How to Renovate a Miniature Garden
A pretty miniature garden scene. This photo was take about 6 weeks after the project photos were done for our Gardening in Miniature book. The tree is a Jacqueline Hillier Elm, the two globe-shaped shrubs on either side are White Pygmy Dwarf Cypress.

Renovating a full-sized garden can be back-breaking work and take weeks to complete. Over the years of gardening in miniature, I’ve discovered it takes an average of 20 minutes to renovate a miniature garden – with no back-ache or sore muscles. In this post, we are revisiting a miniature garden that was made for the Pond in a Pot project in the Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World book. I’ve been letting a few of the miniature gardens grow without doing any maintenance so you can see (a) how fun they can be to grow one and (b) how easy it is to garden in miniature.

How to make a miniature garden pond
Here is a summary of the Pond in a Pot project, from the Timber Press winter catalog, 2013.
Fairy Gardening with Two Green
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
I left it to grow without doing any maintenance on it for the last year so you can see what happens – it’s still a cute garden! Our big puppy tends to rearrange our miniature garden accessories from time to time.
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Tools for the task can be found easily. Find your spoon miniature shovel and your fork miniature rake at your local thrift store. Pick up a sharp knife for your potting bench too, they come in really handy!

Renovating a miniature garden is just as much fun as making one. You can easily get lost in your own little world, see what plants are growing wild, and what needs a bit of help. Just like full-sized gardening, you will have plants that don’t survive, or some that didn’t do well. With our changing winters, it’s good to keep an open mind if something didn’t make it through the hard-freezes of the polar vortex, for example. This gives you an opportunity to try a different plant, or choose a plant that is hardier than your zone. It’s easy to swap the the plants out with fresh ones, or fill-in the gap in the garden bed with a new accessory.

The tools you need, you can find around the house or in your garden shed. If you don’t have garden clippers, a sharp pair of scissors will do just fine. Designate a specific soup spoon and dinner fork for your miniature garden. Thrift stores are place to go for these. Pick up a sharp cutting knife while you are there, it will come in handy. Keep an old toothbrush for cleaning up your accessories or scrubbing-down your patio. A soft rag is handy for cleaning out the pond and wiping down the outside of the pot.

Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Begin by pulling out all the dead plants. The Dwarf Mondo Grass in all our gardens didn’t make it through last winter for some reason. (It’s hardy to 0F and our coldest temperature was 18F) Next winter, I’ll make sure I shear that White Pygmy Cypress (behind my hand,) to prevent it from getting leggy and to keep those wonderful creamy tips. This will help separate it from the Dwarf Pagoda Japanese Holly on the right.

See all our plants, trees and shrubs for your miniature gardening up in our online store at – and check back often, our plant inventory is always changing! We ship all year from our studio in Seattle too.

Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Trim back all the dead branches and foliage. Miniature roses follow the same rules as full-size roses, deadhead the spent blooms just above a 5-leaf branch. For other shrubs, trim back any dead branches, and branches that are criss-crossed in the middle of the plant and any branch that is growing downward.
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
At this point in the season, you may have new buds mixed with spent buds. Take a moment to sort them out before deadheading (cutting off the spent blooms.)

The miniature rose is from our friends down in Oregon at High quality roses that are awesome to grow!

Miniature Garden Plants
This miniature ‘Popcorn’ rose is intermingling with this cypress (I’m not remembering the name!!) I’ll let the rose bloom for now, then trim it back, away from the cypress, when the flowers are done.
Miniature Garden Ebook
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Churn-up the top layer of soil with your garden fork. Throughout the year, all container gardens develop this crusty layer and redirect the water to the outside of the pot, away from the plant’s roots. By breaking up this layer, the water will go where it is needed. Churn up the soil gently around each plant.
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Prune away all dead branches in the trees and shrubs. Prune or pinch-off any new growth along the trunk and lower branches to keep your tree looking like a tree.
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Bail out your miniature garden pond.
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
If the miniature garden is grown-in, you may be able to lift the pond-pot out gently, clean it up and replace it.
Miniature Garden Center
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Be careful not to get anything in the pond’s hole. You can barely see the upside-down pot that the pond is resting on at the bottom of the hole.
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Replace the accessories. And you are done!
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Or create a new look by adding different accessories.
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Little gaps in the ground covers create an opportunity to nestle-in another focal point.
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
Add a couple of flowers to float in the pond. You can float the tiny flowers on leaves to make them look like water-lilies.
Your Miniature Garden Center
Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
If your miniature garden is big like this one is, have fun creating tiny vignettes throughout the garden. It lures the viewer in to take a better look. After seeing this picture, I may plant something low in front of the trellis to for more interest.

See all our miniature garden Tools and Equipment here.

Miniature Gardening Renovation How-To
A miniature garden flower arrangement can add a bit of color quickly and easily. See below for the How-To link.

Want more miniature flower arranging? See The Cutest How-To in the Whole Wide World.

See our current stock of true miniature garden and fairy garden trees, shrubs, and plants right here.

July Fourth Miniature Garden
Or collect your favorite accessories to celebrate an occasion for a party or a barbecue.

See all our realistic garden miniatures for your miniature gardening here!

Like this? Then you will love our Mini Garden Gazette! Click into our main website to join us for more fun in the miniature garden.

Gardening in Miniature by Janit Calvo
Click the picture to get your autographed copy from our online store. Or Amazon[dot]com has it too!

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