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Tabletop lanscape


When I put the tables up in the garden, I just put the plants up as they came to hand, bigger at the back, smaller at the front. It holds the plants, and saves bending, but that’s about all that can be said for it.

So I’m trying to work out a better way to place and display them. Of course, I could just put the big plants on the ground and move the smaller plants up, but I don’t think that’d be much of an improvement, æsthetically.

I’ve long dreamed of a miniature landcape, features and plants in harmony, but the utra-miniature would be beyond me: fully-grown trees at 3-6” ( 15cm) would be hard enough, but flowers and ground cover in the same scale …!

I looked at “miniature roses” online after seeing someone’s lovely pictures in GoY; apparently “miniature” means “under 40cm”, which is about 16” – I’d call that small, or dwarf, rather than actually miniature, but that seems about the smallest size plant that I’d have to work with – or, maybe, be able to, given my vision.

But if a rose is about 40cm, how tall would a tree have to be to look in the right proportion? My mini-conifers are about a foot – 30cm – so the roses would be taller than the trees, which don’t sound quite right.

Of course, not knowing the type I’ve no idea of their eventual, mature height – and that’s the height I need to find out. No point working to the scale that they are now when they could grow five- or tenfold.

I’ve been meaning to find out what kind of conifers they are, at least, what family they belong to, then find out how tall a “proper” member of that family grows to, and use that as the scale. First step: find out what these ones are; then how big they’ll get, then how big their big sisters can get.

Probably the easiest scale to work to is 1:12 – inch-to-foot. It’s what most dolls’ houses seem to be built to, and with that scale I could add some “homey” features. But then I’ll need to find out what other plants are a twelfth the size of other, standard, members of their family.

Inch-to-foot would make my trees about twelve feet tall. On that scale, a real-sized flower three foot high (1 metre) would have to be thee inches – amd. a) can I get any that small and b) can I work that small? – given that I’m as dextrous as a cat wearing boxing gloves.

But the other first thing I need to do is to plot the surface area and start doodling. Woodland? Formal rose? Beach? (got stacks of shells of various sizes, also large (fist-sized) stones that I whipped off Bognor Regis beach one cold October day – actually, several cold October days. All seaworn, rounded and with interesting holes and faces.)

I spoke of roses, and my miniature garden books mostly use roses to create formal garden landscapes, but I’m still hankering after a woodland scene, or woodland glade at least. Bernard posted a very comprehensive list of woodland plants, so that’s my starting-point.

Of course, since I’ve been trying to think metric, it should be 1:10, which is even easier to work out; but I’ve not seen metric dolls’ houses or furnishings for them; it’s all 1/12th scale, not 1/10th

Plan of action:
1 – Measure table tops and plot on grid.
2 – errrr

Surface area: roughly two metres by one metre

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Added to GoYpedia Small Garden Ideas...

I inherited two rose bushes from my mother... she hadn't had them long.. she called them her "miniature roses" ..

They are still doing well... covered in small pinkish/red flowers... but the bushes are now tall ... one is reaching about 10 ft high ..

... so they are "miniature" roses on large

4 Jun, 2011


Have you thought of making an alpine and succulent landscape there are so many to choose from and would look lovely at eye level. You could have something in bloom all year round for interest. Have you thought of putting up a mirrored trellis on the fence, you can order on line or some DIY shops now sell them. This would maximize the space by reflecting the plants, and also act as a screen from the neighbors. You can also bye shelving that is tiered to stand the plants on to achieve different height. You could use outside bonsai trees for the back drop. May be even a solar power water feature could stand int the middle to give you a sweet sound to listen too! Just sum ideas to think about, lots of books in the library on alpine and succulents. :-)

4 Jun, 2011


what a fascinating idea ~ would bonsai work?
sorry i dont know much about the roses but there are some little patio or miniature plants about

im just wondering if the model villages [there is one in the cotswolds] would have any helpful suggestions??

4 Jun, 2011


lol Terratoonie, that's always the prob - is it the plant that's miniature, or the flowers on it?

4 Jun, 2011


doh, Teds, I completely forgot "alpine" - and I've at least two gardening books dedicated to the subject!

Some books advise against having mirrors outside; apparently birds don't know they're mirrors and try to fly into them and dent their beaks at the very least. But I'd certainly need something a little more harmonious than the screen I've got at the moment! I had to cut extra slits in it yesterday to let the wind through, it was billowing madly (typical - wide open space in front and to the right and the wind blows most through the small gap at the left end of the block! and it wasn't even particularly windy anywhere else yesterday) I'd need something with "air gaps" or it might get blown down. but the bottom part of the fence, below the wire mesh, could certainly be mirrored.

