The Potting Shed is an Aladin's Cave for the hobbyist. In addition to arts and crafts, they stock home decor items, potted plants, and gardening supplies such as potting soil. I always feel happy browsing this store.
|The Potting Shed Store, Stroudsburg, PA|
My instructor's name was Judy. She soon put me to work.
|My lovely instructor, Judy.|
My first task was to choose a container for my fairy garden. I decided to make an indoor garden this time and wanted something small and portable. There was a wide choice available, and my first pick was a beautiful glazed dish for bonsai. I decided, however, that I preferred a deeper dish to enable better root development -- although you don't want the plants to grow too big, so the shallow one would probably work. Judy and I agreed a container with a drainage hole would be best. I settled on an Italian terra cotta pot with a saucer.
|Love the garden in the Radio Flyer wagon.|
My next job was to choose ornamentation. Judy asked me what theme I had chosen. I told her I would like to make a gnome garden (as my previous mini gardens all have fairies). I chose a gnome watering a sunflower, a red cart, and a basket of apples. They were all pretty much in scale. I saw how they could tell a story.
|There is a great choice of items for every theme of miniature garden.|
|So many options!|
Now it was time to choose the plantings for my gnome garden. With the size of my container in mind, I chose just three plants. They were all house plants, originally grown in Florida, but I do not intend to place them outside where they would not survive our winter. None of the three are 'miniature plants' as such and can grow quite big, but that will take a while. I have no qualms replacing them if they grow too big, or just don't survive (I'm not very good with house plants.) I have compiled a resource of hardy miniature plants, such as miniature hostas, that I can refer to, if necessary.
|I spent a long time picking out three little plants.|
I think Judy's next step is brilliant. It is one that my grandson, Jon, and I haven't employed with our previous mini garden attempts. She told me to tip over the container on to a piece of paper, draw round the pot, and cut out a template.
Then she instructed me to arrange the pieces and plants on the template before filling the container.This way it is easy to see if there are enough items, or not enough, or if the plants are too big, and if the pieces work well together. (One of my plants was too tall, so I changed it at that point.) Judy and I like the way the color red is repeated in my arrangement.
|Arabica 'Coffee' at the back, Maidenhair 'Fritz Luthii' on the left, and Dragontail fern front right.|
Following Judy's instructions, I filled the container as follows:
- Placed a piece of paper over the drainage hole
- Made a layer of small rocks
- Sprinkled charcoal over the stones (keeps the garden 'sweet')
- Filled up the dish with potting soil that I first mixed with a little water
- Added the gnome and apples
- Planted the plants
- Made a pathway by first cutting a strip of plastic then covering it with gravel and edging with tiny rocks. Placed the truck on the pathway
- Watered-in the plants
The Story of the Gnome Garden
Cedric the Gnome was an excellent gardener. He grew flowers, vegetables, and fruit. One day, he picked red, juicy apples and carried them in his red cart to the front garden where he placed them for sale. He was just about to return his cart to the orchard when he noticed his prized sunflower was drooping. Quickly, he filled a water can and gave the flower a long drink. Cedric the Gnome was an excellent gardener.
|The castle garden|
Jon created a castle garden in a broken fountain (it leaks when pumping water and we haven't been able to fix it.) We put moss in the top dish for a soft resting place for a fairy. In the middle dish we put a castle (found in an aquarium store.) Jon used blue stones to make a moat. In the bottom I planted shade-loving hostas, ferns, and lamium. The castle garden is in my shady 'Stone Garden' area.
Jon created a super garden scene in an enameled tub that H.H. was bathed in as a baby. Jon couldn't believe his pappy was ever small enough to fit inside.
The scene includes a house, a bicycle against a fence, a bench, and a fairy riding a bird, plus other garden furniture. The plants are moss, sedums, and succulents.
Well done, Jon. We will continue our hobby during next summer's vacation. Also, my thanks to Judy at the Potting Shed for a fun and productive morning! I learned a lot.
This posting is the fourth in my 'Making a Miniature Garden' series. You can read the other three parts here, here, and here. If you haven't made one yet, do try this enjoyable horticultural activity, dear gardening friends!
|Cedric and his Sunflower|
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