Seasonal Fall Miniature Gardens

 

With the changing of the seasons, I like to update my miniature gardens to reflect the fall season, just like I decorate my house for Fall. Go to Springtime Miniature Gardens to see how my spring creations come together. For Christmas mini gardens, go to Miniature Gardens in the Winter and Miniature Christmas Garden Craze.

Start with a wide shallow planter with drainage holes and fill with potting medium

The Fall days are cooler and the leaves are starting to fall and that is the only excuse I need to unearth my tiny pumpkins and hay bales, scarecrows, and gourds.

After filling up the container with soil, firm it into the bowl and plant about 5-7 small houseplants
Place your minis in the bowl, and mist the entire planter until thoroughly watered
Same planter, but I removed the fence and added a ceramic house and flat stones in front
Totally different set up with a natural mushroom house, and a stepping stone pathway

I liked this iteration the best with the hand-made scarecrow

It’s a Small, Small, World-Mini Hostas

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Mini hostas spilling out of a strawberry jar

A shade workhorse, hostas, according to the Perennial Plant Association are the most widely planted perennial in the world. Easily tucked into small places in the garden, and a perfect accent in trough and other miniature garden containers, these diminutive hostas are becoming a crowd favorite.

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Hosta ‘Mini Skirt’

On the pricey side, these adorable plants are being snatched up everywhere. They can run from $18 too $30 a piece.

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Planted into the garden, miniature hostas stay low to the ground and form a tapestry of color, making a great ground cover, seen at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

Usually less than 6 inches high, miniature hostas should be placed carefully in a garden bed so you don’t lose sight of them when other plants encroach. That is why I like to use them in trough gardens. You are placing this little gem in a highly visible location for maximum impact in a container. But try planting a rainbow of them in a garden bed for a great little ground cover in the shade. Recently I made a trip to Carolyn’s Shade Gardens in Media, Pennsylvania and was impressed with the variety available.

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A trough with ‘Frosted Mouse Ears’ backed by potted miniature hostas at  Carolyn’s Shade Garden

And the names!! Mini Skirt, Lemon Lime, Blue Mouse Ears, Neutrino, Cracker Crumbs, Dew Drop, Shiny Penny, Appletini, Baby Blue Eyes, Little Red Rooster, Tears of Joy, Sunlight Child, Curley, Sun Mouse, Church Mouse, Kiwi Golden Thimble- the list goes on and on. Marketing a plant is all about finding that perfect name and these minis take the prize for catchy names.

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Irresistible with sculptural leaves and charming textures make it difficult to stop at one, and you’ll be tempted to fill a garden with them. Taking up less space in a space challenged property, and ideally suited to container growing, these little minis are perfect on their own or as a companion plant.

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‘Blue Mouse Ears’ tucked into a boulder crevice

Easily grown like all the larger widely known large hostas, they are pretty indestructible. For the best care of hostas, plant them in rich organic soil with a slightly acidic pH.

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Flowering like champs, the minis perform like their larger relatives

Drainage, like with so many plants, is most important. Dormant season crown rot is one of the few diseases that attack these plants.  With this in mind, when newly planted, keep the roots moist, not wet. Once established, hosta plants aren’t fussy and are very tolerant of summer drought and last for years.

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Perfect for fairy gardens, this one is ‘Blue Mouse Ears’

One of deer’s favorite food, plant hostas in containers if you have a property overrun with these pests.

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Planted next to a ‘Jack Frost’ Brunnera, adds some contrast to this mini

For my post on a hosta nursery, go to Happy Hollow-Hosta Mecca to see more varieties or Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

Gnomes on the Loose

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The gnome on the left is a fishing gnome and the gnome on the right was supposed to be carrying an egg

 

One of my most popular posts on The Garden Diaries was Gnome Home, and has gotten more hits than any other post except for Decorating the White House, so I know that they are popular!  When I started decorating the Baltimore Symphony Show House this spring, I was delighted to find two old gnomes still kicking around in the basement of this house that was built in the 1920’s. Bringing them out in the light of the day, I set them up next to the fairy garden which I created on a mossy hill. The larger gnome above has an inscription “Made In Germany” so I knew that I had some authentic gnomes, made in Germany where they originated.

