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How Small Can You Grow?

Miniature gardening's wee wonderful worlds

Text by M.P. Klier

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Kate Baldwin
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To borrow a line from the fine folks at National Novel Writing Month, "No plot? No problem!" You can plant a garden in something as small as a thimble, as Janit Calvo delightfully shows in her new book, Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World (Timber Press, July 2013). This horticultural how-to will help you choose pots and plants, build a patio out of pebbles and a fence and trellis out of twigs, and care for your tiny ecosystem: Water gently when needed, aerate the soil with a fork every few weeks, and perhaps, every few years, divide your groundcover.

Calvo, who has flourishing miniature gardens that are going on 10 years old, got her start in Lilliputian landscapes thanks to a wonderful commingling of endeavors: She was working at a Seattle gardening store while designing a line of greeting cards featuring ⅙-scale miniatures. Now, thousands of petits pots later, she runs Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center and blogs on the latest and greatest ideas in sowing small scenes (a tiki garden, a make-your-own Stonehenge, even kokedama—potless plants that hang from a string). Let's dig relatively deeper into how you, too, can become a Vita Sackville-West, a Frederick Law Olmstead, or perhaps a Christo, on a minor—say ¼-inch—scale.


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