Tiny Gardens

February 11, 2016 tiny gardens 010

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Tiny gardens, indoors and out, help solve any number of gardening challenges.  My earliest memory of creating a tiny garden involved a cleaned up peanut butter jar, some soil dug from the back yard, and a few grass seeds pinched from a bag my father kept in the furnace room.  The seeds sprouted and I had great fun watching them grow.  And I was hooked on gardening.

While tiny container gardeners help apartment and townhouse dwellers grow a few herbs or vegetables on a small porch or balcony, they are great fun for those of us with larger gardens around our homes, as well.  In fact, the winter months are my favorite time to build little gardens to fit on a table or a windowsill.

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February 11, 2016 tiny gardens 001

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Little windowsill gardens can bask in the warm sunshine by day, but have protection from bitter cold over night.  They allow one to keep one’s fingers in the dirt during the long months of winter.

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February 11, 2016 tiny gardens 007

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This tiny Alocasia was left over from another project.  It came potted in a tiny 1″ pot, from The Great Big Greenhouse in Richmond.  They offer a wonderful selection of little tropical plants in tiny pots for terrariums, bonsai, and containers.

After they potted up its twin and a tiny fern in a bonsai dish for me to take to a loved one in hospital; I brought this tiny pup home to grow on towards spring.  Still in its little nursery pot, it sits in this crystal wine glass filled with aquarium gravel.  What could be simpler?

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February 11, 2016 tiny gardens 002~

The same Alocasia cultivar, purchased last spring, continues to grow in another window in a shallow bonsai pot with a  Selaginella kraussianna.

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February 11, 2016 tiny gardens 009

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If you are interested in novel ideas for tiny potted gardens, you might enjoy a new book called Teeny Tiny Gardening by Emma Hardy.  51QXwRvUbZL._SX404_BO1,204,203,200_

This is a beautiful little book, filled with good color photographs of each of the thirty plus projects described. Emma gives detailed and easy to follow instructions for pulling each little garden together and good suggestions for how to display each.

Emma is British, and so has access to some plants and materials harder to find in my region of the US.   That isn’t an obstacle, however, as her ideas are very adaptable.  She demonstrates ingenious ways to re-cycle and put garage sale and charity shop finds to new uses.  Many of her projects can be displayed on a desk, narrow shelf, windowsill, or patio.

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A gardening friend and I built this, and several other fairy gardens, two summers ago.

A gardening friend and I built this, and several other fairy gardens, two summers ago.

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Emma builds many of  her gardens in containers without drainage, and demonstrates how to do so successfully.  But she also demonstrates hanging baskets, terrariums, gardens built in baskets and sturdy bags, and in other ingenious containers to use out of doors.

This is a good ‘idea’ book.  Even if you don’t build any of her projects, she will likely spark an idea for you to follow up with your own containers and plants.

She demonstrates how novel containers, shells, stones, and other little accessories can make tiny gardens very special and fun.  One of her designs, constructed as a play area for children, even includes plastic dinosaurs in a ‘swamp.’  Another demonstrates a simple way to construct a table top water garden.

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A tiny herb garden in a hypertufa pot

A tiny herb garden in a hypertufa pot

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Winter is my favorite time of year for reading  new gardening books and for keeping up with gardening magazines.  There is a good crop of newly published gardening books this year, too.

If you’ve found a good one you know others will enjoy, too, please leave a comment and tell us about it.

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Christmas centerpiece, 2013

Christmas centerpiece, 2013

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Woodland Gnome 2016

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dish gardens 006

 

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About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

5 responses to “Tiny Gardens

  1. You inspired me ages ago to plant a little garden in a bottle and it’s still growing :-). I love the way the stones set off the little garden in your last photo.

  2. When I saw the title of your post, I thought, “Oh, goody!” 🙂 I love seeing your little gardens – and you didn’t disappoint! Always inspiring!

  3. Good news…we will be able to garden on even if we are reduced to apartment living.

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