Fairy garden in a mossy setting
Fairy garden in a mossy setting

Gnome Origins

fishing gnome

Garden gnomes go way back to 1870’s Germany where they were first sculpted out of clay by Phillip Griebel, a sculptor of terra-cotta animals, in the town of Graefenroda. Gnome legends were very popular in Germany and Griebel made Gnome statues that spread throughout Europe. They are still being made there today by Phillip Griebel’s descendants and knowing that, I just am dying to go there. I would love to see their birthplace! You can tour their production facilities and see their informative museum. To see pictures, go to http://gardengnomeshome.com/gnome-directory/gartenzwerg-museum.

Philip Griebel produced gnomes based on local myths about the gnomes’ willingness to help in the garden at night. The garden gnome quickly spread across Germany and into France and England, and wherever gardening was a serious hobby.

Mickey Mouse gnomes?
Mickey Mouse gnomes?

 Just to check on the authenticity of the basement gnomes, I emailed Reinhard Griebel in Grafenroda, Germany and sent a picture of the found gnomes. He confirmed that they were in fact made in Germany and the little guy was still in production.

Fairy garden at the show house was the perfect spot to place the old gnomes
Fairy garden at the show house was the perfect spot to place the old gnomes

Controversial Gnomes

Garden Gnomes are not without their controversy, and were banned from the high-class Chelsea Flower Show until just 2013. Accused of garden snobbery, Chelsea lifted their ban, caving to pressure, and started to allow these popular garden sculptures. Serious gardeners don’t seem to appreciate these cute creatures, so I guess that makes me an amateur gardener!

German gnome, by Wikipedia
German gnome, by Wikipedia

Also, gnomes are the subject of pranks, called gnoming, which is the return of gnomes to the “wild”. Many gnomes have been “liberated” or “kidnapped”, sent on trips around the world, and have become quite famous.  The best known example was a kidnapped gnome taken from a garden in California, and it ended up being photographed with Paris Hilton  in People magazine. These antics just add to the “tongue in cheek” appreciation of gnomes for me. I enjoy that people can have fun with gardening and gardening tchotchkes. There are many clubs and organizations dedicated to the prank of gnoming.

Protest Gnome from wikipedia
Protest Gnome from wikipedia

The best-known of these is the Garden Gnome Liberation Front. Their website is hilarious and says that, “For too long we have let our neighbors usurp the rights of these gentle woodland creatures“. They entreat people to report any gnome in captivity! Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaEh8EABR-s to watch a moving video.

Polish Gnomes

The hot spot of gnomes is Poland. More gnomes are made in Poland and China than anywhere else on the planet, even in Germany. In the Wieliczka Salt Mine, called the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland, gnomes were carved underground out of salt.

Gnomes in Kunegunda Shaft Bottom of the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, photo by Adam Kumiszcza
Gnomes in Kunegunda Shaft Bottom of the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, photo by Adam Kumiszcza

Popular in Polish folklore, in Wroclaw Poland, gnome statues dot the city everywhere and have become a major tourist attraction. A legion of little people cast out of metals, are ubiquitous – in doorways, alleyways, and street corners, but easy to miss because of their size. You can actually do a tour of these gnomes which number over 250, and they have become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, more so than the magnificent cathedral.

Gnomes in Wroclaw Poland from Wikipedia
Gnomes in Wroclaw Poland from Wikipedia

gnome

For directions on making your own Gnome Home, go to Home Sweet Gnome

Tutorial on making a gnome home
Tutorial on making a gnome home
Broken pot garden by Cathy Strate at http://www.fleamarketgardening.org/2013/07/16/fairy-garden-magic/
Broken pot garden by Cathy Strate at http://www.fleamarketgardening.org/2013/07/16/fairy-garden-magic/

Below is another of my broken pot gardens in a much wider pot to give you a totally different look.

