Gardens don't have to be sprawling labyrinths of greenery. In fact, small-scale flower and plant gardens, whether they are indoors or outdoors, can be sources of great pleasure. In this festive pictorial, award-winning miniature gardener Janit Calvo intertwines talents with Portland Monthly gardening columnist and photographer Kate Baldwin. Carefully laid plans to create your own tiny garden; editor's recommendation.
Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living Worldby Janit Calvo, Kate Baldwin (Photographer)
Get ready to journey into the huge world of growing small!
The next garden trend combines the joy of gardening with the magic of miniatures. Gardening in Miniature is a complete guide to creating lush, living, small-scale gardens. It has everything you need to pick up this new hobby, including scaled down garden designs, techniques for/i>/b>
Get ready to journey into the huge world of growing small!
The next garden trend combines the joy of gardening with the magic of miniatures. Gardening in Miniature is a complete guide to creating lush, living, small-scale gardens. It has everything you need to pick up this new hobby, including scaled down garden designs, techniques for creating tiny hardscapes, miniature garden care and maintenance, tips on choosing containers, how to buy the right plants, and where to find life-like accessories. Inspiring step-by-step projects feature basic skills that can be recreated in any number of designs, like a tiny patio, a trellis, a pond, and a secret garden.
Whether you want to build a miniature empire in your garden bed or design a private garden with a pebble patio for an indoor centerpiece, Gardening in Miniature is the primer for creating your own tiny, living world.
“Miniature Gardening is a magical option for the gardener with limited yard space. This book will position well anyone who wants to begin creating a little world filled with happy growing things.” —Publishers Weekly “It will draw beginning and experienced practitioners to this whimsical hobby as art.” —Booklist “Adorable. . . . A pleasant escape that allows [one] to not just imagine a carefree and fanciful world, but also to build and experience it, too.” —Country Living “After reading this book, I came away even more inspired to create my own miniature garden. Beautiful examples of tiny gardens along with easy-to-follow directions. . . . are all included in this helpful book.” —Birds & Blooms “A pleasant escape that allows [one] to not just imagine a carefree and fanciful world, but also to build and experience it, too.” —Philadelphia Inquirer “The author lays out how we might invent Lilliputian versions of our own lives so that we might imagine inhabiting this or that little Eden of our own devising, lovely and perfect little places where all the things we love best in the world could be bound—perhaps even literally—in a nutshell.” —BookPage
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Read an Excerpt
Good Things Come in Small Gardens: An Introduction
What is it that draws the heart and eye to things smaller than real life? Perhaps the fact that anything miniature reminds us of play. After all, our childhood toys were our first miniatures. Whether they were Lincoln Logs, Legos, Barbies, G.I. Joes, or other kinds of dolls, our toys were always miniature versions of us or other parts of our lives. We projected ourselves into the scene and got lost in the small version of our world, exactly how we liked it. Those positive feelings of play and laughter were—and still are—vital to our happiness, and when we see miniatures and remember our fun, carefree playtimes, we feel that way again.
The sense of wonder that comes over us can be quite potent. When you are the writer and director, creating the story, setting the scene, and placing the props, you bring that innocent pleasure into your adult life under the guise of a hobby. But really, hobbies just give us permission to play again.
Many miniaturists are enamored with the idea of anything small because miniatures are a part of our history. The oldest known human artifact is a diminutive replica of the female form, the Venus of Hohle Fels, dated between 35,000 and 40,000 B.C. This tiny sculpture is just under two and a half inches tall. Dollhouse miniature themes are often a memory from childhood, a place visited in the past, or a love of a specific historical period. It is noteworthy that the main themes of dollhouse miniatures and model railroads are historical, reminding us of a simpler time. Model or garden railroading takes us on a journey through a specific landscape that is either a historical model, or comes from the creator’s mind. You can’t help but imagine yourself in the scene.
This passion for miniatures has found its way into other aspects of our lives as well. Live, miniature-sized horses and dogs have long been popular; now you can own miniature cows and goats, too. Then there was the fleeting fad of teacup (tiny) pigs a few years ago. It turned out they were just very young piglets, being sold as a miniature breed. Fantasy games are full of pint-sized versions of characters that players collect. The horticultural industry has kept up with this interest as well, breeding tiny vegetables that can easily be grown from seed. Dwarf and miniature forms of our favorite trees, shrubs, and perennials have been discovered over the last few decades and are now found in most garden centers.
From that initial spark comes the challenge of figuring out how to perfect the illusion—resizing from big to small in flawless scale, hunting for and utilizing believable materials, mastering techniques that will both trick and delight the eye. The end reward is seeing a face light up when the viewer experiences the sprinkling of magic that infuses a lovingly made miniature scene.
A miniature garden scene is enchanting because you automatically start building a story about it. You ask yourself, what’s going on here? Who are those chairs for? What kind of party is that little table set for? Are there friends or family coming over? What is the occasion? The imagination starts to fill in the blanks as props lend clues and personality. A tiny stool with a watering can beside it, placed in a small miniature garden vignette, is intriguing because it’s only a scene with no characters—who could it be for besides you?
Gardening is part of our collective psyche even more than our fascination with miniaturization. To blend both—creating gardens in miniature, with living trees, shrubs, bedding plants, water features, furniture, and garden art—is to open up limitless possibilities for bringing dreamscapes, wonderlands, and enchanting places from our past or our imaginations to vibrant life, in no small way.
Once you are bitten by the miniature garden bug, there is no turning back. The possibilities will start to stack up in your head at all hours of the day and night, and there is often a squeal of excitement involved somewhere in this process (it’s okay, just let it out when it happens and explain yourself later—but only if you have to). Do you dream of recreating that garden memory of your year spent in Europe? A vignette taken from your childhood growing up on your grandmother’s farm? Maybe you’ve always wanted your own garden oasis but you live in a condo. Now is the time to dream and scheme!
Meet the Author
Janit Calvo is an artist, miniaturist, writer, gardener, photographer, and entrepreneur. She resides with her husband, Steve; their dog, Kitty; and their cat, Puppy, in a full-size house surrounded by full-size and miniature gardens in Seattle, Washington. Janit started Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center in 2001 because she could not find the right plants; in-scale, realistic accessories; and mini patio material for her new-found hobby. Find her website, Miniature Garden Center Store, and the popular Mini Garden Guru blog at TwoGreenThumbs.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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A must for the gardener's library or any library for that matter. I enjoyed it from cover to cover..
What a wonderful book! The writing is infectious and the photographs are beautiful! This is THEE book on this new hobby. It compares to none, I've checked. Bravo & Encore!
I found this book to be very informative. Janit Calvo gives lots of helpful tips and also gives reasons why this or that would work. I found I didn't want to put it down. I can't wait to use my new learning in my new outside miniature garden.
A lot of pictures, but not as many good or new ideas as I had hoped