;o)

The key ingredients that you can easily bring to your miniature gardens are realism, proportion and scale. If your accessories are realistic and in-scale with each other, you’ll get the charm.

And something that is not so obvious but is a very valuable element for a charming garden in miniature: the authentic miniature patio.

The addition of a patio or pathway increases the appeal of a true garden in miniature because it helps the viewer to identify the fact that it is a real miniature garden instead of a container full of small plants.

http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com

The miniature patio cinches the scale immediately because we know how big the mini patio is supposed to be. After all, we stand on them all the time, right? But it tends to be the last thing we think of when we put a miniature garden together and we end up dumping a bunch of marbles in for a path, include an odd collection of rocks for the patio, or layer-in colored stones that you would never see done in a full-size garden.

Take a look at the following examples of the different sizes of miniature gardens to get an idea of what I mean by paying attention to the patio materials in the following photos:

(Click to get into the bigger slideshow. It works better on a regular computer.)

Checkout the Miniature Garden Patio and Pathway Department in our store for easy solutions to add charm to your miniature or fairy garden scene.

Be sure to lock in your design with our Mini Patio Mix Kit. The only solution design specifically for miniature gardeners by a miniature gardener! They come in several different ways too, see them here. ;o)

We’ve remained authentic too. All our accessories are based in realism and are categorized by size here, in our Miniature Garden Center store. We’ve stayed with true with our gardening in miniature because that is where the magic really is.

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette! The world’s only regular newsletter completely dedicated to gardening in miniature. Join us here.

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It’s a Book Launch Party for NEW Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book!

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

From the NEW Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book – be your own diva bride and create your backyard wedding just how you imagine it. Diva-bride-drama is optional, but it would be MINImal. :o)

It’s a Book Launch Party for NEW Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book!

Insert much rejoicing here!

It’s like Christmas when you were a kid. You can’t rush time and fast forward to the big day either. You know it’s coming and that it will soon be here but the wait is oh-so-painful! When is our new book going to get here? It’s TAKING FOREVER PLUS ONE DAY ALREADY!! Lol!

So, let’s get our minds off of that and talk a bit more about the book party! Everyone loves a party, right? Well, we’ve gone ahead and reserved a booth at the best garden art show in the greater Seattle area: Sorticulture Garden Art Show! We’re going back to this year’s show, June 9th thru 11th, to throw a party to celebrate our big book launch!

WHY IS IT THE BEST GARDEN SHOW?

Well, personally speaking, they are the only show in the area that fully embraces what we do here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center! We’ve been displaying our miniature gardens for years now. We used to vend at that show for years – many moons ago – and it helped us spread the joy of gardening in miniature far and wide throughout the region. When we were unable to vend, they approached us to display, which helped keep the cycle going. I guess Sorticulture wins the award for “Longest Garden Show for Gardening in Miniature!” Here is our display from 2011. And here is one from 2014.

SO, here is what is on the agenda for Sorticulture so far for this year, because we’re “Bringing It!” The photos are from the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book, these photos were taken by Kate Baldwin, the woman who helped with the first Gardening in Miniature book too.

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

From the World Tour section, this is the America Garden on aging miniatures and creating a real hanging snail shell planter. 

MINIATURE GARDEN MAKE & TAKES

Yep! Have a seat and make a small miniature garden of your own to take home! You’ll have all the ingredients there, at your fingertips! Get your fingers in the soil and create a tiny living world of your very own from succulents and sedums for a super-easy-to-maintain miniature garden. Choose your own accessory to finish off your masterpiece from our Made in the USA accessories. Learn how to install a custom patio that won’t wash away. Awesome. While supplies last.

DAILY RAFFLES

We’ll be giving away Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book each day throughout the show! Come on by and sign-up for our email list, confirm through your email, and your name will go in the hat to win. You don’t have to be present to win – we will mail it to you!

FREE GIFT WITH EVERY ORDER $10 or MORE

Get a FREE gift with every order, $10 or more while at the show! Choose from a miniature accessory, or one of our sample kits!

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

The Great Britain Garden with a miniature folly. The other countries with projects to match, include Spain, India and Japan.

SEE THE MINIATURE GARDENS FROM THE BOOK

We will be bringing as many of the miniature gardens from the book as we can fit in the truck. You’ll be able to see how much (or how little) they have grown over the last 3 years. They are grown-in and lovely!

SEE THE FINAL PROJECTS, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

And you’ll see all of the final projects that are in the book! You’ll be able to see the wide variety of skills and techniques that are taught in each of the projects.

 

 

GET YOUR OWN COPY OF THE NEW GARDENING IN MINIATURE AUTOGRAPHED!

We’re creating a special book plate for this event to say, “Thanks!” You’ll always remember what a great day you had at Sorticulture!

JANIT’S FAIRY CAKES

Yep. I’m having a blast with this idea. Way fun.

I have other plans up my sleeve too, but you’ll have to some come and see them! :O)

Oh, here is the Mother’s Day miniature garden from the Prop Shop book, in case you missed it.

Join us and thousands of other like-minded miniature gardeners from all over the world and get your Mini Garden Gazette delivered straight to your inbox each Friday! Sign up here!

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop Book

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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:

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.

Like this?

Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette Newsletter! It’s free and every Friday! Join us here.

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

Here’s an UPDATE! We visited the OSH to decorate the garden for the Fourth. See it 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!

Shop Two Green Thumbs

 

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.

Ad-FallPlanting - 1

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

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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.

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