Gardening in Miniature

Northeast LibraryStaff Picks

Gardening in Miniature

Gardening is cathartic in ways that people who don’t mind temporary messes or dirty fingernails can appreciate. There is satisfaction in even simple jobs like weeding and the end most certainly justifies the means. Fanatical gardeners dig in the dirt most anytime, weather be damned. There are times, however, when gardening outside is neither possible nor practical. That’s when gardening in miniature fits the bill and satisfies the obsession.

What is gardening in miniature? It’s designing and planting a tiny enclosed ecosystem, usually in a glass container, that mimics the natural world. Put the right plants together, add a suitable soil mixture to a glass or ceramic container, and you’ve replicated a desert or a tropical rain forest – in pint size form. Throw in a toy dinosaur and you’ve got your own Jurassic Park.

Inspirational designs abound in the following books for adults and children. Check out these authors who’ve made the most delicate but hardy tabletop gardens without spending a fortune or getting down in the dirt. But then again, that last part can be therapeutic.

Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass (Maria Colletti)
Tiny plants enclosed in teardrop-shaped glass globes hang from tree branches, orchids peek out of slender vases, and verdant mosses grow on clear saucers. There’s no shortage of ideas for bringing the outside world inside and up close, and adding some miniature charm to outdoor entertaining spaces. Look to this book for valuable tips on what containers are best for which plants, how to keep those delicate decorative mosses alive, and the tools you’ll want to make a desert or tropical forest or woodlawn world in an old vase you were ready to recycle.

Miniature Garden Grower: Terrariums and Other Tiny Gardens to Grow Indoors & Out (Holly Farrell)
This book not only offers easy DIY projects for terrariums inside the house, it features tips for tiny gardens outside – on garden walls, in small urban plots, and in arrays of patio containers. Inspiration abounds as Farrell trains readers to look at every small space as an opportunity for nature to thrive.

Terrarium Craft: Create 50 Magical, Miniature Worlds (Amy Briant Aiello)
This book is perfect for collectors of small objects like seaglass, shells, rocks, or tiny toys who want to add a unique twist to a tabletop garden. Aiello teaches readers how to set a stage that is guaranteed to start a conversation and take a closer look.

The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature (Tovah Martin)
Tovah Martin knows how to use plants to beautify your home. Her whimsical natural creations grace decorating books published around the world. In this book, Martin uses step-by-step instructions perfect for a novice gardener on how to bring the exotic and the ordinary under glass and make it thrive. It’s never been easier to increase your knowledge of small scale gardening.

While terrariums are delightfully dainty and creatively whimsical, container gardening is an option for creating art on a larger scale. No less addictive than gardening under glass, container gardening satisfies any green thumb’s need to fill empty outdoor space – be it on the ground, a wall, fence or door! Any vessel will do (as long as it allows for drainage) and the combination of plants on the market today is limitless. The challenge (and the fun) begins with choosing a garden location and a color palette. Here are two books to get the budding gardener started creating container gardens bursting with color, texture, and life.

Container Theme Gardens: 42 Combinations, each using 5 perfectly matched plants (Nancy Ondra)
Learn the tricks of building a gorgeous arrangement using five-plant combinations that will thrive all season (some for several seasons), and provide eye-catching splashes of coordinating colors. Here is where your 5-part color harmony begins!

The Plant Recipe Book: 100 living arrangements for any home in any season (Baylor Chapman)
I love looking through this book: the crisp photos, the perfectly arranged plants in gorgeous porcelain bowls, the way each photo is set against a black or gray backdrop. The simple air plant with its spiny leaves sitting in a white and gold hedgehog makes me chuckle and want to scavenge through antique markets for similar curiosities. What sets this book apart from others is the inspired Ingredient Chart, a photo guide of plant design elements, such as focal specimens, airy specimens, or textural foliage, that helpfully categorize the necessary pieces of any natural masterpiece. This book is a must read and see for any budding miniaturist!