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Welcome to the last of our blog series to introduce you to how we do things differently in this hobby of gardening in miniature.

Imagine Doing Things Differently Part 1: How We Garden
Doing Things Differently Part 2: How We Use Plants
D0ing Things Differently Part 3: How We Miniaturize

Doing things differently can be exciting, motivating and fun but it also can be frustrating, alienating and expensive if you are doing all the research by yourself. If you have followed my journey over the years you probably shared in some of these feelings through this blog and/or our Mini Garden Gazette or perhaps felt them yourself in looking for ways to explore and connect in this wonderful hobby.

Combining two different ideas to make something unique is not new to me. In art college at the Ontario College of Art and Design, I had an interest in kinetic art and in abstract painting, so I took on the task of blending the two art forms into one: computers and painting. What resulted was my thesis project that was a computer-controlled kinetic painting where each viewer would get a different experience each time they viewed it.(**Nerdy details below.)

Needless to say, I didn’t fit into the painting department because I had electronics on it. And, I didn’t fit into the electronic department because I had paintings attached to my electronics. Very frustrating.

Janit & Steve Calvo with their 1/6 scale miniature garden
From the Archives, 2015: Steve and I in front of our 1/6 scale (Barbie-sized) miniature garden when we first launched the Miniature Garden Society. 


Finding Our Place

I’ve experienced the same kind of thing with this miniature garden hobby and still do, despite its newfound popularity. This is final excerpt from the introduction from my Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book:

We can’t join an established club because we would be guilty of being so selective. If a miniature gardener were looking for a club to join, which would it be? A dollhouse miniature club would quickly scale down any idea made with living plants, real soil and actual water. A rock garden club would toss us out for aggregating with trees and miniatures. A conifer or a regular garden club would consider us weeds because we would only attend when the topic resonates in miniature. A bonsai group would prune us away for sneaking in miniature patios and furniture under their specimens. Railroad garden groups would put us on the next train out because we would only want to talk about the plants and garden.

So, here is another book for you, my fellow miniature gardener, you are welcome in this club anytime. Grow, play, experiment, plant, create, invent, dig-in deeper or garden smaller anytime. But do think big and dream bigger.

– Janit

And now here is your club: The Miniature Garden Society Join us and hundreds of other like-minded miniature gardeners that understand your passion, know what you are talking about, solve the same problems that you have and love to explore what you love to explore! That doesn’t happen very often with this new hobby – but now it’s possible: To find out more or to join us, click here.


**Details of my Computer-Controlled Kinetic Painting Thesis: 1996 – The painting was built with cut-out plywood and was 6’ by 4’ by about 8” deep. There were motors attached to three foam-core panels mounted behind the main painting that were visible through cutouts, and three shapes attached to the front of the painting were also motorized.

The motors were triggered by a platform that the viewer would stand on (an adapted digital scale) that would send the signal to a gland board attached to an old 365 PC computer that produced the random on, offs and turn the panels either direction either stopping and starting, or just turning and stopping after a few seconds. The entire experience lasted anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds.

Hypothetically there would be too many variables to actually produce any obvious repetitiveness so each viewer would have an experience with the artwork, instead of just looking at one.

I have it recorded on video, but it’s on a compact VHS tape that I need to get digitized. (Showing my age, eh?) Let me know if you want to see it in the comments below and I’ll get it together! 

Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop

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