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A Brand New Miniature Garden Center Store!

It’s a brand new Miniature Garden Center!!

A Brand New Miniature Garden Center Store!

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

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

And we’re thrilled!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center is online ONLY.


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More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

Indoor miniature gardening

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


More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Recommended Tools:

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

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

Indoor miniature tropical garden

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

Indoor miniature gardening

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

More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

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

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More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

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

More About Indoor Miniature Gardening + Gallery

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

Indoor Miniature Gardening

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

Indoor Miniature Gardening

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

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Indoor miniature garden

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

Indoor miniature mediation gardening

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

Indoor miniature gardening

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

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

Like this? Then you’ll love our Mini Garden Gazette! A FREE monthly newsletter filled with news, tips, how-to’s, seasonal to-do’s, and exclusive offers. Join us and thousands of other miniature gardeners from around the world here.

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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.)


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.


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


The Miniature Garden Society


Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

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How to Save Time and Money on Your Miniature Gardening


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!)


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.


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.


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, All of our customers can get hands-on advice specific to your planting needs – just for being our customer! 


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. 

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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Holiday Fashion Advice for Miniature Gardeners

Miniature Tree Dress by Janit Calvo, Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

What else would a miniature gardener wear to a holiday party?

Holiday Fashion Advice for Miniature Gardeners

It’s all the rage, you know.

Once I saw this full-size idea circulate around my independent garden center group, I knew I had to do it – in miniature! In the full-size world, they use dressmakers or mannequins for the form and build the dress right on it with spectacular results. I’ve been on the lookout for a miniature dressmaker – that didn’t cost an arm and a leg (Ha! That’s punny!) because I wanted to glue the miniature boughs right on it. No such luck, so I made my own.

The how-to video, (I’m just polishing it up now,) will be posted along with all our other new and innovative ideas in miniature up on our Miniature Garden Society website. We’re having fun digging deeper into the hobby, creating fun, new projects for the miniature garden, exploring new techniques that can help us achieve the realism that we’re looking for, and connecting with like-minded people all over the world. So far, we have people from all over the United States, Canada, England, India and Italy.

Curious? Click here to go see what we have for YOUR miniature gardening!


Miniature Tree Dress by Janit Calvo, Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

The next one I’ll make with arms so I can make a better top for her.


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


Miniature Tree Dress by Janit Calvo, Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

I was going to embellish the dress with more ornaments and accessories, but I had to resist – didn’t want to clutter it up too much.


Miniature Garden Decorating for the Holidays


Miniature Tree Dress by Janit Calvo, Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

And the backside. Now that I’ve finished this one, I want to make another! Lol! 

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Miniature Tree Dress by Janit Calvo, Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center

Come and stay creative and crafty with us at the Miniature Garden Society!


Get your 2017 Miniature Garden Calendar here!

Get your 2017 Miniature Garden Calendar here!

Give us a like, comment, share to help spread the joy of gardening in miniature to someone who may need it! Now more than ever, hobbies help us to stay grounded and centered in this busy, busy world.

Just want to dip your toe into the hobby? Sign up for our FREE weekly Mini Garden Gazette here.

Miniature Garden Gift Ideas

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Solstice and Happy Whatever-you-celebrate, from Janit & Steve Calvo, your fellow miniature gardeners at Thank you for reading!


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5 Ways to Start Your Own Miniature Garden

How to Start a Miniature Garden

There are many reasons to grow your own world – they are fun to give and fun to get! This scene is approximately 10 inches wide.

5 Ways to Start Your Own Miniature Garden

I’ve made well over 1,300 miniature gardens since I started this business in 2001, [Update to 2015: we are over 3,000 gardens, in-ground and in containers.] and I have found that there are a number of ways to begin the journey of creating your own wee world.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Choose your site for your mini garden

Right plant, right place applies in miniature as well. Where is your miniature garden going to live: In ground or in a container? Indoor or out? Then figure out what kind of light does that spot have: Full shade? Morning sun? Then choose the plants that will do well in that environment. (Note that indoor plants are tropical plants that like to stay 60 degrees or above all year ‘round. No, you can’t grow an outdoor plant indoors.)

See our miniature garden plants sorted by zone here.

2. Choose your favorite tree

If you have the luxury of planting anywhere, checkout the miniature and dwarf trees and shrubs that are ideal for miniature gardening, and pick a tree that sings to you or tweaks your interest. Some trees can be “limbed-up” to show some more trunk so it looks more like a tree than an shrub. Choose your “mini bedding plants” (a.k.a. ground covers) by matching the same light and water requirements as the tree. If you haven’t been bitten by the miniature conifer bug yet, be warned: they are both numerous, gosh-darn cute and easy to grow.

See our miniature plants sorted by light here.

We’re digging deeper. Join us.

3. Choose your favorite theme

Forest? Backyard? Formal? Rustic? Re-creating your grandmother’s life-sized garden in miniature? While there may not be an exact miniature version of the full-size tree, you can more-than-likely find a similar, slow-growing, small foliaged tree that is similar in growth shape. Use images of life-sized gardens to help kick-start your brainstorming session and Google it. Look for iconic items that will weather well, classic a rose arbor or grandma’s favorite garden chair, to add to your miniature garden rather than clutter the small scene with tiny details that will get lost in the living miniature garden.

See our Theme Department here.

4. Choose a container

Sometimes the container just beckons to have a wee world in it. Let the colors and the personality of the pot help or dictate the mini garden theme. An unglazed, terra cotta pot would be the perfect pot for a rustic backyard garden-theme. A big, black, glazed, ceramic pot would look smashing with a formal-style miniature garden planted with a Blue Pygmy Juniper, Hens & Chicks and Wooley Thyme for the understory that all enjoy the full sun and tolerate the odd dry soil.

