About the Mini Garden Guru

  • Name: Janit Calvo
  • Birthday: May 30th
  • Favorite Color: Green
  • Favorite Plant: Yes
  • Favorite Miniature Scale: Yes
  • Favorite Things to Do: Gardening, Mini-Making, Growing Flowers, Ikebana, Painting, Sculpting, Baking, Crafting, Decorating, Napping, Playing with Kitty, Hanging out with good friends, Going to the beach, Reading, Walking… 
  • Most-Favorite Thing Besides Husband & Dog: Flowers
  • Favorite Escape: A good fiction book and a lounge chair surrounded by my garden and my dog, Kitty.

A Little About Janit Calvo:

“I’ve been researching, sharing, writing, growing, speaking, publishing, photographing and creating this hobby since 2001, (full-time, since 2006.) After attempting to start a garden art business where miniature gardens were only a part of my linke – I quickly learned that is was the miniature gardening that really captivated every one that saw them. So, the journey begun…”

Above: My book tours took me to some weird gigs. This photo is from a Pottery Barn demonstration. I was a bit panicked for material to use with their line so I came up with “Miniature Cache Pot Gardens” that became a chapter in my second book, the Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book. See it up in the store here.



More About Janit: 

“I’m an artist, graduated with honors from the Ontario College of Art & Design way back in the last century. I paint and I sculpt using multi-media. I enjoy lamp-making, ikebana, sewing, cooking, baking and traveling just about anywhere.

I’m a full-sized gardener and have a flower & perennial garden to escape to – and yes, I have a big in-ground fairy garden which challenges me too. (It’s the weeds! Arg!)

I’m a miniaturist and one of these days I swear I’m going to do another dollhouse room box. I’ve been a miniature lover since I was a child, my mom and dad would bring me home dollhouse miniatures from their travels which I still have.

I’m a writer, photographer, website designer, content creator, graphic designer, influencer, online retailer, inventor, customer service specialist, publisher, speaker, demonstrator, promoter, copywriter, administrator, shameless self-promoter as well as a sister and an aunt. (Whew! I think I need to nap after that paragraph!)”

Miniature Garden Therapy for the Old Soldier's Home

Above: Me with the awesomely talented Linda Maida, of the Washington State Federaion of Garden Clubs and then some. We set up a miniature garden installation a the Old Soldier’s Home in Orting, Wa. in 2017. The lasted for several years until the pandemic. We’re still not able to access the garden due to the safety of the residents. (March, 2022)

Blogging for You!

“I started blogging by writing a weekly garden column for the West Seattle Herald way back in 2005-2006, when I was still figuring out how to garden in miniature. While I enjoyed having a weekly garden column, I had to leave the Herald and focus on developing the hobby and my business.

So, I started my own blog, The Mini Garden Guru Blog, in order to have a place for all my finds, ideas and discoveries on this new and wonderful hobby.”

Gardening in Miniature, now in it's 5th printing!

Above: Working with the beautiful and talented Kate Baldwin who is responsible for many of the wonderful photographs in both of my Gardening in Mniature books.


Some of my Work Experience:

“A lot of my work experience before unearthing this new business overlaps just a few areas that were helpful in building and serving this hobby of Gardening in Miniature:

The Hobby Industry: My father was a collectible publisher who grew The Charlton Press from two books, to over 40 different titles, some updated yearly, by the time he sold ‘The Press’ in 2015. Dad was never one to let us sit around, I was put to work as a mock-layout assistant at the age of about 8 years old. I had to glue-down bits of copy on sheets of paper for the type-setter to generate a first draft of the books. 

I worked at the Press off and on throughout the next 4 decades where I learned desktop publishing, commercial photography, graphic design and database publishing. I also learned how to compile information and make a book from scratch.

The Garden Industry: I’ve been in the garden industry as a gardener, a container designer and as an assistant manager in a local garden center, here in Seattle, Wa.

The Restaurant Industry: You might think, ‘What does working in the restaurant industry have to do with building a hobby?’ People. Working as a waitress and bartender, I learned how to engage people, how to treat everyone with respect, how to deal with bullies and how to make people laugh. As a prep-cook and dishwasher, I learned the value of hard work, team work and tolerating uncomfortable conditions.”

Janit & Steve Calvo with their 1/6 scale miniature garden

Above: Janit with husband Steve. Thankfully Steve is into miniatures and gardening as well. Steve has an extensive collection of 1/6 scale miniatures, that are easier for him to manage with this big hands. 

“I’ve had people break into tears and hug me and thank me for introducing them to mini gardening,” says Janit. 

“It’s like they never realized Mother Nature can be a really helpful and nurturing part of their daily life.”

Still Growing Strong

The miniature garden hobby has endured some setbacks throughout the years despite my trying to steer the ship, so to speak.

In 2015 when my first book was trying to launch the hobby, the miniature garden message got mixed-up with the fairy garden trend by the garden and gift industry trying to make as much money from the trend as possible. All you saw on the store shelves were crude fairy garden accessories and out-of-scale, unrealistic miniature garden items.

What “they” never realized is that it is a hobby. Miniature gardening was always “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” It was never a trend per se, and nor did anyone but my fellow miniature gardeners realize that it was a pastime that can be enjoyed for years and years – all year long.

Gardening in Miniature, now in it's 5th printing!

Above: Janit with her Kitty, her one-true-four-legged-love and “the best girl in the world.”

“I’m a dog lover – they totally ‘get’ me.” :o)

Keeping it Real:

“But most importantly, I’m human. I won’t mislead you with polished photos of a fake life just to look good on social media.

I like to keep it real – just like the hobby – I find it’s way more fun that way. I’ll tell you I kill plants. I won’t tell you something just to make a buck. I’ll tell you the truth about gardening and this hobby.

While we all grow our own worlds, we are still all in this world together.”

A dog named Kitty photo bombing a product shoot.

Above: My BFF. We named her ‘Kitty’ because we had a cat named ‘Puppy’ at the time. Yes, it was confusing in the household while we waited for Kitty to grow-out of being a puppy. 

“I research what works then test it out…  and keep doing what is working,” says Janit. 

“I have a ‘create-as-you-go’ style that leaves room for lots of creativity and innovation that I have yet to see any place else, with this new hobby.”

Getting to Know America's Favorite Miniature Garden Center, TwoGreenThumbs.com

ABOVE: This is me in 2012, just after delivering the manuscript for my first book, Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World to the publisher. The book has sold almost 40,000 copies and has been translated into three different languages: German, Turkish and Korean. (Actually it’s in 7 different languages if you count British, Australian and Canadian along with the English version… :o) 

Miniature Gardening with Janit Calvo At Epcot

Above: One of the perks of getting published was a couple of gigs at the huge Epcot Garden Festival in Orlando, FL. 

Above: Sometimes we get out. Lol! Us at the Monroe State Fair a few years ago. 


If it wasn’t for my long-time customers and their infinite support of my work, I wouldn’t be here.



Just a few blog posts that highlight my personality,
my outlook on life and my obsessiveness with this
hobby of Gardening in Miniature:

(Or, it could highlight my need for a looong-overdue vacation… :o)

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