Grow Care

Choosing a Container

Almost any container that will hold soil can be used to create your garden. Re-purposing always makes an interesting piece and adds character. You can use anything from an old colander to a wicker basket, a metal bucket to a terra cotta pot. Have fun with it and use your imagination. Drainage holes are highly recommended to maintain a healthy garden for a long period of time. Gardens can thrive for weeks, months, or even years if properly cared for. With the right drill bit (approximately 1/4 inch) you can put drainage holes in almost any material. I recommend using window screening to cover your drainage hole. This will keep the soil from leaking out of large holes as well as keeping small holes from clogging.

Soil and Fertilizer

  We have found that the miniature gardens thrive best planted in a potting mix. I use Sunshine Potting Mix #1. There are other brands available at local home and garden centers. Planting mix is a peat moss/pearlite mixture which retains moisture while draining well. It also keeps succulents happy when planted in the same container. If you are unable to find a potting mix I recommend mixing 50% potting soil with 50% pearlite. Fill your container about one inch from the top then add a light application of a time release fertilizer to the top of the soil. No need to mix it in, that will happen while you plant. I use Osmocote time release fertilizer. It will not burn young roots and will last for three to four months at which time you can reapply.

Plant Selection

You should always consider the amount of sun or shade your garden will be getting and select your plants accordingly. Also consider the growth pattern of the plant as well as the shade of green. Vary the greens so that your garden will have contrast even when it is not in bloom. Take your time and select healthy, young plants with good shape. If in doubt, choose plants that have small leaves. A list of some miniature garden favorites is attached. Note: If you want to keep your garden indoors you will need to choose indoor plants. The same process will apply but the plant selection will be completely different. Otherwise you can bring your outdoor garden in for a few days at a time. Any more than four days and your garden will start to decline.

Planning Your Layout/Design

Try to envision your enchanted garden as a place you would love to meander or sit a spell. Unlike our own yards that can be impossible to keep perfect, your enchanted garden can be just that. Plan a pathway, straight or rambling, or a landing spot. The size of your container will dictate how much you can accomplish. Stick to the philosophy of thrill, fill, and spill. By thrill, I mean something tall or large to be your anchor, such as an arbor or tree. Fill with plants that will stay a few inches tall, and then spill with creeping ground cover or plants that will cascade in time. Avoid placing plants that will grow tall in the front of your container. You can layout your garden by placing the plants while still in their containers. Let your imagination go to work! Planting When you are satisfied with your design you can begin planting. Start with the largest piece. Gently remove the plant from its container. With your fingers dig a hole for each plant and pack soil around it as you go. Keep the top of each plant flush with the top of your container. If you plant and are not happy, you can gently move it to another location. It sometimes helps to stand back and access your progress. The more you do the better you will get. Caution: Fairy Gardens, Miniature Gardens, Enchanted Gardens, whatever you choose to call them, can be addictive but never dangerous to your health!! When you are happy with your garden make sure to fill in any gaps with planting mix. Give your garden a good shower to settle the dirt and clean off the loose soil from your plants. After you have settled the soil cover your path with gravel. I like to cover all exposed soil to give your garden a finished look.

Accessorizing Your Garden

Now it is time to have fun with the accessories. Choose from Fairies, miniature people, benches, tables, critters, bird baths, shovels, tea cups, whatever you see in your garden. We carry a full line of miniature accessories at Cottage Home and Garden in beautiful San Juan Capistrano.

Watering and Maintenance

Keep your gardens watered well. Use a watering can or hose with a shower nozzle. Of course you will need to adjust according to the weather and location of your garden. Let them dry a bit between watering but never let them dry completely. Make sure you reach all the way around to the back of your garden. I do avoid watering the succulents if they are mixed in with other plants. Your garden will love the rain, let it enjoy. However, do protect them from extreme or prolonged storms. Bring your gardens in if the possibility of frost is present or during periods of extreme heat. In cooler months I keep my gardens in part to full sun and water two to three times a week. As spring sun turns hot, protect them from the hot afternoon sun by keeping them in a partial sun location. You may have to water as often as once a day in hot weather. Most of the plants used in miniature gardens are not actually miniatures. They are young annuals and perennials, and ground covers. So they will grow and will need to be trimmed, and trimmed often. Pinch or snip, but do trim as often as you see fit. Dont forget to deadhead spent blooms as well. This will prolong their blooming season and prevent seeds from forming. If you lose a plant or it is just too unruly, replace it. I use a spoon to dig out plants that I want to replace. If it is a perennial, put it in your garden!  With a little bit of work these enchanted gardens can give you years of enjoyment. Fall in love with them, maintain them, and they will not disappoint you! 

Favorite Miniature Garden Plants

Aeonium

Alyssum

Armeria

Autralian Violet

Baby Tears

Coprosma (trim into tree )

Cuphea Cyclamen (miniature)

Dichondra

Dwarf Mondo Grass

Echeveria

English Daisy

Erodium

Fuschia Tymafolia

Irish or Scotch Moss

Isotoma

Ivy (micro or small leaf)

Labrador Violet

Lysimacchia Moneywart

Miniature Roses

Muehlenbeckia (wire vine)

Sedum Ogon, Tri-color

Thyme wooley, foxley, lemon, elfin, creeping