The Sevier County Master Gardener Flower and Garden Show
Stop by and see us there!
Check out lots of new mini garden goodies for your fairy garden, and plenty for your full size gardens too! We hope to see you!
This is what I think of when I think happy thoughts. Sun, sand, toes in the water, and a fruity frozen beverage sporting a fairy-size umbrella. Ahhhh!
You haven’t heard from us much lately. Our apologies. What a Spring it has been! We are so grateful to be busy… but one day our landlord walked in and announced he was selling our building. Soon. So on top of our busiest season we have been hunting a new location, hiring contractors, designing a new space… oh so many little details. Len is shouldering most of this and he’s been a champ.
If that weren’t enough, there is a sweet little angel named Oliver who thinks he might prefer to make his entrance into the world right side up, making his ETA impossible to predict. Maybe July… maybe August. We’ll just have to pick a moving date and keep our fingers crossed!
Even though it’s been a bit stressful, we are thrilled about our new location and our new retail space! We can’t wait for our customers to see it. For that matter, WE can’t wait to see it. We’re not there yet! The plan is to expand our line of Miniature Garden accessories, as well as Garden Art and Home and Patio Decor. Beautiful, quality items we’ve never carried before. It’s very exciting!
Stay tuned! Updates to follow!
It’s time again for the Sevier County Master Gardener’s Flower and Garden Show! This is an opportunity and a great time you don’t want to miss. There is so much to see and activities for the kids too.
We’ll be there with full size garden decor, plenty of information about outdoor lighting and water features and, of course, lots of Miniature Garden accessories. Stop by and say Hi. We would love to see you!
There is a drive about a quarter-mile long from the highway to my house. One section is beautifully tree-lined and runs along our creek. Squirrels scamper across the road, rabbits peek out of the grass with noses wiggling and birds flit from tree to tree. It’s as picturesque as it sounds. On a good day, you’ll see deer, too.
This happened just last week. It was sunny and spring-like and three pretty does stood in the tall grass by the creek. Perfection! These are the moments that confirm my secret suspicion that I really am a Disney Princess and my life is a Fairy Tale (cue the song and dance).
I suppose this mindset explains my love of all things magical and sparkly and small… including fairies and mini gardens. And bunnies. And baby ducks. And Yorkies. Yes, my Yorkie sparkles.
My list above includes several small adorable things. But that doesn’t mean they go together (fairies tease Yorkies incessantly). In miniature gardening, scale, or the relationship in size of all the plants and accessories, is your most important consideration.
You may be a free spirit that says, “I don’t want to “design” my mini garden, that takes all the fun out of it!” But you still have to pay attention to scale, or it just won’t look right.
Here are a couple of examples of scale mis-match:
Get it? I know. It was funnier at 4:00 in the morning.
Scale is easy. Miniature garden accessories come in all sizes. Use larger ones in big pots and outside gardens, and use tiny ones in teacup gardens and terrariums. Just make sure they go together.
That’s really all there is to managing scale in your miniature garden. You’ve got this, my friends. The world of fairies and mini garden goodies is your wonderland. Have fun!
BTW, I’m still waiting for a Fairy Godmother. The above mentioned wildlife does NOT clean my house.
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?
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…).
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Here are two simple layouts for a basic MG that demonstrates the impact of applying some of these PEs.
Straight pathway, similar size sprigs used throughout, all focal objects of similar scale.
Tapered pathway, progressively smaller and finer textured sprigs, progressively smaller scale for focal objects.
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.
A magical quality in the creation of a miniature garden lies in the ability to create a physical destination, a cerebral destination or both.
What the John Henry is he talking about???
Ok, a little more information so that my thoughts may make sense to other human beings.
When creating a physical destination within an MG (my lazy way to say “Mini Garden”), one would create an actual path, trail or flow (like a dry river bed, stepping stones or such) that leads one’s eyes to a focal point (more on focal point in a future post).
When creating a cerebral destination within a MG, one focuses on creating a theme (see Kathy’s inspiring prior post on themes) that pulls the viewer mentally into the garden. Through the eyes the viewer can “walk” around the scene and examine the elements. The viewer is mentally drawn into the scene.
An MG that has an interesting, physical path AND strong theme can do both at once. The mind becomes filled and occupied with the theme of the MG but the “eye” is drawn along the path to the focal point. In a well composed MG that is purposely created to draw attention to the focal point, it is hard to resist taking that virtual “walk” down the path or “float” up the dry stream bed.
Here is an example:
The cabin, dwarf spruce and stone work create a woodland theme that pulls the mind in. The stone steps going up the wall and the stepping stones lead one’s eyes straight to the front door.
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!