Broken pot garden for a gnome
Broken pot garden for a gnome

Happy Gnoming!!

Lights, Camera, Action! Philadelphia Flower Show, Part 2

Japanese miniature garden
Japanese miniature garden

Mini Landscapes

My favorite part of the Philadelphia Flower Show is always the mini landscapes and settings. There is something about the attention to detail and scale that has always attracted me.

Top prize for mini landscapes went to the outstanding Japanese garden above which really inspired me to create one just like it, as I already have a Japanese dollhouse from when I was little. They would go perfect together!

Mini garden with colorful Begonias
Mini garden with colorful Begonias
Mini garden with gazebo
Mini garden with gazebo
Log cabin in the woods mini garden
Log cabin in the woods mini garden
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This musical mini landscape was planted in a guitar!

 

My favorite mini garden from last year
My favorite mini garden from last year

Closeup of the easel and painting

 

People young and old enjoy these miniature landscapes, and I had a full house when I did my “Tinkerbelle and Beyond” demo of miniature gardens with a very happy helper.

 

My helper created a complete fairy setting  and took it home to enjoy
My helper created a complete fairy setting and took it home to enjoy
Doing my demo at the Gardeners Studio on miniature gardens
Doing my demo at the Gardeners Studio on miniature gardens

Miniature Settings

Waiting in a long line to view the miniature settings, I could see people bend down to get a better view in front of the viewing window and exclaim with delight. The line moved slowly because of the amount of detail to absorb and the pictures to take.

Winning exhibit for drama
Winning exhibit for drama
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The setting for Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ was the blue ribbon winner in the drama category

 

For a great blog on the techniques used to set these up, go to Flower Show Miniature Settings. The people who put these together go to a lot of work in ageing their  objects so that they don’t appear brand spanking new, with scratching, color washes, and even eye shadow! The Alfred Hitchcock setting was put together with sheets of cut polystyrene.

People who take on the job of creating these work on them for months, literally starting as soon as the current flower show is over.

Enchanted April setting
Enchanted April setting
Little shop of Horrors
Little shop of Horrors

With only two classes, drama and fantasy, and five exhibits in each, these settings drew a lot of viewers to see the interpretations of the movies along with of course-Plants!! A variety of plants were used – succulents, cactus, tiny house plants and even seedlings. I read on the blog, Flower Show Miniature Settings, that people have learned to use fast growing seeds, like cat grass, chia, or turf grass to add instant greenery.

E.T. miniature setting
E.T. miniature setting

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Gone With the Wind
Gone With the Wind
Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty

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Hollywood Goes to the Dogs
Hollywood Goes to the Dogs

 The Philadelphia Flower Show ends on Sunday, March 7, so you still have time to go see it. Go to The Flower Show for more information about tickets and times.

Miniature Gardening in the Winter

Mini gardenMini Gardens 

I am a garden designer by trade and normally design gardens in full size, but also love to design gardens in miniature- especially in the winter when I am housebound. There is something unique about creating a complete space in small scale that is so satisfying and fun!  I can have garden features that I have only dreamed about – like a bridge over a dry stream bed, mossy nooks and crannies, arbors, and birdhouses just like I was creating a larger space.

A fairy garden in the landscape
A fairy garden in the landscape

I can enjoy a tiny gazing ball- but at a fraction of the cost of a full size version. It seems like more nurseries are catering to this gardening trend and it isn’t hard to find small scale plants and miniatures, even in the dead of winter.

Fairy garden accessories
Fairy garden accessories

Containers

I think the hardest part of creating mini gardens is finding the appropriate container.  A shallow wide open container is desirable but hard to find.  That is why I make a lot of my own with hypertufa. Use my recipe to make your own container at  Hypertufa.

Try making your hypertufa in a basket mold. After the mixture sets, cut off the basket and peel it off the hypertufa. The basket weave leaves great indentations in the cement.

