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I started the seeds in 2005, the pot finally cracked in July 2015. Time to repot!

“Don’t just sit there, grow a tree!” is my first thought whenever I see the box that’s been kicking around the office since 2005. I’ve kept it for reference because this is – so far – the only tree seed that has worked for me. The side of the box says, “Guaranteed to Grow! Just add: sunshine, water & love.” For $4 I thought, “I’m a rebel without a cause! I’m feeling reckless today, I’ll give it a try.” ;o) I found the little kit in a gift store here in Seattle. They were for a Picea pungens ‘Glauca’ or Colorado blue spruce.

I lost the instructions that were included but I recall it said to mimic a forest floor when planting and nurturing them. It worked. Checkout the list of photos below and you can see how it grew over a decade. I am missing a few photos – it was used in our A Garden for All Reasons at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in 2008. And I know I took other photos of it throughout the years, but they must have been a part of a hard drive crash a couple of years ago unfortunately.

Oh, and this lil’ garden was rejected from the Guinness Book of World Records. I submitted it as the world’s longest living smallest miniature garden in the whole wide world – but it didn’t pass the criteria to prove that it actually was the “longest living smallest garden.” (What? They couldn’t take my word on it?!?! :o) And, I would have preferred a rejection letter too, as opposed to a rejection email. Framing an email isn’t as dramatic. It’s still a record-breaker in our books though!

See our 10 minute mini garden renovation after the collage:

And just to note, I did nothing special in growing them. The main things to remember when growing a small garden over 10 years is to (a) keep track of it and (b) to water it. Personally, I’m still surprised it’s still alive after a major house-move and three years of writing and promoting my first book, “the” primer on the hobby, Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World.

Gardening in Miniature, the Primer for the Hobby

How to Renovate a Tiny Miniature Garden

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1. Take the pot off the rootball. In this case, it was easy to do because the pot was already broken. If your rootball won’t release from the pot easily, take a long kitchen knife and slice in between the walls of the pot and the rootball. (Thrift stores are great places for miniature garden tools, pick up a fork [mini rake] and a spoon [mini shovel] while you are there.)
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2. Take all the accessories, the patio and stones out. Wash the accessories gently with an old toothbrush. More than likely, if you used our Mini Patio Mix Kit to build the patio, you can reuse it easily.
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3. Take the moss off the top of the soil. Try to preserve the chunks/blanket of moss if you can so you can re-plant it later if you like.
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5. Gently peel away the roots. You’ll find them wrapped around the edge. Cut the long roots with a sharp pair of clean scissors – BUT cut off no more than ? of the roots at one time. Be gentle if your plant is this young.
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6. Gently loosen or divide the trees to fit them into the new pot. Again, the rule of thumb is to never take more than one third off at a time – this means roots and foliage.
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7. Fit the trees into the new pot gently. In this case, I arranged them like a forest, plant them off-center for more interest. (Some would call this Penjing.) Face the best side of the trees to the front. Trim off any lower branches that need it (- but wait to do this if you’ve already trimmed the roots.)
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8. Put the patio, install the pond. Fit the rocks miniature boulders in where they look natural. Whew! It’s hard work, isn’t it?
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9. Plant the moss back in the gaps with the bare soil. The moss will help slow down the water evaporation. Trim the moss to clean it up, trim off any dead moss-flower if needed.
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10. Water thoroughly until the water drains out the bottom of the pot. Fill in any gaps in the soil if needed. Spray/clean-off the patio, wipe the outside of the pot with a soft cloth and fill the pool. What a day! Great work! Now you can brag to your co-workers that you completely renovated your entire garden.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on it for the rest of the dry summer months, and make sure it gets enough water in the winter – and keep it sheltered from freezing just to be safe. By next year, it should have fully recovered and will be hardier in the dry months as well as the colder months.

UPDATE – I lost this garden to an unexpected heat wave in early spring here in Seattle. My babies! Sniff. We’ll they don’t grow on trees – they ARE trees and it’s time to start again… they were getting too big anyway. Lol! :oD For future reference, I “shoulda” put it in a part-shady spot for the duration of that heatwave and throughout the hot months. The partial shady location would have helped to keep the soil evenly damp.

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