Miniature conifers inspire big imaginations

I believe that my love of miniature gardening began in the late 1960s or early ’70s. Terrariums were reemerging as a popular and low-care way to enjoy houseplants. I checked out several books on the subject from the local library, some of which included lists of where plants and supplies could be obtained through the mail. I ordered a few catalogs and a whole new world of plants was revealed to me.

I remember planting my first terrarium, with its multi-layered soil which included fine crushed rock for drainage and horticultural or activated charcoal to keep the soil “sweet.” My desire was to create a self-contained miniature world in a bottle. I found that the empty, clear glass gallon jugs, that were readily available near the dumpsters of the local drinking establishment, worked quite well as the vessels for my new experiments.

Picea glauca 'Blue Planet'
Picea glauca 'Blue Planet' is a half-sphere with a bluish tint.

When my first planting was complete, I found great satisfaction just sitting and gazing into my miniature garden, while my imagination lead me through all kinds of adventures in my new little world. I made several terrariums over the years including hand-crafted leaded glass containers complete with stained glass highlights. Occasionally I would sell custom creations to folks I would meet. This hobby lasted into the early 1980s and was completely overtaken by my growing love of dwarf and miniature conifers.

Pinus mugo 'Moppet'
Pinus mugo 'Moppet' is a tiny version of the Mugo pine.

These days, folks are creating all kinds of miniature gardens, whether they be a combination of plants in containers or other larger themed gardens such as authentic rock gardens, alpine gardens, railway or fairy gardens – all of which are ideal environments for growing miniature conifers.

I love to encourage young people to become involved in gardening and they really enjoy having a small garden to call their own. Miniature conifers in containers can provide kids with little landscapes to play out the many adventures of their active imaginations, while teaching them about plant care. Some of the most remembered play-times of my childhood revolve around playing in the simple gardens where I lived. Sometimes my adventures involved army men and vast battles, other times it was miniature construction projects with my Tonka Trucks.

Picea glauca 'Pixie Dust'
Almost nothing makes me happier than when the Picea glauca 'Pixie Dust' starts to shimmer in summer.

These days I love miniature gardens filled with colorful miniature and dwarf conifers, complemented with other miniature plants. I still love to sit and gaze into my garden, whether be the miniatures or my full-sized garden plants and allow my imagination to conjure grand ideas. I hope you will find inspiration in your gardens, whatever their size, and enjoy the tranquility of gardening with easy-care conifers.

Conifer Lover

8 thoughts on “Miniature conifers inspire big imaginations

  1. As usual a great blog !!..That pixie dust is a real beauty. Hopefully, when i go to my garden center this Friday, he will have received confirmation of what he will be getting from Iseli’s. Only a few more months to wait until Spring !!


  2. I too played with terrariums in my younger days, Now though I enjoy the art of Bonsai. But the advent of all these beautiful conifer hybrids leaves me excited and frustrated! I can’t (sometimes) bonsai a conifer I love watching grow to is full size due to it’s unusual color or growth habit. Wow what a problem!


  3. Hi Ed,
    Great blog…any idea on what that conifer is to the left of the Pinus Mugo “moppet” in the above picture you posted?.I am kind of thinking Abies but ….Keep the blog rolli’n!.



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