I love this book. Hardly unusual since I am a sucker for miniature gardens. It could be my Irish heritage and stories of the wee people. Or maybe I was obsessed with dollhouses as a child. Not sure why and really don’t care. This book is full of beauty in pictures and words. Even better, it has illustrated how-to’s so that any of us can be successful in a small way.
I don’t know where to start so I will start where Katie started, in Part 1 with some design concepts. Katie says, “The principles you’re going to learn come straight from ‘regular’ gardening and landscaping. We’re just going to apply them to small-scale landscapes.” Scale is first on her list. I think this is the hardest to achieve in a miniature landscape, getting the right heights and widths to make a pleasing small garden ‘scape.
Once you learn the basics of design, go on to the next chapters. Learn how to choose the best plants for an indoor or outdoor garden. Containers, accessories, and how to grow a mini garden all follow. She even has a section on how to make your own mini-accessories. One of my favorites is a darling mini cottage made from an unfinished little craft house and developed into a fairy garden house by adding a roof of pinecone scales, siding from birch bark, and lichens added to the roof to give a sense of age.
In Part 2 Katie has Miniature and Fairy Garden projects you can copy for both indoor and outdoor gardens. One of my favorites (and favorites isn’t a strong enough word) is the Mini-Kitchen Garden ina rustic vine basket. I confess I have made fairy gardens in the past but never even thought to make a vegetable garden. What a unique idea. Katie has a list of everything you need plus detailed systematic photo instructions.
You can be a favored parent or grandparent. Miniature and fairy gardens are just the thing for children’s and grandchildren’s activities. Pull them away from their Legos and computer games long enough to get them some sunshine outdoors. What child wouldn’t love to put together a Zombie garden or a dinosaur garden? Zombies not your little princess’ cup of tea? Put together a garden with table and chairs on a tiny patio and accessorize it right down to the pink teacup.
Part 3 in the back of the book highlights plants that will do well in the confined miniature garden space. Katie recommends using plants in 1-inch pots. Some will take to pruning to keep them in bounds, much as you would care for a bonsai. Some will grow too large to stay in their little garden. Just move them to a larger pot and fill in with a new tiny plant. If you like small things, you will love this book as much as I do.
Look for tips from Katie in her article Terrarium and Aeirum Care in this newsletter and at Gardensmart.com.
Miniature Gardens by Katie Elzer-Peters published by Cool Springs Press, 2014, ISBN 978-59186-575-9. Available at bookstores and online nationwide.
Note: This book was sent to me for review. It is already showing signs of wear.
All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.
By Justin Hancock, Monrovia Horticultural Craftsman
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia
Labor Day may represent summer’s unofficial close but now is a perfect opportunity to add late-summer perennials that will continue to beautify your landcare until fall arrives. click here for an article that identifies 9 perennials for late summer.
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