An Introduction to Miniature Gardening

By Annmarie Bailey (1AnjL) on April 7, 2010

Are you an avid gardener who has run out of space to garden, or maybe you live in an apartment with a small cement patio? Miniature gardening is a fun hobby that everyone can enjoy regardless of your yard size. You may chose to create a mini garden that is whimsical complete with fairies and gnomes, maybe you prefer a mini garden with patio table, chairs and a pond, or a grand replication of the formal gardens of Buckingham Palace. No matter what type of mini garden you create, you will need to gather some basic information in order to select appropriate plants that will thrive in your miniature garden.

 

LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!!

Its that old realtors saying, and so true! The first thing to decide is the location of your miniature garden.  If you are planting directly in the ground you want to buy plants that will survive in your zone, year round. However if you are planting in a pot and plan to move the pot into a greenhouse, or indoors during bad weather, then your plant options are greater. Be sure you select an area where your garden can be easily seen and enjoyed by all!

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Defining "miniature":

The best thing about miniature gardens is that there is no set 'scale' you can choose whatever size garden art that you desire.  Some garden figures are quite large with ceramic gnomes that are 12 inches tall, while others can be pretty teeny at 1 inch or even 1/2 inch scale. A word of caution, if your garden will be at ground level bigger plants and figures are easier to see and less likely to be stepped on!  You will want to select your figures and structures at this point. Your plant selections and sizes will depend on the size of the figures in your garden.

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Sunny days....  You will need to find out the sun/shade amount for the area you have selected for your new miniature garden. Full sun means that area receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. Partial sun or Partial shade means that area receives from 3 to 6 hours of sun each day, preferably early morning sun. Dappled sun means the plant receives sunlight that is filtered through a tree or lattice work. Full shade means the plant receives less than 3 hours of sun per day and dappled sun the remainder of the day. This photo shows a dappled sun area.

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Shade maps: The best way to find out your garden area sun/shade exposure is to chart it on a map. You can do this by drawing a rough outline of the selected area on paper. On a sunny day keep an eye on the area all day. Each hour, go out to the area and survey it. Mark the shadowed areas with a line on your map and note the time. By nightfall you should have a good idea how many hours of sun and shade your new mini garden will receive. Please refer to the 'high tech' map.

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 There is a TEST??!! Yes, But not a difficult one! You will want to test your soil. You can purchase a soil testing kit at most hardware stores and they are relatively easy to use. Of Course if you are using potting mix in a container garden, there is no need to test it. Once you find out the soil type you will also need to determine how much water your area will receive and how often you are willing to water. If your mini garden is planned for a bed with water runoff from a downspout you will need to select plants that do well in a consistently moist area. Automatic water sprinklers should also be taken into consideration, as well as overhead hanging plants that will drip into your mini garden area. Take a good look at your soil conditions, is the soil soggy, moist, damp, dry? You will also need to determine which USDA Zone you are in. You can check your zone at USDA Zone Maps

Now the REAL fun begins! All of the above will factor into what plants will best suit your needs. Once you have gathered all the necessary information, check our Minitaure Plants Database to select the plants for your garden.

 

Watch for more articles on miniature gardening and plant selection coming soon!


Related articles:
doll house, fairy, fairy garden, garden, gardens, gnome, gnome garden, mini, miniature, miniature garden, plants, scale

About Annmarie Bailey
I live in Northern CA with my husband and children. I enjoy gardening on miniature and grand scales, crafts, woodworking, art, animals, spending quality time with my children and making my grandson giggle.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
I can't wait! Boopaints Apr 12, 2010 1:11 AM 2
miniature gardens taters55 Apr 9, 2010 2:32 PM 3

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