Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Gardening in Tinyland - my miniature garden

 This summer I planted a new garden, on a slightly different scale than my normal one. This is a miniature garden in a pot. All the plants are living, but by using miniature and small scale plants and combining them with tiny accessories, you can create the illusion of a complete garden within a very small space!

I was inspired after reading Janit Calvo's book, Gardening in Miniature. I've always loved tiny things and as soon as I realised it was possible to garden on a miniature scale I knew I had to get in on it. This garden was about a year in the planning, but was paved and planted in an afternoon! 

I used leftover tiles from our fireplace for the paving stones. I used a hammer and chisel to chip them into roughly rounded paving stone shapes. I set them on a bed of sand and then swept Pavelock sand between them to hold them in place.

 You can see how much the plants have filled in during the 2 months since I planted it! The plants I used are:
Tree - Irish Yew. Not really a miniature, but it's slow growing and I hope I can prune it to keep it small. I actually cut about half of the tree off when I planted it so it no longer has its distinctive conifer shape. I also trimmed the lowest branches off to expose the trunk. I'm not sure how long the branches will grow but perhaps a bit of selective pruning will enhance them. Don't you love the red berries for autumn colour!
Groundcover - creeping thyme. Small leafed and low growing.
The pink flowered shrub is Serissa Pink Mystique. I've seen it trained as bonsai so I thought it would go well in this tiny garden. I'll keep it trimmed to large bush scale, I think it looks like hibiscus or rhododendron.
To the left of the yew tree at the back is a miniature fuchsia called Lottie Hobby. I bought it years ago (this is a cutting) and it has tiny flowers the size of your pinky nail. It grows quite vigorously so I intend to keep it trimmed to a small tree scale.
The neat round bush just behind the two terracotta pots is Calluna. It's a true miniature form of Erica that I got from the alpine plants show. The stallholder I bought it from said it won't grow much bigger than that - perfect! It has the most delicate tiny foliage.
And to the left of the calluna is leptinella. This is a groundcover with tiny fernlike leaves. 
Succulent cuttings last well in the pots - just don't forget to water them occasionally!

 Once I had the garden planted up it was time to start making accessories. Overseas, mini and fairy gardening is a fast developing hobby and big industry but not so much here in NZ (although a few people have heard of fairy gardens). I managed to source a few furniture items but I made most of the garden accessories myself, including the hanging bird feeder, birdhouse, solar lights and hanging lantern.

I even made this fish pond! I actually wanted some kind of ceramic or polyresin one that could hold real water, but couldn't find one. So I made this one out of a small metal pie dish, coated with clay and painted to look like stone. I put some gravel and rocks in the dish and poured in a layer of resin. Then I added a tiny koi fish and poured in another layer of resin so the little fish is suspended. It looks pretty good I think, and you can still 'float' leaves or flowers on the surface.

 There is a lady here in Christchurch who has a dolls house miniatures business and I sourced a few items from her, including the mini teracotta pots and the birds nest. I got the metal wheelbarrow from a fellow mini garden enthusiast and knew I had to make some gardening items to go with it. So I made the little crochet hat and the garden gloves, and this wooden trug full of spring bulbs (must get these planted out for tiny blooms in spring! ;)

 Hope you've enjoyed this peek into my tinyland garden! Have you heard of miniature gardening before, or tried it yourself? (For more information have a look at Janit Calvo's book or excellent website, Two Green Thumbs.)



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