Pink is My Signature Color

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And it’s kind of a given that Fairies prefer pink…

So naturally I found the following article most interesting.  It was written for Mothers Day, so I’m a day late and a dollar short, as usual.  Still, it’s good info for those who like pink, and succulents, and fairies, and MOTHERS!

Pink Succulents Mom Will Love

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With Mother’s Day right around the corner, you’re probably getting ready to shower your mom with love! But, deciding what to get mom gets harder each year. Instead of pink or red roses, try something new – pink succulents! While succulents typically are seen in various shades of green or blue, pretty pinks and ruby reds are perfect for Mother’s Day.

Succulents are trending in the décor world right now and look great in any home. They’re also very low maintenance and easy to care for, perfect for a busy mom on the go.

Here are five succulents to buy for mom this Mother’s Day:

Perle von Nurnberg

The overlapping leaves of this echeveria species are beautiful in color. A greyish brown base with light pink and purple highlights creates contrast between the leaves.  In the summer, the flowers can become coral to red with a yellow interior. As with all succulents, be sure to keep soil dry to avoid root rot and growth damage.

Afterglow

This echeveria truly lives up to its name. With beautiful pastel pink and purple leaves, these succulents look like something from a fairytale, a flower any mom is sure to love. Afterglow is perfect for indoor or outdoor containers. When growing succulents in containers, be sure to use Espoma’s Cactus Mix for best results.

Aurora 

This sedum variety is definitely a fan favorite. Its bead-shaped, pink leaves earned Aurora the adorable nickname “Pink Jelly Beans” – and what mom wouldn’t love that? Yellow and white summer blooming flowers pair perfectly with the existing pink foliage.

Paddle Plant

Also known as Flapjack Plant or Desert Cabbage, this succulent gets its name from its flat, wide leaves. Paddle plant is typically found in green, but becomes accented with red when it receives enough sunlight. Like most of the succulents on this list, the pink and red color only becomes more prominent with more sun.

Graptopetalum pachyphyllum 

Bonus points for mom if she can pronounce the name! This species has beautiful rosettes of pinkish leaves, topped by tiny, yellow flowers with pointed petals. When given a lot of sunlight, the gray foliage can show a reddish tint.

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Better Garden Photos

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You might be wanting to capture images of your beautiful garden or hoping to improve your photography skills.  Perhaps you simply want to prove that fairies really ARE real.  No matter your reason, we’ve picked up a few tips here and there that we can share with you that can change your garden photos into something special!

LIGHT

Light is everything.  But don’t be fooled into thinking that a bright sunny day is the best for taking pictures in your garden.  That beautiful sunshine causes harsh shadows and washes out colors.

A cloudy day can give you plenty of light and no shadows!  Some of the most amazing effects are achieved in lower light or even in a misty rain.  Just remember your tripod!

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TIME

Dawn is a lovely time of day for capturing your garden, and also at dusk.  While your favorite camera is important, your tripod is essential.  It allows you to shoot at low light and you don’t have to be concerned about camera movement and blurry pictures.

PAUSE

Before you click that shutter button, take a couple of seconds to check for unwanted elements in your photo.  A faded blossom or discolored leaves are easy enough to remove with editing software, but a moment spent now will save time later.  Plus, you will learn composition.

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Spring may actually be here at last, friends.  I hope we have given you some inspiration to get out into your gardens and enjoy them.  Just watch your step while you’re behind that viewfinder… good gardens bring fairies!

The Making of a Mushroom

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We’ve been spending a lot of time in the evening and on weekends creating mini garden accessories for our shoppe.  This is fun and relaxing for us, and we would much rather be crafting than all the other things we should be doing.

My mini mushrooms are made of clay, and they start out looking like this.  They have to dry for 24 hours.

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The next evening, we paint.  Red is the most popular, but I love turquoise and I feature turquoise in many of my fairy gardens.

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They aren’t spotted… that’s just my kitchen lights 🙂  This coat of paint dries for 24 hours and then comes the next step.

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Polka-dots!  These little guys are so much fun to make.  We sell them in packages of three.  Super cute!

I keep saying “we” and I should give some credit to my trusty assistant, who thinks I keep some strange hours.

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A Deeper Perspective

“When what is, isn’t … and vice versa.”

