Thyme-Leaf Cotoneaster

The Thyme-Leaf Cotoneaster in its berry stage. This photo was taken in June.

Miniature Gardening: Favorite Plants for a New Season

Fall has become the best time to plant your trees and shrubs. The summer weather is getting hotter and drier – depending upon where you live, you may have had the exact opposite this year – it’s critical to get your plants in the ground to establish themselves before Ma Nature’s extremes happen. It also sets yourself up for easier maintenance next summer because watering won’t be as critical.

So without further adieu, let’s show you a few of our old favorites for the miniature garden and next week we’ll show you some of the new ones we have found. Note that all our miniature garden plants are good planted in-ground and in containers.

Thyme-Leaf Cotoneaster

The Thyme-Leaf Cotoneaster, each one is a little different. Call or get in touch if you want a particular look to your tree, most of the current batch are single-stemed.

Miniature Garden Plants - Thyme-Leaf Cotoneaster

The Thyme-Leaf Cotoneaster shown trimmed into a tree form. It will get better and better with age. Flowers in early summer followed by bright red berries for the rest of the year.

Thyme-Leaf Cotoneaster

The smallest leafed cotoneaster of the family and this little gem is so cooperative you’ll have fun with him in your sunny miniature garden scene. An outdoor plant, the Thyme-Leaf Cotoneaster holds on to its berries for months (and looks great in the Christmas garden!) and next spring, the cute, white, single-petal flowers will pop out and cover the tiny tree. Those wee flowers will turn into the berries and the cycle continues. Fun, huh?

Growing Tips: Trim it to keep its shape, prune away the bottom branches to get it to look like a wee tree and keep the trunk clean of new growth.  Hardy to -20F, full sun or at least 6 hours of sun. The Thyme-Leaf Cotoneaster is great in containers, or in the ground and it’s great for bonsai too.

Jacquelline Hillier Elm

The Jacquelline Hillier Elm keeps getting better and better each year. We’ve had this one for about 8 years

Jacquelline Hillier Elm

The Jacquelline Hillier Elm is a treat for the miniature garden. One of the few broadleaf trees that we can use with success. Can be pruned to slow down the growth rate.

Jacqueline Hillier Elm

Jackie-O! We heart her. Even when she drops her leaves in autumn, she leaves a wonderful trunk and branches that we can decorate through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and wrap with miniature lights or hang wee ghosts on. The leaves are a perfect scale for the large-size or one inch-scale garden scene.

Growing Tips:  Prune away the bottom branches to make it look more like a tree. Cut off all the little dead branches and any limbs that are crossing each other. The Jacqueline Hillier is supposed to grow into a shrub for the full-size garden but with a little guidance, she can keep her miniature tree look. Great in sun, can take some shade, don’t let the soil dry out completely if planted in a container. Hardy to -20F. Great for bonsai.

Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress

The Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress after a couple/few years with minimal training. See how yellow it gets in the sun.

Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress

The winter blush on the Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress is absolutely charming in the miniature garden. It adds a splash of color when you need it most.

Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress

The Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress get more yellow in the sun, greener in the shade. Prune away the bottom-most branches to turn it into a tree for the miniature garden.

Fernspray Gold Hinoki Cypress

Oh dear. How many good things can one say about a plant? The Fernspray Gold Hinoki starts out like a wee shrub but develops into the perfect miniature garden tree quite quickly. The magic is in the colors. In summer, it’s a deep green with emerald tips if kept in a shady spot. Keep it in full sun and the foliage will get brighter and more yellow – thus the “Gold” part in the name. In the winter, if it is cold enough to get a winter blush, it will turn shades of amber and plum. The growth pattern is lovely, the branches arch out from the trunk just so, and the tips are fern-like in pattern. In the spring the winter blush will turn back to deep green while the new growth is a lovely, vivid, light green. Now you can see why we love it so!

Growing Tips: This is another plant that you can prune away the bottom branches to get it to look tree-like and add some height to your miniature garden scene. Great in containers or planted in-ground, just don’t let the soil dry out completely – and make sure your potting soil has drainage material in it like vermiculite or perlite. Sun for the brightest yellow or less sun to get the green shades. Hardy to -20F.


The Elf Dwarf Alberta Spruce is our cover girl!

Elf Dwarf Alberta Spruce

The Elf Dwarf Alberta Spruce grow more globe-like as it gets older. A trusty little gem for the miniature garden.

Elf Dwarf Alberta Spruce

This little gal will surprise you one day when you find out what she’s hiding underneath the tiny canopy of lovely green needles: a nice solid trunk that would make bonsai artists drool. This is our cover girl for our Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World after about 9 years or so. Grows less than one inch per year and the shape will develop into a perfect globe shape.

Growing Tips: The Elf Dwarf Spruce needs well-drained soil. Does well in-ground and in containers. If you are after a nice trunk, plant in it in the garden bed and “let it grow some wood” for a couple/few years. Be sure not to move it around too much but if you need to, move it in the winter or close to it. Don’t let the soil dry out completely. Hardy to -30F, full sun.

Also back in stock this week is our favorite Dwarf Mondo Grass, Dwarf Crisped Fern, Miniature Sweet Flag and the Silver Mist Lily Turf. Add some texture to your miniature garden bed with any of these gems. Click the name to see the details of each in the store.

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