If that is too much trouble, then use shallow ceramic or wooden containers with drainage holes. But occasionally I discover a perfect pottery container in my travels and grab it. Bonsai pots are excellent if you can find them.

Bonsai containers make perfect miniature garden containers
Bonsai containers make perfect miniature garden containers

Planting

A shallow boat shaped container found at a fabric store!

Planting DIY

After choosing the perfect container, fill it up about 2/3 of the way with some good loose potting soil.  Notice that I recommend good potting soil.  An organic one with lots of peat is the best mix even though you might pay a few more bucks a bag. Arrange your plants, usually 3 to 5 of them in an interesting design. Use creeping ones, as well as taller ones like small grasses and different colors to give variety. Make sure you have room for a meandering pathway and small areas to place your accessories.

Fill shallow container with soil
Arrange your small plants with different textures and colors in the bowl.

Suggested Plants

Use naturally miniature plants that are in scale with a tiny garden.  I use ajugas, alternethera, small grasses, creeping thymes, sedums, sempervivums, mosses, silver falls, trailing rosemary, wire vine, mini liriope, and miniature alpines, like armeria. The plants will eventually outgrow your garden, so you need to refresh and edit the garden periodically. If my thyme or ajuga gets out of hand, I dig it up, separate and use the extras to make a new garden.

Use a variety of plants, including some blooming ones
Use a variety of plants, including some blooming ones

After planting your selections, I take moistened sheet moss and press it in between the plants to cover the soil. This covering gives you a base to place your stepping stones and other accessories. It also prevents the soil from coming loose and overflowing the container when you water.

Choose some round polished stones for a pathway
Create a pathway with stones

After creating a pathway, I like to scatter coarse aquarium gravel around the stones to give them definition. As a last flourish, scatter small bits of beach glass or ‘mermaid tears’ to make the path stand out.

Scattered coarse gravel
Crushed colored beach glass

Accessories

Here is the fun part! I am always on the lookout on my travels for small pieces to use in my gardens and you can find them in the most unexpected places.  Christmas decorations are a surprising rich source. I find lots of miniature gardening tools and watering cans at Christmas as ornaments.

Gnome home, go to https://thegardendiaries.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/happy-gnoming-home-for-a-gnome/
Gnome home, go to https://thegardendiaries.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/happy-gnoming-home-for-a-gnome/

Don’t worry that the piece will not be the exact scale for your garden  –  no one is measuring! Just make sure that you don’t clutter the garden up too much, so use only two or three minis. I love using miniature wheel barrows with a tiny terra cotta pot or a bird house on a stake. Small resin animals, twig arbors, fences, miniature benches or chairs add to the charm. These make a perfect gift for someone who is housebound and cannot garden outdoors.

Mini with accessories

Care

Use a mister to water your garden every 4 to 5 days, and more if the container is in the sun.  Use small trimmers to keep everything pruned to scale. As the plants grow, you will need to pot them out to another container and replace with a new miniature plant.  The gravel or crushed shells will need to be refreshed periodically.  I have been successful with keeping my gardens both indoors and outdoors.  Usually, I place my gardens in partial sun outdoors during the summer and bring them indoors for the winter, keeping it on a windowsill with bright light.

Planted garden with accessories
Planted garden
Planted garden

Miniature Christmas Garden Craze

 

Globe terrarium
Globe terrarium
Globe terrarium sitting on a Hopkins desk top
Globe terrarium sitting on a Hopkins desk top

Maybe it is just me. Since I had an order for 40 of my miniature gardens as gifts at the local Johns Hopkins for the staff of one of the hospitals, I am going crazy with Christmas decorating in miniature. Instead of  dreaming about sugarplums, I’m dreaming of miniature gardens in an endless line that I am decorating! I love making these small creations that people can enjoy for months to come.

I love this little footed terrarium for tiny scenes
I love this little footed terrarium for tiny scenes

For my popular posts on making miniature gardens, go to Miniature Gardens-Whimisical Creations, Fairy Gardens, and Fairytale Christmas.