See all our miniature garden trees and plants for miniature gardening here.


Your Miniature Garden Center

5. Try a complete kit.

I have a variety of Miniature Garden Kits in my online store, to suit a number of different environments. They come complete with full color instructions that guide you through the simple steps to create a mini garden in a container, and it can be applied to an in-ground garden too.

The kits come with a mini or dwarf tree, matching bedding plants (ground covers), my own Mini Patio Mix Kit, rocks or brick sheets for easy install, and miniature garden accessories to finish off your wee landscape. Once you do this kit, you’ll know how to do it again and again.

Miniature gardens make great gifts for that hard-to-shop for person in your life, hostess gifts, centerpieces for family gatherings or weddings. They do very well at charity auctions and raffles too.

There are just as many reasons to grow your own world, as there are reasons to live in this one. Enjoy your mini garden journey and adhere to the most important, number one rule of gardening in miniature: Have fun and grow your own world.

Need more?

Visit the source of the miniature garden hobby here.
Visit America’s Favorite Miniature Garden Center’s here.

Like this? You’ll love our weekly Mini Garden Gazette! It’s free and you get our free pdf, The Best of the Mini Garden Gazette #1, just for signing up. Join us here.


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

The bestselling book on the hobby! Click in to get your autographed copy or find it on!


Shop Miniature Garden Plants

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How to Be a Better Gardener


I found this photo from a 2009 blog post. This garden is about 2 or 3 years old here. See the same garden below, how it looks today. Click in to see what Hinoki Cypress are available now.

How to Be a Better Gardener

Every so often, when I jump on my high horse about NOT using fortified soil for miniature gardening, I feel like I am shouting in a vacuum. I mean, what’s a miniature gardener sitting at her desk in Seattle to do when we come up against a behemoth like Scott’s Miracle Gro’s and their crummy Potting Soil that kills our miniature garden plants and discourages people from gardening? They have to know that new gardeners will blame themselves for killing plants and may not try to grow anything ever again. It’s shameful.

So, I do what I normally do, I asked the Internet. Of course, I found out I wasn’t alone:

Consumer affairs gives Scott’s Miracle Gro Potting Soil 1 1/4 stars (out of 5) with 141 complaints to date.

Consumer reviews on for Miracle Grow Moisture Control Potting Mix, 87% of the reviews gives it one star out of five, probably because they can’t give it zero stars.

Good things come in small packages.The forums are full of way more complaints than not. Heartbreaking stories include using Miracle Gro Potting Soil to repot grandma’s 35-year-old plants and killing them within a couple of days. Other tragic tales include the new bags being filled with gnats and infesting homes and gardens. Scotts used to be a brand name that we can trust and it’s interesting to notice the more popular they get, the more complaints they get. And yet, they are advertising more, they are in more stores than ever AND they are in the back pockets of industry professionals, sponsoring them so they’ll be quiet, I bet.

It truly is the number one killer of our miniature garden trees and plants. I constantly get emails about dead or dying plants only to find out that they used Miracle Gro Potting Soil. It’s maddening to be able to offer the best quality plant material, only to have the customer use the wrong soil and kill them within days.

Did you know that fresh organic soil contains enough nutrients to sustain a miniature garden for at least 3 years? No need to fertilize so spend your money on a better-quality soil instead.

Now, if you do hear of any good reviews, it’s probably because it has been used for heavy-feeders, like annuals and vegetables. You will also noticed that the “good” reviews are only on the big-box-store websites, interestingly enough, like Walmart, Ace Hardware and Home Depot. Funny, huh?

But I would be very wary of using any chemicals on my veggies. And no, Miracle Gro Potting Soil is not organic. Here’s a page from the website listing the ingredients that go into “the perfect mix.” Once you click in, hit Command F to search the page for the keyword “organic.” You’ll find two at the bottom of the page directing you to their “organic and natural potting mix,” under the brand name Nature’s Care. (Ironically, I first read the website name as BUT this soil STILL has the water-retaining polymers so how can it be completely organic and natural? Hmmm?

JeanIseliHinoki - 1

The same Hinoki in the same pot, 7 years later. While some conifer lovers would think this appealing, for us miniature gardeners, it’s a great tree for a tire swing, birdhouse or treehouse. The patio is from a stone sheet and our Mini Patio Mix Kit – both are available in our online store. Click the pic to get visit!

We are being duped by their advertising and marketing claiming all these benefits. The professional Garden Writers Association has always been sponsored by Scotts (which is owned by Monsanto, btw) – which is why you won’t hear many other garden writers writing about this. My publisher strongly advised that I join this group, but I just couldn’t because it goes against my principles and I’ve since taken the hit professionally too. I’m still baffled by this lack of activism within the garden world. Heck, Hollywood celebrities are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in for our planet.

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo

So please ignore the huge Scotts promotions this season in the big-box-stores despite the rock-bottom prices. Walk past the pallets of Miracle Gro Potting Soil and look for an established organic alternative like Cedar Grove’s line of soils, for example

urlHere is a link to the USDA’s organic integrity database if you want to do any research for yourself.  There’s a search bar under the word operation that you can use to make it fast and easy.  Also look for the USDA organic status symbol on any packaging. Now there is a concern about anything being completely 100% organic, but at least this is a step in the right direction.

As with anything these days the more stuff it has in it, the more chemicals it’s “fortified” with, is not better.  Simplicity is better and organic is more in-tune with our beings and our souls, not to mention our health and the health of the planet – now isn’t that worth a couple of extra dollars?

If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for everything.

I’ll get off my soapbox now, thank you for reading.

Ad-FallPlanting - 1

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