Monday, 29 September 2014

Plants, pergolas, pigs: Make a miniature garden

by Heather/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
I hate gardening with all my might. Five or ten minutes of weeding or pruning and I’m in a really shouty, sweary mood and I DON’T CARE IF THE NEIGHBOURS CAN HEAR ME! But miniature gardening … ahhh … that’s a whole different thing.

When I was a kid in the 70s, there was a 'Make a Miniature Garden' competition at my school's summer fete every year. There were always lots of entries, mostly done by adults, each one created in a tin lid.
by Tiffany Terry/CC BY 2.0 (adapted)
I was fascinated by those tiny, enticing worlds. I spent ages feasting my eyes on each scaled-down path, pond, tree, flower, gate, shed … I wanted to shrink myself and skip from one garden to the to other. 

Yet for some reason I never got to make one.

Finally, this summer, four decades later, I unleashed my inner miniature gardener through my 8-year-old and her friends with this ‘garden in a bowl’ project (who has tin lids lying around these days?). 

I got some cheap wooden bowls from the bargain shop (where by a stroke of luck I also found some cute miniature fencing in the craft section) and filled them with compost.

Before we began, I showed the kids pictures on the internet of miniature gardens other people had made to inspire them. It got them fizzing with ideas: One wanted a vegetable patch and pigs, one wanted hers more like a play park, two of them wanted to link their gardens with a bridge …

So we went for a little walk to collect greenery and came back with carrier bags bulging with leaves, wild flowers, twigs, berries and fir cones. Then we rummaged through the recycling boxes and the art and craft drawers for anything that might come in useful.

With everything spread out on the table, they got to work. I hovered with the hot glue gun and advice if needed.
They were totally absorbed.
Two and a half hours later (and they would have gone on a lot longer if parents hadn't come to pick them up), here were their final creations:

Garden No. 1
I love the half-a-toilet-roll pig sties and the bunting.

Garden No. 2
The pergola made from a broken piece of doll’s house landing is a very clever touch.
Garden No. 3
Look at the little rope swing made from a button and string.

Garden No. 4
And I love the “cacti” and the totem pole here.

So, do I feel satiated? Mmmm ... almost. It's okay though. I happened to buy one extra bowl. You know. Just in case.


  1. This may be what I need to do to house all the miniature animals I keep collecting by accident --

  2. Ha! Good idea, Janet. I sometimes put miniature animals I find around the house at the base of my pot plants - they kind of look 'right' there. You know, gorilla in the jungle, cow grazing...!

  3. You've got me giggling :) One extra bowl? I somehow suspect that might not be quite enough! (not least because I'd like to come round and join you)

  4. What a fab idea...I'm going to try this out! My mummy used to do miniature gardens when she was little and enter them in her church competitions. A lovely childhood memory! #letkidsbekids

    1. Yes, isn't it great when lovely childhood memories get turned into lovely memories to make with your own children?

  5. These are fantastic! What a lovely idea, I know my son would love this.
    These gardens are amazing, they did really well.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

    1. Yes, I liked how they each went in their own direction.

  6. These are wonderful,
    I'm definitely going to give it a go with O! :) x