All Posts   Posted:   May 12, 2016 by Jennifer Williams (Visual)

We all have a dream garden that exists in our mind, where constraints of the real world don’t hold us back. Mini gardening is a way to create your dream garden, limited only by your imagination.

My dream garden has always involved a treehouse, which can be limited by many factors when dealing with life sized realities but anything is possible in miniature, just ask L.A. based Jedediah Corwyn Voltz who creates fantastically detailed tree houses situated in house plants instead of the forest. These are so lovingly arranged that it’s easy to lose yourself in the illusion.

What’s your dream garden? Maybe you’d like an English style design complete with an intricate arbor, quaint reflective bench and tiny daisies. Or perhaps you’d prefer an urban farm, a beach side getaway, or even a castle . . . the possibilities are endless.

Here are some easy steps to help you on the road to a miniature wonderland

Container: Choose a pot with a low profile and plenty of surface area.  I’ve found a good beginner style is brightly colored square ceramic pots that are available in 7” and 9” sizes but if you’re really feeling inspired to mini-scape your heart out then you’ll want a container that has an 18”-24” opening (plating area).

Plants: Select plants that will be compatible with the amount of sun exposure you have and remember less is more, you want to avoid overcrowding your container because there won’t be any room left for the mini-accessories (arguably the best part). Familiar varieties of plants take on a new life once you begin seeing things on a tiny scale – take the common ground cover Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) it’s the ideal replacement for turf by forming a solid mat of flat, deep green foliage, even though there’s not a blade of grass in sight. Here’s some of my favorite varieties that are flexible about indoor vs. outdoor environments.

  • Some great plants for structural interest are; Dwarf Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticsa’), Wire Netting Bush (Corokia contoneaster) and Dwarf Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa varieties).
  • Dwarf grasses provide a contrast in texture that is great for breaking up foliage; try two of the best evergreen varieties, Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicas ‘Nanus’) is deep green and Dwarf Sweet Flag (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’).
  • My favorite low growing types include; Emerald Cushion (Azorella trifurcata), Kenilworth Ivy (Cymbalaria muralis), and the super dwarf Mat Daisy (Bellium minutum) a bonus with most ground covers is that you can divide most four inch plants into two or three irregular pieces for a more natural look.

Accessorize: Have fun with tiny props, it’s what really makes your garden style shine! Also stick with a consistent scale for size (for example you don’t want your bench to be the same size as the watering can).

Soil: Fill in your container with soil 3” below the edge, then mock-up your plants and accessories to make sure you’re happy with the way they fit together. Bonsai mix is my soil of choice because it has the perfect blend of organic matter and pumice/sand to keep both indoor and outdoor plantings happy.

Steps for Planting: Take plants and accessories back out of the pots to begin planting, remove plastic pot from starts and loosen roots as you plant into your container. Once all the plants are in place fill in around them with more bonsai soil until the soil level is even (about ½ inch from the edge of the container).

Top-dress: With pebbles, sand for pathways, stepping stones/slate to give the appearance of a landscape. You can even use blue pebbles to represent a moat, stream, or pond!

Care: Morning sun, or bright indirect light is preferable sun exposure to keep the low profile pots from drying out in hot afternoon sun, water to keep the soil moist but not soggy! Fertilize with a mild organic liquid fertilizer like kelp for healthy plants and pinch back foliage if it gets too large.

We all have a dream garden that exists in our mind, where constraints of the real world don’t hold us back. Mini gardening is a way to create your dream garden, limited only by your imagination.

My dream garden has always involved a treehouse, which can be limited by many factors when dealing with life sized realities but anything is possible in miniature, just ask L.A. based Jedediah Corwyn Voltz who creates fantastically detailed tree houses situated in house plants instead of the forest. These are so lovingly arranged that it’s easy to lose yourself in the illusion.

What’s your dream garden? Maybe you’d like an English style design complete with an intricate arbor, quaint reflective bench and tiny daisies. Or perhaps you’d prefer an urban farm, a beach side getaway, or even a castle . . . the possibilities are endless.

Here are some easy steps to help you on the road to a miniature wonderland

Container: Choose a pot with a low profile and plenty of surface area.  I’ve found a good beginner style is brightly colored square ceramic pots that are available in 7” and 9” sizes but if you’re really feeling inspired to mini-scape your heart out then you’ll want a container that has an 18”-24” opening (plating area).

Plants: Select plants that will be compatible with the amount of sun exposure you have and remember less is more, you want to avoid overcrowding your container because there won’t be any room left for the mini-accessories (arguably the best part). Familiar varieties of plants take on a new life once you begin seeing things on a tiny scale – take the common ground cover Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) it’s the ideal replacement for turf by forming a solid mat of flat, deep green foliage, even though there’s not a blade of grass in sight. Here’s some of my favorite varieties that are flexible about indoor vs. outdoor environments.

  • Some great plants for structural interest are; Dwarf Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticsa’), Wire Netting Bush (Corokia contoneaster) and Dwarf Hinoki Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa varieties).
  • Dwarf grasses provide a contrast in texture that is great for breaking up foliage; try two of the best evergreen varieties, Dwarf Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicas ‘Nanus’) is deep green and Dwarf Sweet Flag (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’).
  • My favorite low growing types include; Emerald Cushion (Azorella trifurcata), Kenilworth Ivy (Cymbalaria muralis), and the super dwarf Mat Daisy (Bellium minutum) a bonus with most ground covers is that you can divide most four inch plants into two or three irregular pieces for a more natural look.

Accessorize: Have fun with tiny props, it’s what really makes your garden style shine! Also stick with a consistent scale for size (for example you don’t want your bench to be the same size as the watering can).

Soil: Fill in your container with soil 3” below the edge, then mock-up your plants and accessories to make sure you’re happy with the way they fit together. Bonsai mix is my soil of choice because it has the perfect blend of organic matter and pumice/sand to keep both indoor and outdoor plantings happy.

Steps for Planting: Take plants and accessories back out of the pots to begin planting, remove plastic pot from starts and loosen roots as you plant into your container. Once all the plants are in place fill in around them with more bonsai soil until the soil level is even (about ½ inch from the edge of the container).

Top-dress: With pebbles, sand for pathways, stepping stones/slate to give the appearance of a landscape. You can even use blue pebbles to represent a moat, stream, or pond!

Care: Morning sun, or bright indirect light is preferable sun exposure to keep the low profile pots from drying out in hot afternoon sun, water to keep the soil moist but not soggy! Fertilize with a mild organic liquid fertilizer like kelp for healthy plants and pinch back foliage if it gets too large.