Sunday, August 10, 2014

Miniature Gardening: Part 3 -- Step-by-Step Procedure

Gardening in miniature can be as challenging as designing a full-sized garden; proportion and scale, elements of garden design, and sustainability all need to be considered. -- Janit Calvo

I posted about my fascination with fairy gardens last November in Miniature Gardening: Part 1 and Miniature Gardening: Part 2 - Book Reviews. You can click on the titles of these two postings to read them. Now I am happy to show you my first two creations. To be accurate, I can't take all the credit, because I had considerable help from my grandson, Jon. We decided to make one mini garden in a container, and one in a garden bed.

The container I chose was intended for storing a water hose, but I was using it for my miniature hosta collection. As we were going to put the hostas in the fairy gardens, I removed them from the container and scrubbed it out. The container had a hole in the bottom -- I think it was drilled by H.H. when I made it into a planter. Here is the procedure:

1. Jon covered the drainage hole with a piece of weed block. Or you could use a coffee filter.

 2. Add about two inches of a drainage layer such as pea gravel or broken pieces of terra cotta pots. Jon used pebbles and crushed rock which I washed in hot water first to prevent insect and disease problems.

3. Jon added a high quality potting mix until it reached one inch from the rim of the planter. If you want to keep the potting mix 'sweet' you can add horticultural charcoal. You need at least 3 inches of mix to support the plants' root systems. (I'm glad Jon wore his gardening gloves to handle the potting mix.)

 4. The next step is the hardscaping. Jon decided to create a creek with shiny, marble-like pebbles. He placed them on top of a strip of weed block fabric, so they wouldn't wash into the soil when it rained.

He placed a bridge over the stream.

5. My favorite step was adding plants. We planted three miniature hostas, some lamium, and sedum. Jon carefully placed moss to cover all the bare spots. You will see we used shade-loving plants as they are located in the shade garden.

 Using a similar method, with weed block fabric and marble chips, he made a path from the bridge to an arbor.

He positioned a fairy under the arbor and a birdhouse near the bridge to complete the theme.

 6. Finally, watering and caring for the miniature garden. Use a water can with a fine spray, being careful not to overwater. You don't need to use fertilizer as you don't want the plants to grow too fast.

The completed garden.

 We made a second fairy garden in the 'grass garden' bed ...

 Legends tells us that fairy voices echo within the gentle whispers of a breeze, their faces peer at us from the trunks of gnarled old trees, and the ripples of an otherwise still pond are nothing more than fairies playing. -- Betty Earl

Later, I placed a mirror behind the first garden. It is really lovely now the hostas are blooming.


Miniature hosta.

As the sedum grew, I trained it up and over the arbor ....  

 A love of miniature gardening is contagious. My friend Katharine decided to try it, too. She sent me the picture I placed at the beginning of this posting. She is very excited about her project and is planning to add more plants. She made the fence out of popsicle sticks. The next picture shows a wide view of her sweet fairy garden ....

Another friend, Karen, gave me a miniature bench, some paving stones, and a fence as a hostess gift recently (what a great gift!) so I have more fairy gardens planned. I have to pick up a couple more supplies, and wait until my grandson's next visit before proceeding. Look for Part 4 in the near future.

Miniature gardening is that sweet spot where craft and gardening intersect at such an intimately creative place; it can spur your imagination like no other hobby. -- Janit Calvo

It is so much fun! I recommend you try it!

Pamela x

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  1. Such wonderful, magical little gardens, I love them. I think Jon must have green fingers.

  2. love to see you passing the gardening genes in practice on to your grandson!

  3. Pam, I concur with lovely to include your grandson. I have a wide planter with miniature hostas that I wanted to do something perhaps I can find a few little accoutrements.

  4. How cute, the gardens and Jon. A little life-long gardener in the making...

  5. Bravo, Jon!
    Pam, thank you so much for showing the process step by step. What fun!

  6. What a great job, I'm impressed with how well it looked just after planting and then even after growing in a bit. Really nice, and what a great project to work on together!

  7. Such a fun post! I hadn't heard of this before. Thanks for sharing. By the way, my good friend went to Iceland in April. She said the people there have fairy houses in their yards, the way we would have bird houses.

  8. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing the idea. So inspiring.

  9. So great, and what a fun project to do with your grandson! Great instructions - I definitely have to do this with my kids at some point!

  10. Your fairy gardens are wonderful! I have one too, but not nearly as elaborate as yours. Love yours!!!

  11. How lovely! I love your shade garden with the miniature hostas, they are the perfect scale! Which sedum did you use to grow up the arbour?
    It's spring here and I'm looking forward to starting my own miniature garden! I'll start with one container, but I imagine it will be hard to leave it at just one :)

  12. Do you take your garden buildings etc in for the winter?