Mini garden with gnome
Mini garden with gnome

It merely takes a small glass terrarium container, bonsai pot, or low terra cotta container and you can make your own. For materials, I use small Christmas balls, reindeer moss, miniatures, sheet moss, and small potted plants from a local nursery. I use either woodland plants for a moist container or succulents for a drier one.

Gnome home
Gnome home

For details on making gnome homes in a cut away pot, go to Gnome Home.  You need to cut a chunk out of a terra cotta pot to create this and I give you instructions on how to cut the pot.

Woodland garden
Woodland garden
Mini succulent garden
Mini succulent garden
A succulent container that you would keep on the dry side
A succulent container that you would keep on the dry side
A woodland Christmas scene that you would water a little more
A woodland Christmas scene that you would water a little more

All of the plants will get much larger and can be kept in bounds for at least a year. Transplanting and replanting would be in order when the plants grow too large for the container and you could keep the planter going for several years or more.

Christmas miniature garden
A larger Christmas garden
I used this Christmas tree ornament for a tiny snowman
I used this Christmas tree ornament for a tiny snowman

Step By Step

Step by step for making miniature gardens
Step by step for making miniature gardens
  • Place potting soil in container with drainage: Alternatively, if you have a glass type terrarium, place gravel in bottom with some horticultural charcoal ( few tablespoons, available at garden centers)

  •  Plant a variety of plants with different textures and colors, starting with the largest ones first; I used from 3 to 5 plants for each small garden

  • If a woodland garden, I like to place moss in between the plants to hide soil; If a succulent garden, place small gravel on surface

  • Place any pathways, ornaments, reindeer moss, or gnomes at the very end; I like to use colored glass chunks for added color

  • Water thoroughly until the soil is saturated and place in a filtered sun spot for woodland scenes and full sun for succulent ones

  • For care, I stick my finger down into the soil to see if it is moist or not; For succulent gardens in the winter water every few weeks, and for woodland ones, water about once a week, depending on how warm and dry your house is

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Mini gardens dropped off at  Johns Hopkins
Mini gardens dropped off at Johns Hopkins

Happy Gnoming!-Home for a Gnome

Home for a gnome out of a broken clay pot
Home for a gnome out of a broken clay pot

Broken clay pot gnome gardens are one of my favorites to create and people love seeing those little gnomes getting the perfect home. One of my most popular posts on The Garden Diaries was Gnome Home over a year ago, and has gotten more hits than any other post except for Decorating the White House, so I know that they are popular!  This time, I thought I would delve deeper into the origin and history of gnomes and I came up with a few surprises.

Gnome Origins

Garden gnomes go way back to 1870’s Germany where they were first sculpted out of clay by Phillip Griebel, a sculptor of terra-cotta animals, in the town of Graefenroda. Gnome legends were very popular in Germany and Griebel made Gnome statues that spread throughout Europe. They are still being made there today by Phillip Griebel’s descendants and knowing that, I just added a stop on my planned Germany trip. I would love to see their birthplace! You can tour their production facilities and see their informative museum. To see pictures, go to http://gardengnomeshome.com/gnome-directory/gartenzwerg-museum.

Controversial Gnomes

Garden Gnomes are not without their controversy, and were banned from the high-class Chelsea Flower Show until just 2013. Accused of garden snobbery, Chelsea lifted their ban, caving to pressure, and started to allow these popular garden sculptures. Serious gardeners don’t seem to appreciate these cute creatures, so I guess that makes me an amateur gardener!

Also, gnomes are the subject of pranks, called gnoming, which is the return of gnomes to the “wild”. Many gnomes have been “liberated” or “kidnapped”, sent on trips around the world, and have become quite famous.  The best known example was a kidnapped gnome taken from a garden in California, and it ended up being photographed with Paris Hilton  in People magazine. These antics just add to the “tongue in cheek” appreciation of gnomes for me. I enjoy that people can have fun with gardening and gardening tchotchkes. There are many clubs and organizations dedicated to the prank of gnoming.

