By Glenn DiNella
You can make a miniature garden any time of year, but it’s certainly a fun winter gardening project to lift your spirits while waiting for spring. I used a combination of houseplants and tender tropicals to create this island oasis. It spends winters indoors but adorns my patio the other three seasons.
I started with an attractive ceramic pot from Lowe’s, making sure there were drainage holes. It’s a good idea to cover the holes with stones or pot shards to keep soil from falling out. And a saucer will collect excess water so floors and furniture aren’t damaged if you overwater.
Add some high-quality potting mix (not topsoil or dirt from the yard) and start placing your largest plants. I found this small sago palm among Lowe’s houseplants, but they are cold-hardy in lower parts of the Southeast.
Other plants in this tropical paradise include lucky bamboo, small flapjack sedum, a mystery sedum, colorful croton, and Cryptanthus ‘Red Star’. With the exception of the water-loving croton I just couldn’t resist, I selected plants that like lots of light, good drainage, and minimal attention.
I arranged the plants without any rhyme or reason; I simply tried to stage a little tropical beach scene. Just place plants in whatever arrangement looks good to your artistic eye. I topped it off with play sand just for looks. You’ll want at least 2 inches of sand on top, so dark soil doesn’t show through.
Water with a gentle sprinkle to keep your beach from eroding. When inside, I often give the plants just a heavy misting of water from a spray bottle.
I finished off the arrangement with a tiny bromeliad from Lowe’s. It can survive on just a misting of water.
Some seashells from a past beach trip and a few little props from a local doll shop and craft store set the scene. Now if I could just shrink myself down to size, so I could kick back in that comfy chair.