Imagine a big beautiful garden in its smallest size and version and that is what your miniature garden is. Like how a Lilliput is the smallest version of a human being, miniature garden is the lilliputian version of a garden. This becomes a customised version with carefully and selectively chosen plants which showcases the creativity of the gardener. It is like creating a magic world of plants on your own with the theme you love the most.
Miniature generally refers to anything small, so a garden of such small size is a miniature garden which has a great combination of tiny terrarium plants, trees, any accessories to enhance the look to mimic the living garden on earth. Simply put, a miniature garden becomes a garden in miniature.
Why the Growing Trend
These miniature gardens have gained huge popularity among enthusiasts who are having a limited space but are keen on gardening. The tree lovers and plant enthusiasts find this an impeccable way to satisfy their senses by getting into miniature gardening. This can also satisfy their aesthetic sense as it gives them a chance to tap on their creative skills in creating a world of their own. As it is more or less similar to a life size gardening but in a tiny scale. They can add up what all things that they can imagine depending on the size of the miniature.
There are plenty of art supply stores which also provide these garden enthusiasts to unleash their hidden creative side. Suppose you have a theme in your mind, then you can showcase your creativity in the garden by picking up things related to your theme and the more creative you are, the more beautiful is your garden. You can choose any theme like Easter garden, fairy garden, basket garden, farm garden, daddy’s garden, beachfront and the list goes on.
Things You Can Add to Your Garden
Practically you can add anything that comes to your mind. The size is the limit. If you stick to your theme and decide on your size, then you can add anything that suits your theme like miniature benches or chairs, tables, water fountains, pebbles, toys, lights, carts etc. You must be wondering how can we accommodate such big things in the small garden.
No !! These things are also available in their minutest sizes to add beauty to your miniature garden. Yes !! This is a boon to the garden enthusiasts who can imagine and create what they imagine. Everything is available in their tiny sizes and they are just a click away without even stepping out of the houses in search of them.
Best Plants for Miniature Gardens
A Miniature garden is very much like a real garden, except that it is grown on a smaller scale.
Here, you will usually find shrubs or dwarf trees, small perennials, and some low-maintenance groundcover plants (Bedding Plants) to make up the understory of your garden bed.
Here are some of the best plants for miniature gardens:
Ground cover plants serve a lot of purposes. They retain moisture in the soil, provide habitat for pollinators, and they control erosion.
Many gardeners prefer grass as a bedding plant, but low-growing plants are also an excellent way to fill up space since they are also eye-catching.
Dwarf Mondo Grass
This grass can handle all types of weather and is low-maintenance as it only needs water to survive. Its roots spread rapidly, and it typically grows from two to four inches in height. The leaves of the Dwarf Mondo grass are slender and are very attractive as a ground cover.
Baby Tears or Baby’s Tears
This charming plant is a perennial mat-forming plant with tiny leaves. It can be grown indoors, but it can also be grown outdoors without any fuss as it retains moisture efficiently. Baby’s Tears are fast-growing and thrive in moderate daylight and medium-exposure setting.
This is a type of herb from the low-growing mint species.
Normally a trailing plant but can also be grown as part of the garden bed.
This is also known as ‘Zebra Cactus’ although this is a succulent derived from South Africa
Lily of the Valley
A perennial that spreads easily so you have to groom it especially if it is near pathways.
This produces purple flowers that are very beautiful. They are attractive to pollinators.
This plant can tolerate poor soil conditions.
These are perennial whites with yellow centers that are mat-forming and can grow up to two inches tall.
Miniature Garden plants
A shrub that is multi-stemmed with glossy and round, dark leaves.
This plant hails from the genus of conifers in the cypress family and is native to Eastern Asia and to some parts of the U.S. These are perennials that are easy to grow. They prefer moist soil and are low-maintenance.
A small palm tree
Endemic to Norfolk island, this can grow up to sixty feet tall but you can also grow them in a pot.
An upright plant with a bluish foliage
Dwarf Mugo Pine
From the species of conifer, it can grow up to four feet but can be pruned to maintain its dwarf look.
How to Grow a Miniature Garden?
Mimic the real garden
Like I said, it’s a miniature garden of the living garden. So, it must look similar to the original live gardens out there. You are free to choose the theme but it’s important to concentrate on the small details like choosing the height of the trees and bedding of your garden. Their positioning also will add great value. You may consider adding small trees for height and lawns or shorter plants to create a lush bedding and it’s also important that their light and water needs to be maintained for a successful miniature garden.
There are plenty of bulbs which come in various sizes to fit the lamps and it’s important to place one in your garden.
Optimal temperatures are to be maintained all through the year for the indoor plants.
Type of soil
It’s always best to use organic soil without any artificial chemicals and fertilisers.
This is the most important thing to consider as too much of water leads to water clogging which harbours germs which in-turn destroys your plants. So may be you can consider a pot with a drainage hole to begin with.
Creating Your Own Little Garden
Get a pot or a container to match your needs
You can setup your own little marvel in any container of your choice ranging from plastic or terracotta to a porcelain pot. But all you need is a pot with drainage holes to allow draining of water. These days most of the clay or terracotta pots come with holes and you need a big container to make sure it can house all your garden. If you are a person who is good at recycling you may even consider to use any broken pot if you have.
Adding soil and stones
As mentioned above, prefer using an organic potting soil and add it at the bottom of the container. For decoration you are free to add any stones or pebbles and addition of stones also prevents clogging of water. Garden enthusiasts also suggest adding some horticultural charcoal for better plant growth.
Selection of plants
This is important because you need to pick up plants that will stay small and are easy to grow in limited spaces. Few examples include geraniums, begonias, herbs, moss etc.