The best-known of these is the Garden Gnome Liberation Front. Their website is hilarious and says that, “For too long we have let our neighbors usurp the rights of these gentle woodland creatures“. They entreat people to report any gnome in captivity! Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaEh8EABR-s to watch a moving video.

Polish Gnomes

The hot spot of gnomes is Poland. More gnomes are made in Poland and China than anywhere else on the planet, even in Germany. In the Wieliczka Salt Mine, called the Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland, gnomes were carved underground out of salt.

Gnomes in Kunegunda Shaft Bottom of the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, photo by Adam Kumiszcza
Gnomes in Kunegunda Shaft Bottom of the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland, photo by Adam Kumiszcza

Popular in Polish folklore, in Wroclaw Poland, gnome statues dot the city everywhere and have become a major tourist attraction. A legion of little people cast out of metals, are ubiquitous – in doorways, alleyways, and street corners, but easy to miss because of their size. You can actually do a tour of these gnomes which number over 250, and they have become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, more so than the magnificent cathedral.

Continue reading “Happy Gnoming!-Home for a Gnome”

Terrarium DIY-Scenes Under Glass

An assortment of terrariums that are easy to make
An assortment of terrariums that are easy to make

Every year around this time, with the outdoors looking so gloomy and bare, I am starving to see something blooming and growing in my house.  Christmas decorating is just a memory and the Philadelphia Flower Show is still not here yet! To satisfy my urge to garden I turn to terrariums.  Terrariums are easy to create using the right plants and containers.

The preparation is simple for a terrarium, similar to making a layered salad in a bowl.

To see directions on making a beach scene terrarium, go to my post at Beach Scene Terrarium.

Beach succulent terrarium tutorial
Beach succulent terrarium tutorial

Step by Step Directions

I like to use decorative rocks such as geodes and crystals in terrariums
I like to use decorative rocks such as geodes and crystals in terrariums
  1. Lay 1 inch of pebbles into base of container
  2. Add 1 T of horticultural charcoal to the bottom layer and mix in

    Horticultural charcoal
    Horticultural charcoal
  3. Add 2 inches of potting soil and tamp lightly, creating hills and valleys for interest
  4. Dig hole in soil; Plant largest plants first and continue with smaller plants
  5. Brush off sand or soil caught on leaves with soft brush
  6. Water plants lightly, trying to wash off any leftover soil on leaves
  7. Carpet the surface of a woodland terrarium with green moss and spray with water lightly, or if doing a succulent terrarium, add play sand or decorative gravel to surface to cover soil
  8. Add accessories; stepping stones, miniatures, decorative rocks, etc., long handled tweezers are helpful
  9. Water the entire terrarium, being careful to not drench plants using a small watering can or meat baster

For a fascinating account of a man in England who has had a terrarium since 1960, and stopped watering it in 1972, go to http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2267504/The-sealed-bottle-garden-thriving-40-years-fresh-air-water.html

His terrarium is still thriving!

Steps for creating a woodland terrarium
Steps for creating a woodland terrarium

Care

  • Place woodland terrariums in filtered light and if covered, water infrequently by first checking soil moistness with finger
  • If woodland terrarium is open, water every couple of weeks by first testing soil moistness; mist plants for extra humidity
  • For succulent terrariums, place in bright light; water during growing season once a week, and in winter every couple of weeks; do not over saturate the soil!

Containers

Glass containers ready to be planted at Terrain, a nursery/garden center
Glass containers ready to be planted at Terrain, a nursery/garden center

I look for clear glass containers everywhere that I shop.  Tuesday Morning, Target, Crate and Barrel, Michaels, and pet stores are just a few places that have suitable containers. I look for a container that is taller than wide, to provide sufficient room to place growing medium and allow plants room to grow. A lidded container is ideal for those plants that require a moist, humid environment such as ferns and mosses, and for succulents a drier environment is needed, so no lid is required.

