Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vegetable Garden:

The August harvest diminishes to those vegetables that tolerate the hot and dry weather. Tomatoes ripen into sweet treats in the sun and pears weigh heavily on the espalier supports. Beans must be picked daily before they attract Jack of Beanstalk fame.
We allow the chives to flower so we can listen to the hum of the bees tumbling about in the nectar.

Now I will take you back to the beginning - perhaps it will be of some help to see the steps I took to develop this little vegetable garden.

A blank slate. I felt blank also. I knew I wanted to have espaliered fruit on the wall. I hoped I could reproduce a bean tripod as well as a tomato plant - carrots were easy, lettuce not satisfactory but chives and lavender quite cheerful.

Above you can see the brass frame and the tree framework for the pear tree.  I painted the frame later to dull the finish. It made quite a difference. I have also installed a small swivel light in the right corner. It has a battery pack concealed under the garden platform and a rocker switch on the outside allows it to be turned on easily.

I originally thought I would have two tripods of the same height - one for beans and one for tomatoes. I did make them both but reduced the size of the tomato as it blocked the fruit tree too much.

The foliage on the bean, tomato and pear are an adaptation of plastic foliage I have found inexpensively in dollar stores. I topped the bamboo tripod, acquired from a deconstructed table mat, with painted wooden plant pots. Tomatoes are painted seed pods from Pieris Japonica - look for them this spring and dry them.

The beans are made from Fimo and tiny bean flowers from tiny bits of a white flower.

You can see that I have worked on each plant using a platform of foam that I covered with a tea/coffee grinds mix to represent soil.

Carrot tops are painted lichen I gathered while away last summer. The pavers are made from the tops of cardboard egg cartons. The texture is fantastic, they are easily cut and a dusting of crushed brown or grey chalk gives such a realistic effect. I look forward to using the egg cartons as bricks or pavers in the future.

Above the parts are beginning to be placed to fill the space available.

 Now for the pear tree:

It was so much easier to work on the wall when it could be removed. Once the garden was complete I glued the wall into place. The pears are made with Translucent Fimo and Spanish Olive coloured Sculpy. I shaped them then made a little cross at the base with a needle while I held the pear with an ice pick-type tool to create a space for the stalk.

Using crushed chalk I put a tiny dot of brown on the blossom end with a needle. The pears are brushed with brown and a variety of yellow chalks then baked on tin foil for about 15 minutes at 300F. It was too long, as some smaller pears turned very brown. You can see a couple of the rejects with the compost pile in the wheelbarrow.

I also used a reject pear to drop on the soil with some leaves spotted yellow and brown. I had to shape each leaf into a more rounded shape. After these photos were taken I painted the frame and used a dry brush to yellow some of the lower leaves and also edge some with brown acrylic paint. All these small effects help make it more realistic. I don't know really what I am doing but as it is miniature nothing is irretrievable. ... and it is so much fun when one feels successful!

Below is an overall view of progress to date:

 I  want to impress upon new mini hobbyists in blogland that it is not necessary to spend mega dollars to enjoy our interesting and varied hobby so hope my descriptions are not too long winded.

Some of you may not yet have seen my friend Elizabeths blog, and many tutorials at .  Elizabeth's sure eye for scale and clever ideas are a pleasure to follow. Enjoy!

Thank you to those who take the time to visit and follow my blog. I do take time to visit your blogs as well, often lurking if I am not on my own computer.

All the best.


  1. OMG.....I'm completely in love with your court yard!!!! It looks amazing, and wants me to come and pick a juicy pear from your garden:))))) If I see this it makes me realize that I have so much more work to do;)

  2. Hello Janine, I hope one day I will be able to make a miniature-garden as enchanting as yours is. Thank you for the inspiration and tips & trics.

  3. looks amazing, just what i wish i had in my own backyard!


  4. This is absolutely incredible! It looks so real and I love the feeling you get from watching it! It looks like it´s nice weather there and it makes you long for summer! Here in Sweden we have -17 celsius, it's really cold! But I bought potting soil today and going to start planting seeds that will grow into the summer =) Thanks for sharing this with us and inspired both full size and miniature planting =) This made ​​me really happy!

  5. wow, thank you very much for showing how it's done I really appreciate the effort you took to explain everything and the tips too

    I'm going to keep an eye out for plant things during my next dollar store visit :)


  6. What a lovely surprise! The garden looks incredible! Love love! I have never planned on making a garden for my "Garfiel" house but the more I see of your growing garden, the more excited I get about making one! But first...many other things.
    Thank you for sharing.

