Monday, January 23, 2012

Gardens in Miniature

One of the newer gardening trends is building a miniature garden. For those of you who enjoy miniature dollhouses and gardening as a hobby, this is a great project combining the love of both. Miniature gardens contain live plants, chairs, arbors, tools, rocks and patios just like a real garden. The plants that are used are small in size and kept pruned to stay small for the garden. The garden can be any size you want or have space for. I have seen some gardens that are growing in baskets and containers that can be placed on a table top outside or large raised gardens on the ground. It is up to you and your imagination on what you create.

After you decide on a size and design for your garden you will want to use good soil that will drain well. Fill your container or raised bed with soil and start creating your hardscape. Use small flat rocks for stepping stones, patios or walls in your garden. You can add waterfalls, stream beds and even ponds with real water in them. Use your imagination!

Add interesting shaped trees, shrubs and plants that are small in size with very small leaves. You can purchase small yews, boxwoods, alberta spruces or junipers for larger trees in your garden. Miniature roses, herbs like thyme and oregano, creeping jenny, sedums or moss can be used for smaller plants. Miniature hostas and small ferns can also be used in your garden.

Miniature hostas and ferns

Small flat stones make a simple stepping stone path with sand as the gravel in between the stones. Do you see the trimmed boxwood hedge?

A working waterfalls and stream in miniature

You can add small building in your garden just like the one in the picture. If you have houses from a Christmas village or building from a train set, these could also work.

After you have your garden hardscape installed and the garden planted you can add small tables, chairs, arbors, garden tools, flower pots and other items that would be found in a garden. You can add small figurines of animals, people or fairies that will make the garden their home. You can purchase items from local hobby shops and nurseries or create items for the garden from found objects around your home. I have found several garden related Christmas ornaments that could be used in my garden. Just keep in mind that everything must be in proportion in size to each other. After you have your garden completed, make sure that it is kept watered and fertilized regularly. To keep your plants in good shape, keep them pruned to maintain their size and shape during the growing season. Remember that some containers or plants may need protection from the elements during the winter.

I started picking up plants last fall for my miniature garden. I plan to build a raised garden bed for my miniature garden this spring. It will have a working waterfall, stream bed and small garden rooms just like my real garden. Designing the miniature garden is just like designing a large garden, but with less expense and work. It should be a fun project!

Happy Gardening!

The Creative Gardener

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day - January 2012

I nearly forgot that it was Garden Blogger's Bloom Day! When you have snow on the ground you stop thinking flowers in the garden and spend your time looking at flowers in catalogues. I do have some plants in bud in the garden like Witch Hazel, Flowering Quince and Hellebores, but I am hoping that they wait till the weather improves some before flowering.

Inside the house I have been growing Hostas from seed and I have around 35 nice streaked Hostas for the test garden this year. I grow the Hosta seedlings under lights 24/7 from October to May.

The Orchids are blooming and still setting more buds for future flowers.

In the greenhouse, I carried over tropicals, geraniums and wax begonias that continue to bloom. They will be returned to the garden in the spring.

Happy Gardening everyone and have a great Garden Blogger's Bloom Day!

The Creative Gardener

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Worms Crawl In.....The Worms Crawl Out

Last year I attended a class on how to compost using kitchen food waste and worms. After attending the class I was excited to give vermicomposting a try. I searched around online looking for a worm compost bin that would meet my needs and I purchased a four bin unit. The composter that I ordered did not come with worms and after looking around online again, I purchased my red wiggler worms. While wait for my worms to arrive, I prepared their new home per the instruction that came with the bin. In about two weeks my worms arrived in the mail. When I opened the mail box there was the typical assortment of junk mail and a small box containing my worms. I started sorting my mail in the house and I found dead worms in my mail. It seems that during the shipping of my worms there had been a mutiny and most of them had escaped. Out of the 100 worms that I ordered, I still had around 25 left. I am still not sure how they got out of a burlap bag and a sealed box, but they did. I am sure that the mail truck and everyone in the neighborhood had worms in their mail that day. I started my bin with fewer worms but to my surprise those few worms have populated the bin quickly. It seems that worms just eat, reproduce and make waste (if you know what I mean) and they have done a wonderful job. I have been surprised at how much they can eat and what they eat. My worms have been very busy and I am now on my second bin. This year I will use my worm castings as an organic fertilizer and soil conditioner for my vegetable garden. Should be a good year for tomatoes!

Happy Gardening!
The Creative Gardener

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Has Your Tree Been Slimed?

If you ever watched the movie "Ghost Busters" then you have heard the saying of being "slimed". My poor sycamore tree has been slimed by slim flux. Slim flux or wet wood begins when the tree is damaged by poor pruning, freezing, broken limbs or other damage to the tree. Bacteria enters the open wound. Once the bacteria enters the wound it inhabits the tree. It can be inside the tree for a long time and not be noticed until the bacteria produces enough gas that it causes the sap to flow out the wounded area. Over time the sap continues to run and it turns a gray to white color on both sides of the wet area. It is not very attractive to look at on the tree and the ooze can have a bad odor to it. Once your tree has slim flux, there is nothing you can do to control it. At one time, people would insert drain tubes into the tree, but this is no longer done. Trees that can get slim flux are maples, mulberry, elms, paper birch, red buds, walnuts and sycamore trees. What can you do to prevent slim flux from infecting your tree? The best thing you can do is to protect your tree from anything that can damage the trunk, branches or root system. Always use the correct procedure to prune branches from your trees. You do not want to get "slimed".

Happy Gardening!
The Creative Gardener

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'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood

Years ago, I purchased a very small tree that was only 6 to 8 inches tall. It was a 'Golden Shadows' Pagoda Dogwood. It had beau...