Terrarium container ideas
Terrarium container ideas

Drainage

Because terrarium containers have no drainage holes, you need to provide some kind of drainage system. Gravel is the best option, but because the container is a closed system, be very careful of how much you water. Always stick your finger down into the soil to assess how moist it is, before adding water. Excess water will kill off your plants faster than any other kind of neglect. Keep succulents on the dry side but mist your ferns in a woodland container.

Horticulture Charcoal

The addition of horticultural charcoal keeps your soil sweet, absorbs impurities, and improves drainage. Mix in at least a tablespoon to your gravel before adding your soil.

Planting Medium

Use basic potting mix unless you are creating a desert scene with succulents and cacti.  For a desert terrarium, use a potting mix made just for cacti/succulents which has lots of grit and gravel added.

Splitting Up a Plant

Planting

Select from 3 to 5 different small plants that are suitable for terrariums.  Go to http://www.stormthecastle.com/terrarium/terrarium-plants.htm for some helpful hints on plant selections.  I head to a nursery/garden center and look for small plants with interesting leaf shapes, textures, and colors. Be careful to use plants with similar growing needs.  Select both tall and shorter plants for variety.  Arrange your plants in the terrarium until you get a pleasing combination and plant carefully, keeping the soil away from the sides of the terrarium.  Sometimes, I split up my plants to make them a little smaller, saving the extras for another terrarium. Shaking off some of the potting soil, makes the plants fit in better. Finish up with a layer of sheet moss or gravel to hide the soil.

Planting Your terrarium

Accessorize

Add some miniatures like small bird baths,  resin animals, or interesting driftwood or rocks.  For Christmas, I add small glass balls and miniature plastic snowflakes for color. Great sources of miniatures are garden centers that carry fairy accessories, Christmas ornaments, craft stores, and doll house stores or online. I always look at the small villages that stores have set up for Christmas, like Department 56, for unique miniatures that you can landscape your terrarium with.

Ready to Accessorize

For a hands on workshop, creating your own masterpiece, come to the Rawlings Conservatory.

Rawlings Conservatory

Succulent Terrariums-Bring the Beach In

Succulent Beach Terrarium
Succulent Beach Terrarium

If you crave the seaside atmosphere in the middle of winter, create a beach scene in miniature! Succulents are some of the easiest plants in the universe to grow and anyone can put this together to brighten up the dark days of winter.

Here is your supply list:

Clear glass container

Horticultural charcoal (not essential, but suggested)

Horticultural charcoal
Horticultural charcoal

Aquarium gravel

Cactus potting soil-This has better drainage than regular potting soil

2  small succulents

Play sand

Popsicle sticks for fence

Smooth stones for steppers (3)

Small shells

Blue colored decorative rocks for water

Tiny pieces of reindeer moss for seaweed

Miniatures ( I used a small Adirondack chair from Dept 56, wine bottles, wine and cheese tray)

Soft paint brush for brushing sand off succulents

Long tweezers to place accessories

Beach terrarium tutorial
Beach terrarium tutorial

  • Select a good-sized container, I used one 12″ x 8″, with straight sides
  • Lay a 1 inch layer of gravel
  • Mix in a handful of charcoal; this keeps the soil from turning smelly
  • Add about 2 inches of cactus soil, making hills and valleys to give the scene more interest
  • Plant the two succulents, watering lightly
  • Add a top layer of sand to cover soil
  • Brush off any sand with the soft paint brush, watering lightly again
  • Place and press into the sand the three smooth rocks
  • Add decorative blue rocks for water; I used crushed up and dyed mother of pearl
  • Add the rest of your accessories; break popsicle sticks and stick in the sand for a fence, add your miniatures, using the tweezers

    Using tweezers to place minis in beach terrarium
    Using tweezers to place minis in beach terrarium
  • Add tiny seashells and tiny tendrils of moss for seaweed to the water area
  • Set in a sunny window and enjoy!
Another Succulent terrarium
Another Succulent terrarium

If you like this blog, please take a minute and nominate my blog for the first Annual bloggers award at Better Homes and Gardens at http://www.bhg.com/blogs/better-homes-and-gardens-style-blog/bhg-blogger-awards/ Many thanks!!