Potting the soil
Soil must be added to the container up to the rim and it depends on the way you want your garden to appear.Make holes to put plants in the pot. You can elevate on one side or lower it depending on the scape. If the container is glass you may add stones which not only enhances the look but help in proper draining and also supply of nutrients.
Adding plants to the container
After the addition of soil you need to add plants with utmost care to prevent breaking the root ball. This will ensure beautiful plants. Spacing is important to avoid looking clumsy. Tall plants must be placed in the backside and short ones in the front. Make space for the accessories if you are adding any. Make sure the plants are rooted in the holes made and once done water them.
Addition of accessories
This is the most creative step which can be made according to your taste and you may add a chair or a bench or a bridge depending on the theme. If you are a minimal person you may simply leave by adding few beads etc. Addition of rocks or figurines will make your garden look more lively and beautiful. Some people even wish to add some stones as a pathway and one can be as creative as they can.
Care to be taken
Once your garden is set up, you may place it in such a way that your garden gets enough indirect sunlight because sunlight is important for the growth of plants. Enough watering is important and trim the leaves when needed.
So start working on a suitable theme and create a miniature garden which showcases all your talent and liking and you may even consider gifting it to others so that you can leave an everlasting impression.
Miniature Fairy Gardens vs Miniature Zen Gardens
What is Miniature Fairy Garden?
Miniature gardens expose one’s creativity because putting the design altogether is reliant on a person’s imagination.
Miniature gardens are also called ‘fairy gardens’ and sometimes, pixie gardens. These small-sized gardens are designed very much like a real garden where you can find your favorite plants.
They are also adorned with accessories such as tables, benches, stools, a swing, a house, a birdhouse, a patio, a small pond, and even a treehouse.
Some miniature gardeners even cover the soil with pebbles or moss and place miniature fairy dolls or tiny sculptures to complete the design of their miniature garden.
Again, it all depends on your imagination. The only thing to consider here is which plants to put in the miniature garden as some plants grow too fast and can quickly outgrow the garden.
Some plants cannot withstand extreme temperatures and are therefore not suitable for miniature fairy gardens.
Miniature Zen Garden
What is a Zen Garden?
Zen Gardens were created by Japanese Buddhist monks to aid meditation. Original Zen Gardens are dry landscapes that use sand and rocks to produce a serene and calm space that induces meditation.
This is also the aim of a miniature Zen Garden except that it is a small version that you can place inside your home, perhaps in a corner or on top of a table to function as a centerpiece.
The basic design elements of a miniature Zen Garden are the sand and stones, but if you fancy having plants there, limit their number and use the type of plants that spread and not the upright plants. Some gardeners also incorporate statues and bridges but keep these to a minimum level.
Similar to a real Zen Garden, the sand in the miniature Zen Garden is raked (also by a miniature rake) into a swirl or round pattern to represent the sea. The stones in the miniature Zen Garden also have symbolic meaning.
Standing rocks represent trees, mountains, or animals; Flat rocks represent water, and curved rocks represent fire. Raking the sand is believed to encourage meditation and mindfulness. It is also said to produce relaxation of the mind.
Miniature Gardens vs Fairy Gardens
The difference between these two types of miniaturized gardens lies in the fact that while both have similar features, there are certain differences too.
A miniature garden has smaller size than a regular garden whereas a fairy garden is bigger than its counterpart. A miniature garden usually consists of less number of flowers and shrubs compared to a fairy garden.
However, a miniature garden does not necessarily mean that it cannot contain many different kinds of plants. It just means that the plant life should be kept simple.
On the other hand, a fairy garden contains numerous species of plants including trees, bushes, grasses, herbs, bulbs, perennials, annuals, vines, ferns, and flowering shrubs.
In terms of appearance, a miniature garden looks quite cute but a fairy garden appears rather sophisticated.
Types Of Miniature Gardens
There are several types of miniature gardens available today. They include;
Potted Miniature Gardens
This type of miniature garden is placed inside pots filled with potting mix. You need to water them regularly.
Outdoor Miniature Gardens
These miniature gardens are planted outside and require little maintenance. However, if you want to keep them alive then you must ensure proper care.
Indoor Miniature Gardens
These miniature gardens are created indoors using artificial lighting. They do not require any direct sun light.
Fantasy Miniature Gardens
These gardens look more realistic than the previous ones. They are made from clay, wood, stone, metal, plastic, glass, etc.
Which Garden Is Called Nature in Miniature?
Nature in miniature refers to an indoor miniaturized landscape which has been designed to resemble natural scenery such as forests, meadows, lakes, rivers, hills, valleys, oceans, deserts, plains, prairies, jungles, swamps, marshes, bogs, beaches, dunes, cliffs, caves, ruins, etc.
How Do You Start a Miniature Garden?
You should first decide what kind of miniature garden you would like to create. Then choose the right materials for creating this miniature garden. Next, prepare all the necessary tools needed for making the miniature garden. Finally, begin building the miniature garden.
What’s the Difference Between a Miniature Garden and a Terrarium?
A miniature garden is usually smaller than a terrarium while a terrarium is larger. A miniature garden does not contain soil while a terrarium requires some form of soil. Also, a miniature garden contains only living things whereas a terrarium may include non-living objects too.
Is It Possible to Grow Vegetables in a Miniature Garden?
Yes! You can plant seeds directly in the ground without worrying about whether they will sprout or not because they are already prepared with nutrients. If you wish to add other types of vegetation, make sure that they are easy to maintain. For example, cacti require very little care since they don’t need much watering. On the contrary, ferns and mosses need more attention.
Featured Image Source: Lenny&Meriel at Flickr