  7. The garden looks so wonderful! I love the combination of a formal garden with vegetables. The tomatoes and espaliered pear are great!
    By coincidence I have just finished making and espaliered apple tree this weekend. I will post it later today.

    How did you make the box hedging? I also want some box hedging but I'm not yet sure how I want to make it.

    1. Dear Josje,
      Some years ago I bought the sponge-type box hedging at a large craft store named michaels during their Christmas sales. I thought it was part of the Lemax Christmas Village collection as it was displayed in that area.
      I was looking unsuccessfully for more as I was going to put it on the outside walls.
      During a visit to Otterine's blog I noticed a shrub that looked similar. She called it a Squeeze Me tree. I searched under that name and found the same foam hedging in two places. and Model Builders Supplies under llandscaping then hedges. The size I have was 1 1/2" x 12" x 3 lengths in a package. Their price is $11.49 for a 12" length plus of course postage etc.
      I do like the foam for the very formal enclosure. I do have a couple of pieces left that are only a couple of inches long. I will mail you a piece if you wish so,that you can see and feel the product.

      Hope this is of some help to you.
      Regards Janine
      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. It is very heartening to see that people enjoy this little space as much as I do.

  8. Just so beautiful! I love your garden and all your techniques are wonderful. Thank you for sharing ;)

  9. Love the garden and thanks for sharing how you did it. Lovely to look at. Now I'm wishing the weather was a bit warmer here so I could start a veggie garden.


  10. Wow your garden is amazing I love it. It looks so real the pears are fantastic. Thank you for sharing your wonderful work.
    Hugs Maria

  11. JANINE!!!!! It is like a mini PARADISE! Love at first sight!


    1. I can't stay away! I love the light over the kitchen door, I love the chives lots , I love the pears in the wheel barrow, love the water in the fountain, love the tomatoes on the tripod, and the beans and the way the garden looks like the sun is blessing it and I love the ariel view and the close ups..... and , and , .....I'm out of breath!


  12. Your vege garden is fantastic. I never thought of using the foliage items from the cheap shop. I really like the pear it looks great. Thanks for the inspiration. IndyPoppy

  13. This garden is stunning. I love everything about it. The composition of colors is great and so are your photos. Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs, Drora

  14. Great garden Janine, I love the second shot of the garden with the cat checking out what's on the wheelbarrow, it looks like the gardener is just having a rest.

  15. What a great team you are. Absolutely stunning. A standard to aspire to.

  16. I love this garden! I agree that it isn't necessary to spend a lot of money to enjoy this hobby. I much prefer to figure out how to make things myself with what I have on hand. I am inspired but what you've done. :)

  17. Janine, your garden is a work of art and you are a great artist. You are also patience incarnated. I love all your ideas. You are so inspiring. I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined such a beautiful dollhouse garden could be possible. You have demonstrated that it is possible. It is so colourful and original. I can't get enough of looking at it. That little cat looks so real and is really behaving so like a cat would the way he is positioned. I would say that you have found the ideal cat for your garden. Also, I take my hat off to your wonderful husband for being so helpful to you. Again, thanks a million for creating this wonderful little corner of Paradise that I can come and visit as often as I want.

  18. Oh, your garden is wonderful, full of warmth, it makes you want to wander around and listen to the bees... Thanks for the 'how-to's', you made it all easy to understand. I'll just go and have another peek..........

  19. Your garden is fantastic! It has a really lovely atmosphere, as all the best real gardens do. I love gardening, but when it comes to mini-ing, I never really think of them, they always seem a little false. But yours is wonderful, and I think I have made the decision to add one to Daviot House!

    Only one small difference, yours is completely weed and mess free - Looking out at my muddy, Winter real garden, I wish I could magic away the weeds and have it looking as pristine as yours!


  20. Hello Janine, your garden is very beautiful. You are a skillful farmer. Everything seems to grow very well in your garden. You have taken much trouble concerning vegetables, fruit, flowers a.s.o. The wall is beautiful again. It´s nice to here that your husband is interested in your hobby. My husband assist me often. Some days ago I got as present a beautiful chair made by Lea Frisoni from Paris. - I became delighted when you told me that you have two Aalto bowls. That´s why I like to sent you a little present - a small Aalto bowl. If this is OK, I need your address. You can send it to my email: Many hugs Kati

  21. Un trabajo muy original y ......perfecto!

  22. Fantastic garden! You dit a great job!!!!
    All the plants!! You are a born miniature gardener!!

  23. It's fantastic to realize such a garden in miniature. I love it.

  24. It's hard to believe from the pics that this is a mini garden. It's beautifully done and if I ever do a garden, I'll be back here to soak up the inspirational pictures yet again.