Fairytale Christmas

It seems that Christmas decorating goes hand in hand with miniature gardening. For the frustrated gardener who looks outside and there is snow on the ground, there are lots of indoor gardening options.

Miniature Railroad Gardens

Trains in a miniature train garden landscape with real plants
Trains in a miniature train garden landscape with real plants

Train gardens, miniature landscapes, or edible gingerbread ones, are great subjects for using your gardening and landscaping skills to make the holidays come alive. You can’t garden outdoors, so the next best thing is to garden on your windowsill.

When I make my gingerbread house each year, it usually has a garden theme.  I have done potting sheds, farm scenes, three little pigs, Hagrid’s house with his pumpkin patch, and topiary gardens. I saw some good examples of landscaped Gingerbread houses at The Festival of Trees this year.

Gingerbread farm
Gingerbread farm
Gingerbread house with garden
Gingerbread house with garden

fairy gardens

Mini train garden at Philadelphia Flower Show
Mini train garden at Philadelphia Flower Show

Train gardens are fun to put together with live plants, or make use of the life-like colored foam for bushes and trees… a lot less care!

Basket Gardens

After spotting a Christmas miniature garden at a local nursery, I was inspired to create some fairy gardens as Christmas presents, but on a smaller scale. Shopping for plants, buying little miniatures, flaky snow, gravel, and moss was fun, but the best part was putting them together. Go to my post on basket gardens for Christmas at Mini Garden in a Basket for the ultimate gift for a gardener. For miniatures, I search the Christmas ornament aisles at a local craft store. I found this perfectly scaled snow man for a garden.

Garden in a Basket
Garden in a Basket
Mini snow man
Mini snow man

Dish Gardens

I love the dish gardens decorated for Christmas with balls, glittery gravel, and mini Christmas trees. When Christmas is over, you can remove these things and substitute spring miniatures to get you ready for spring. I replace with bird baths, benches, tiny turtles and frogs, and watering cans.

Mini dish Christmas garden
Mini dish Christmas garden

Box Gardens

The hardest part is finding a wide shallow container, and in searching for the perfect container, I spied clementine boxes and found them the right size for a small landscape. Look for the wooden ones- not cardboard. Already prepped with drainage holes in the bottom, the only thing left was to remove some labels off the ends, and cover all four sides with hot-glued sheet moss. I have had one of these planted for about 2 years, so they do hold up.

Mini garden in clementine box
Mini garden in clementine box

The big box stores are full of small houseplants for landscaping. Sometimes, I buy a larger multiple plant and split it up among different gardens. The pink polka dot plant in the right hand corner and the mini sheffalaria on the left are some of my favorites. The polka dot gives foliage color and the sheffalaria gives some height for the garden. The above garden also has a miniature conifer, a seedling lavender, and a creeping ajuga. As these plants grow, I will trim them back to keep them neat and tidy. In the summer, I will transplant the lavender and ajuga as they outgrow the space, to the outdoor garden and fill in the box garden with something else. These mini gardens are not static and need to have plants trimmed or reused somewhere else, to keep them maintained to a miniature size.

Bird Bath Gardens

Mini garden in bird bath
Mini garden in bird bath

Bird baths are a great opportunity to plant mini gardens in the winter also. I saw this example at a local nursery.

Globe Gardens

For the gardening challenged, these enclosed globe gardens are perfect! Low maintenance,  and they last for months and months with minimal care. Hang them up in a window with fishing line so you can enjoy them. Go to Green Up Your Winter With a Terrarium to see some more examples of terrariums and how to create a unique one.

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More Ideas

Go to Creating Fairy Gardens for more ideas on dish, outdoor gardens, and terrariums.

Dish garden with gnome
Dish garden with gnome

For directions on Gnome Homes, go to Home for a Gnome.

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