Have you ever been pulled into a photo of the layers of mountains (like in the Smokies) that takes you miles beyond the foreground? Yet, the image is on a thin piece of photo paper, canvas or even the display of a cell phone?

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The typical camera captures images similar to the way our eyes take in a view. So, when we later view the image, the scene can make us feel as though we are where the camera was at the time. At least visually.

The “Perspective Elements” garnered from the image of the Smokies can be applied to an MG. So what are these “Perspective Elements” (PEs)?

If you examine the above image, you will notice the geometry of the mountains is different between the near mountains and the far mountains. The mountains appear smaller, are closer together and begin to lose detail the farther away they are. By using this observation when planning an MG you can create an MG with a “Deeper Perspective.”

Now, don’t start thinking you will need to locate mathematically accurate representations of all objects of a scene. Not only would this likely change one’s character to lemming-like and guide you involuntarily over a cliff, it is just not necessary. Do not completely remove the fun factor of MG creation by trying to do the near impossible. Are you familiar with the saying, “We have been doing so much for so long with so little that we can now do anything with nothing in no time”? Well, let’s not practice that here. Here we are going to rely on the mind of the viewer to fill in all the blanks. Let us remember that even Picasso became famous for his creations!

So, here are some of the PEs that I feel are good to be aware of and that may be applied to MGs to gain a “Deeper Perspective.” It is important to note that what we are trying to achieve is the creation of depth that defies the size of the container used (…what is, isn’t…).

Change in Scale

Placing smaller scaled items in the back of your scene. Normally we try hard to match the scale of objects throughout an MG. If you are trying to achieve more depth, then you can use out-of-scale objects to your advantage. Smaller scaled objects will go in the back of your scene and larger scaled objects will be placed in the foreground. Now, this does not mean we throw out the rule of matching scale between objects. The rule of scale is applied differently. One should strive to match the scale of objects placed near each other. These items will be in the same or similar position relative to the foreground and background of your scene so their scales needs to match. Now, it can be challenging to find an object you desire in all the different scales you may want. Don’t fret. Finding objects that vary in height or width alone can work.

Change in Texture

This PE can be challenging to apply in practicality. Plant material and crafted items offer the most opportunities here. Coarser textures in the foreground and finer textures in the background.

Change in Width of Linear or Curvilinear Features

A pathway, stream or strip of “turf” that becomes narrower as it makes its way to the back of the scene is a powerful method to creating depth. This not only applies to linear paths, but to meandering (curvilinear) ones as well.

Change in Object Spacing

Similar and repetitive objects can be spaced closer together as their positions approach the back of the scene. Placement of objects such as fence posts, stepping stones and hedging plants can take advantage of this PE. This is also a strong method of creating depth.

When most or all of these PEs are combined the effect can be quite impressive. Trying to apply all of these PEs to each element can be very challenging. The more of them you are able to apply, the more convincing your scene will be. But remember, the idea is to have fun. Finding you at the bottom of a cliff is not the goal.

MGs rely heavily on the imagination of the creator and the viewers. This holds true with the attempt of creating depth. Here are some tips that will help you get deeper (was too good to resist) into leveraging PEs in your creations.

A Single Point Perspective

A grasp of this concept is helpful when you are planning your MG scene with depth. Especially when laying out your linear or curvilinear elements. Here is a visual example of a single point perspective. Notice how the foreground items that carry through to the background all merge at a single point on the distant horizon.

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Use Two or More Similar Focal Objects of Different Scales

If you have similar objects such as: vehicles, structures, animals, hand tools, etc. of different and appropriate scales you can use them to your advantage. Placing the smaller items behind or “beyond” the larger version of the object will create depth.

Using Similar Objects With Different Textures

Some of the objects that come to mind are loose materials. Like small stones for pathways and “creek-beds.” The stones may be sorted by relative size and the larger ones used in the foreground and the smaller in the background. This applies to stepping stones as well. Since there are lots of different textured green plants (real and faux plants), there are opportunities to use plants with coarse texture in the foreground and finer texture in the background. Small stones used as “boulders” are available in a nearly endless selection, using larger and coarser textures in the foreground and finer textures and smaller sizes in the background.

When What is, Isn’t …

Here are two simple layouts for a basic MG that demonstrates the impact of applying some of these PEs.