I'll need to contour the space - flat, level ground is -ha - one-dimensional, and doesn't happen in nature, so varied levels would be more real as well as more interesting. I did think of buying some small plant-stands (I've only found ones about knee-high, which I previously dismissed; they'd be no good at ground level, but here they'd work well) - I also have some plastic storage crates of various sizes, which I could upturn and cover with maybe fake grass for "hilltops".

lol a mini water feature goes without saying! I've not yet put my 4-bowl solar fountain back together yet - using the under-table space as storage, and that was one of the first things I stowed there because I-won't-need-it-for-a-while. but I have the pump and the tube, so I did think of making my own feature, running a stream down one of the plant stands and into a minipool.

lol, as always, so much that I could do that half the problem is going to be working out which direction to go in - and not get sidetracked ... too much

4 Jun, 2011


thanks for the suggestions, Stickitoffee.

I hadn't thought much about model village sites, as I was after a "rural" feel, but I'll certainly check them out - a much more likely option than dolls' houses!

I'm not much into bonsai, to be honest: I love plants that are naturally small, but to artificially turn a normal-sized plant into a midget... (lol I think that if I've got size 6 feet I'd not be very happy in size 3 shoes! also, I wrote a peome, years ago, about "human bonsai").

I did check up a bit after a friend gave me a bonsai for my birthday; the care instructions were daunting: keep trimming the roots to keep them small, water almost daily - the plant lasted only a couple of months, I don't think my heart was in it.

4 Jun, 2011


is this site any use?

i thought the description sounded like the sort of thing you wanted? A Micro-mini is the smallest miniature rose bush. These bushes are under 12 inches tall. They have delicate little flowers that are in perfect form.

4 Jun, 2011


thanks much! I'm going there right now

thirty seconds later ... wow, that's a heck of a site! thanks so much for the link!

4 Jun, 2011


oh good! glad to be useful. im looking forward to seeing your magical garden when its on the way!!

4 Jun, 2011


thanks dear, but better not hold your breath in the meantime! Need to lay out the "ground", put contours in, before I can even think of planting.

But of course, I could start a mini-rose mini-bed in a planter in the meantime ...

4 Jun, 2011


what a good idea ~ might even grow from there!!

4 Jun, 2011


lol indeed. The "miniature garden" books I have show "gardens" in a planter saucer, let alone the planter itself.

And that link you gave me - I followed one of the links on that page, which led to another, which ... I've currently got a list about 80 pages long - now I only need to go through it all and refine. lol, well it beats doing housework

4 Jun, 2011


with all that reading you wont have time to make the garden ~ that saucer planter sounds intriguing!

4 Jun, 2011


they're quite old books, at least old enough to have only black and white photos! they're by Ashbury, can't remember the first name: there might be pics online, Aamzon has a lot of "tabletop gardens" but they all seem to be indoor ones, and I don't think I need more when I've got two that I'm struggling with. They use truly tiny roses, couple of inches high if that - I think I need to scale up a bit, even if only to practice

I just googled miniature garden and chose Images - there's stacks of pics, some of those gardens look eally tiny!

5 Jun, 2011


I love your ideas, Fran, and have often thought of trying to make a miniature garden myself because I do grow quite a few bonsai trees. Because you like the idea of a woodland feel, don't give up on them - they can be really rewarding and not difficult! I can see why you might have been put off, but I assure you, I only trim my trees once a year (Spring is the best time, but I haven't even done it yet this year). And you just water them whenever you're watering your other containers.

Like Teds, I was also thinking of alpines: just this morning I saw a very attractive dish with Sempervivums (house leeks) and Saponaria occimoides (tiny pink flowers), and even speedwell. Instead of fake grass, you could try a moss-like plant (called something like Serriola serriola, I'll look it up!). I love the idea of adding small rocks, too: lots of luck and have fun!

7 Jun, 2011


Thanks, Sheilabub, for both the encouragement and the ideas. I'll check out the moss option.

I think maybe my best bet would be to design the landscape, then work out where to place the plants in it, rather than get an idea and have to move plants. I thought about keeping them in pots, sunk into the "surface", so that I could move them aroound to find the best location for them and for me - and maybe even after that - keep possibly invasive plants in check - but it'd look a bit regimented, perhaps.

Ah well, I can start with them in pots while I'm arranging the layout, and if theat don't look too bad ... and if it does, I'll at least know where to plant them into the landscape

7 Jun, 2011

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