Miniscapes and the hot date

My wife and I had a hot date last night. Before you allow you mind to wander, let me clarify. We are currently in the midst of one of our rare, warm and sunny springs. Back in the 1980s, I remember several years in a row when we enjoyed temperatures during the month of May that exceeded 80 degrees for weeks at a time. That weather was, of course, far from what may be considered normal in my corner of the Pacific Northwest.

A miniscape is simply a miniature landscape in a container. In this case, including the miniature chair and garden tools adds to the fun and whimsy of the little garden. Some miniscapes might include a great deal of detail and be themed for fairies, or sports teams – anything you might imagine could become the theme of your own miniscape. (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracilis’, Taxus cuspidata ‘Nana Aurescens’, Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Cumulus’ and Buxus sempervirons ‘Variegata’.)

So, yesterday, my wife and I went on one of our garden center dates, and it was HOT! Sunny warm weather, gorgeous wife by my side, and ultimately, a cart full of all kinds of plants for the garden. We Picked up a couple of tomato plants since we just don’t need as many as we would end up with if we planted a pack of seeds. I wanted two or three eggplants (they had some really cool heirloom varieties in stock) by my wife assured me that we would only need one. We also came to agreement on a flat of Marigolds, plus we found an assortment of herbs that we wanted to add to our herb garden.

Along with the conifers (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Verdonii’, Abies koreana ‘Cis’, Juniperus horizontalis ‘Mother Lode’) there are a couple Sempervivums and a tiny, slow-growing holly named, Ilex crenata ‘Dwarf Pagoda’

I managed to sneak a few cute little conifers into the cart along with some new miniature  Sedums and Sempervivums so that I could plant a couple of new containers that we had picked up from our favorite pot lady back when she had great sale prices a month or two ago. My wife gave me quite a look at the checkout stand when the girl scanned the new conifers, but when I explained my plan to fill the new containers, her gaze quickly morphed from a cold stare to something a bit more warm and inviting.

By the time we arrived back home, I had explained my plans for the new miniscapes that I would be creating and it seems that things did heat up just a degree or two with a squeeze here and a pat there — I decided that the potting up of those two ceramic pots would certainly hold off until today.

Miniscapes are perfect additions to the deck or patio. While making a gentle transition from patio to garden, they also bring the feel of the garden into the smaller and more intimate space of the garden room. (Picea glauca ‘Jean’s Dilly’, Picea abies ‘Pusch’, Juniperus communis ‘Effusa’ and Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Golden Mop’.)

One of the new miniscapes that I planted up today will end up as a housewarming gift for a couple of very nice, young friends that have recently purchased their first home. I am hoping to get them started off right with the year-round color, low-maintenance and tremendous joy of gardening with dwarf and miniature conifers. Once they have success with their new potted miniscape, I think I’ll be able to persuade them to branch out from more common or traditional landscape plans, and create a beautiful garden space built around the incredible pallet of color, texture and form of conifers!

My wife and I will also enjoy a new miniscape of dwarf and miniature conifers, and other cool little plants to add year-round color and interest to our patio. With the weather turning nice earlier than it has in many years, we expect to be spending a lot more time in the outdoor room of our patio, so it is always nice to have a collection of potted plants and miniature gardens to beautify that space.

I hope that springtime will arrive in your garden soon!

Conifer Lover

6 thoughts on “Miniscapes and the hot date

  1. I’ve always wanted to do a conifer planter, but can’t figure out what to do with them in the winter. I’m in zone 4b and assume the planter can’t be left out over the winter, but they are so hard to move and no where to put them. I wonder if you can dig the plants out in the fall and winter them in the ground, then remake the planter in the spring? Seems like it would disturb the plants so much they might die.


    1. Hi Wynne, you certainly do have a challenge living in Zone 4b. I have recommended that folks move their containers into a garage over the winter, but it sounds as though that is not an option for you. I would begin with very cold hardy plants – those rated a zone or two colder than yours would be a good place to start. Second, you might have success using a container made of wood, this way you could avoid the fragility limitations of ceramic pots. Then I would consider surrounding your pot with some type of insulation (perhaps bags of foam packing peanuts). Aside from extreme cold, one of the biggest culprits in winter is the wind. You will want to make sure to soak your plants prior to the freezing season, and check soil moisture through the winter so that should the temperature raise above freezing, the plants will be able to re-hydrate. Perhaps check with your local garden center folks to see what they may recommend in your area.


  2. Awesome blog, Ed. It was as if it was written for me !! I have no control with the mini’s and think you can’t have too many:) The containers are beautiful. I had to smile as I have some/many of them. But, see a few I would like to have..especially that red tippped one and the yellow tipped one in the first container. I have the little holly, variegata, Jean’s Dilly, and cumulous. I keep all mine in their own container and change(to larger) as each one needs it. Each one seems to grow at their own pace so I let them do it 🙂 This blog was a great way to start my day.


  3. we bring our miniature conifers into our glass porch for the winter. It protects the ceramic pots and lets us enjoy the small garden inside for the winter. only problem is that the collection keeps growing.


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