No intentional use of PEs

Straight pathway, similar size sprigs used throughout, all focal objects of similar scale.

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The same container with PEs applied … “it is the same container, isn’t it?”

Tapered pathway, progressively smaller and finer textured sprigs, progressively smaller scale for focal objects.

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Well, we  have progressed all the way to the end of this article on using perspective techniques in an MG. If you have learned one thing I hope it is this: stay away from the edge of the cliff.

 

Theme Is Everything, Darling

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When we first brought Miniature Garden supplies into the shop, our intent was to carry only Smoky Mountain themed products.  Because we live in the Smokies, and because that’s what vacationing fairies expect… cabins, log furniture, black bears and so on.

Well, we learned quickly that the world of fairies and miniature gardens is vast and breathtaking.  In no way could we limit ourselves to one theme.

Sometimes the hardest part of creating a miniature garden is getting started.  Once you choose a theme, the rest is a piece of cake.  You can’t stop yourself.  I know.  Here are a few theme ideas to get you thinking.

Garden – Probably the easiest and least expensive theme.  Choose small plants that resemble trees, shrubs and grass. Then add as little or as much as you like.  Furniture, walkways, fences, an arbor or birdhouse… there’s no wrong answer here.  If you’re crafty, you can make everything yourself with stones, twigs, acorns, string, wire and other things you have at home.

Smokies – We love our Smoky Mountains, and we’ve got you covered.  Because bears.  And Bambi.  And baby raccoons and foxes.  I can’t even.  Log furniture is right at home in a miniature garden, along with stone walls, streams and bridges.fullsizeoutput_1c00

Picnic – Set up lawn chairs and a fire pit or throw a checkered blanket on the grass. Put a picnic basket and lemonade on a nearby tree stump. Just don’t forget the cookies… fairies love cookies.

Camping – The most popular little garden at the shop is our camper. A tent works just as well, though. Add a campfire and tiny camping gear. After this photo was taken, I found a little pink flamingo for their yard!jgs-0034

Beach – Brightly colored adirondack chairs, umbrellas, white sand, tiny flip-flops, blue gravel or glass for water… the possibilities are endless. This one is fun.

Farm – So many cute chicken coops, bunny hutches, lambs, ducks and baby pigs. Plant rows of tiny vegetables or add a mini vintage pickup truck. fullsizeoutput_270fVictorian – Create a garden with formal benches, statuary or fountains.

Sports – East Tennessee fairies love to tailgate, and we all know their favorite team.

We hope these ideas get your creativity flowing.  Jump on in.  Miniature gardens are all about cuteness and whatever makes you smile.  And we’re always here to help.  Have fun!

Welcome To Just Mini Gardens!

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Many of you already know us as Just Gardens Supplies in Seymour, Tennessee, purveyors of professional quality outdoor lighting and water feature components. But we are so much more than pumps and landscape lighting!

Our retail shop takes pride in its selection of unique, quality garden art that can add ambiance  and personality to lawn, garden and home.  Most recently we have added our miniature garden department, filled with distinctive, enchanting accessories for miniature gardens.

Len Stevens is owner, boss and resident genius. I’m serious. He knows so much about everything. He built this business from the ground up. Come see him for expert advice about lighting, water features and ponds. He is also very knowledgeable about landscape design and plants for both full size and mini gardens.  Len is passionate about helping his customers be successful.

I’m Kathy. It’s my job to argue with QuickBooks every day. Sometimes I win. I’ve made it my mission to find  the most beautiful fairies and premium miniature garden accessories for our customers. Len calls me “Senior Buyer” because he’s all professional like that, but really, I shop.  I even get to build mini gardens. Doesn’t really sound like work, does it?

Blogging is a new experience, and we have a lot to learn. But we’re excited to share everything we’re discovering about miniature gardens with you. I’m completely addicted and my little gardens are all over the shop!

We plan to share tips about the best plants for mini gardens and terrariums and how to care for them. I would like to post tutorials for mini garden accessories you can easily make yourself. You will hear about brand new products for sale at Just Gardens for your miniature gardens as soon as we get them in. Lots of photos and ideas will inspire you to build your own mini garden. Anything that we think will be helpful or interesting to you, we will pass along.

We want you to have fun with your miniature gardens and be successful. That’s our goal. Follow us so you won’t miss a thing!