For many years, those of us who are miniature gardeners have had a hard time explaining to people what we do and how we do it. It wasn’t until the publication last year of Janit Calvo’s’ wonderful book, Gardening in Miniature, that there was an excellent resource that we could point interested folks to. You can get the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Janit’s own site, Two Green Thumbs. You can also get it as an eBook.

The best thing the Flower Show did this year was to invite Janit Calvo to give a talk on miniature gardening. Speaking to a large crowd (you can see more photos and her account of the talk on her blog) Janit put together a miniature garden in a large pot in less than 45 minutes, explaining along the way all sorts of useful ideas about scale, composition, the use of accessories, hardscaping, and so many other topics. Ron and Katy Hoess joined me in listening to Janit and we were all amazed at how much we learned. Keep in mind, as Janit pointed out both in her talk and in her blog description, that what we do in Miniature Settings is very different from the miniature gardens she was demonstrating. Although we use many of the same plants and techniques, outdoor and potted mini gardens are meant to last for years while our settings, alas, must simply make it through the 9 days of the show (although all of mine are still flourishing and even flowering!).

Janit Calvo beginning her talk in the Gardener's Studio
Janit Calvo beginning her talk in the Gardener’s Studio
Trimming the plants to fit in the pot.
Trimming the plants to fit in the pot.
Adding accessories.
Adding accessories.

 

Because of Janit’s presentation (I have already read her book) I have vowed to convert every pot,  broken pot, patch of land, and top of tree stumps into miniature gardens this summer. I have Janit’s demo garden from the talk as a starter and I hope I can be a good mom to it for years to come.

Before and after her talk, I spent many delightful hours with Janit, looking at the dish gardens in the Hort Court, checking out all the vendors selling mini accessories (many more than ever before), and just generally discussing the pleasure we take in this activity. Most of the mini gardening accessories we saw were for “fairy gardens” which are must less concerned with making a scene look realistic and in scale.

So thank you, Janit, for the inspiration and the ideas, and for legitimizing miniature gardening as a fun, creative, imaginative, and valuable activity. I highly recommend that you subscribe to her free monthly newsletter. Every time it comes, I am surprised and fascinated by the news and stories in it. You can shop for plants and accessories on her website, Two Green Thumbs.