~ I’ve made well over 3,000 miniature gardens of all shapes and sizes since I started this business in 2001, in-ground gardens as well as in containers. I spent the first 12 or so years doing street and garden markets which helped add-up to that number and, I must say, each one was different.
If you are just dipping your finger into the soil with this new hobby that is the perfect blend of garden, art and craft, I have found that there are a number of ways to begin the journey of creating your own tiny living world.
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. Decide 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 expect an outdoor plant to be happy indoors for very long but if you do, just know it to fail within a couple of months but it will last much longer than a bouquet of flowers!
Use the search to find your miniature garden plants for your area up on your Miniature Garden Center store. Click on the little magnifying glass in the upper left corner and type in your zone OR scroll down on the lefthand menu and choose “Shop by Zone.”
2. Choose your favorite tree
If you have the luxury of planting anywhere, checkout our 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 a shrub.
Then choose your “mini bedding plants” (a.k.a. ground covers) by matching the same light and water requirements as your tree. If you haven’t been bitten by the miniature conifer bug yet, be warned: mini & dwarf conifers are both numerous, gosh-darn cute and easy to grow.
3. Choose your favorite theme
Want to create based on a theme? How about a mini forest or backyard? Do you want it formal? Rustic? Or do you want to re-create your grandmother’s life-sized garden in miniature?
While there may not be an exact miniature version of the full-size tree that you need, you can more-than-likely find a similar, slow-growing, small foliage tree that is similar in growth shape. Use images of life-sized gardens to help kick-start your brainstorming session and Google for ideas. Look for iconic miniatures that will weather well, like a classic a rose arbor or grandma’s favorite garden chair. Be selective about the accessories that you want to add to your miniature garden rather than trying to do too much with such a small space. Don’t clutter the small scene with too many accessories and details that will get lost in the living miniature garden.
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.
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.
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.
Enjoy your mini garden journey and adhere to the most important, number one rule of gardening in miniature: Make it fun.
- Visit our Miniature Garden Society website where you’ll find everything and more! (See the video below!)
- Here are the bestselling Gardening In Miniature books, published by Timber Press
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