By Marty Ross
Once upon a time there was a Midwestern farmer named Frank who had a dream of moving to the lush, leafy tropics, where he could wear summer clothes all year round. Frank asked his friend Leo to join him on a grand adventure.
To reach their destination, Frank and Leo had to navigate narrow, rocky roads in Leo’s pickup truck. Establishing a new place for themselves in the tropics was hard work. They made a clearing under some palm trees, and laid a road of smooth fieldstones. To fill in they hauled many loads of gravel in an old dump truck.
Frank’s farming experience helped a lot. So did a little red bird, which surprised Frank by landing on his shovel. The little bird reminded Frank of home, and Frank was very happy to see it.
The two friends discovered beautiful blue-and-white pottery made by local artists, and bought a truckload to take back to the Midwest to sell. Chattering monkeys swinging in the palms overhead didn’t bother them a bit.
The bold farmers discovered a magical world far from their roots in the Midwest. They agreed they would return every winter and would never wear snow boots again.
Share your own fairy tale with some little one you love in a miniature garden: You can create a whole world in a flowerpot.
You need a pot, potting soil, and some small plants. (The plants will seem much bigger when you get down close.) Start with houseplants in 4-inch pots, or look for violas, tiny sedums, and exotic little succulents. Or even fragrant herbs with small leaves, such as thyme, which will be right in scale.
First, fill the pot with fresh potting soil.
Look around your potting shed for ideas and inspiration for your tale, or stop by a thrift store. You may find toy dinosaurs to populate a Jurassic miniature garden, or dollhouse furniture just the right size for a fairy tea party. Colorful marbles, bathroom tiles, bottle caps, teacups, and odd bits of hardware may help you tell your fairy-garden story.
You don’t need special tools to garden in miniature. You’ll find yourself using a plant label to dig tiny holes for plants. A paintbrush sweeps miniature garden pathways clean with a quick flick. Use a pair of small snippers to groom plants and prune them lightly into shape as they grow.
Above all have fun. Let yourself go. Creativity thrives in miniature gardens. Your garden may be small in size, but it will be big on charm.