80 Main Street, Sutter Creek, California ~ ~ ~ Attempted Hours: Open 11am-5pm, Closed Tuesdays

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Miniature, Tiny, Secret, Fairy Gardens

One of the things we love at The Antique Gardener is our miniature gardens.  Some call them Fairy Gardens or Secret Gardens or Tiny Gardens.  No matter what they are called....they are big fun! 

When I first ordered a few pieces of miniature furniture I thought it would be something new and different for the shop - - I had no idea how much fun they would be to create!  Six years later our miniature garden pieces are still very popular and we now offer free classes on a monthly basis.

I love the fact that there are new and different pieces available every few months.  The gardens in this post my son Jack and I created one afternoon after school. 

I love the little white bistro set - makes me want to sit down and eat lunch.  There are a number of different styles of furniture and plants for miniature gardens - just like our big gardens.  I sell white arbors, fence and furniture that has a cottage garden look to it and looks great with mosses and ferns.
Probably the most popular is the rustic garden items.  They are very natural looking and mix well with all kinds of plants.  There are all kinds of different accessories including tools, watering cans, wheelbarrows and more!
One of my customers told me that she had created a fairy garden with her grandchildren.  She purchased a mailbox so that she could leave them "fairy mail".  When her grandkids stayed with her they would get the fairy garden all set up during the day.  While the kids slept she would move things around in the garden so that it looked like the fairies had been there that night.  The next morning the kids were so excited to see that the fairies had come and gone and could image them enjoying their special garden in the moonlight!

Gardens can be made in all differents shapes, sizes and containers.  I sell these nice wooden boxes that last for years.  This one has been planted and replanted several times over the last year and is just starting to show a little wear at the corners.  I've also used metal boxes, fruit packing crates, enamel bowls or terra cotta pots.  I generally prefer square or rectangular containers - but just about anything will work!  Just make sure your container has proper drainage

This is a garden created in one of my classes last fall.  We added a few seasonal decorations like cornstalks and the Jack O'Lantern.  This year we have mini pumkins and tiny bales of straw for Fall.
I planted a moveable mini garden in an old wheelbarrow this spring.  The plants went a little crazy so Jack and I had to do some "yard work" and trim things back a little.

He created the little fire pit area and then found larger sticks for log benches.  I've also made firepits in class by using a tea light in the center of the fire ring.  The candles are great - especially if you are using it as a centerpiece on a table.

Another style of mini's that we have available are the twig benches and chairs.  They are a little larger but look great in a rustic setting.  I like to mix these pieces with succulents too.

Close up of the fire pit under an asparagus fern.

There are lots of different plants you can use for mini gardens.  Most ground covers work great.  Isotoma, Blue Star Creeper, Scotch and Irish Moss, Baby Tears, Selaginella moss and Thyme just to name a few.  Ivy, Angel Vine and Varigated Creeping Fig are great plants to train up an arbor - - just make sure to keep the ivy trimmed!  Succulents also work great but I generally don't recommend mixing them with ferns and ground covers since they need less water.
Here is a simple little garden in a terra cotta pot.  Mini's can be as simple as a plain pot or an elaborate garden in a large container or even in the corner of a flower bed.  They are a great way to play with garden design because you can move things around and change plants so much easier than a "real" garden.  The best part is they are fun and relaxing, great for all ages and  for all types of gardening ability. It is something unusual to add to your porch or garden that will bring lots of fun comments  - - but no weeding required!
For information on our classes check our class schedule. Private classes are also available for groups of five or more.  Miniature garden furniture and accessories are available in the shop year round.  Please contact Aimee for more information!