To form a miniature garden you need a container only a few inches deep. For a very small garden this could even be a soup plate. For a larger one use something like an old washing-up bowl or even an old sink.
Garden centres sell long, shallow, plastic trays intended to stand flowerpots in and these can be used for a mini-garden.
For the tiniest garden plant one or two items in a well washed seashell. Drill holes in the chosen container for the drainage.
Remember, if keeping indoors the garden container will need something underneath to protect furniture or carpets from any drainage.
The compost to use is either John Innes No 2 or No 6 for permanent plants. Fill the container with this to within half an inch from the top and water before placing plants.
After placing the plants, cover the top with a thin layer of gravel.
This not only gives a neat look, but slows down the evaporation of moisture from the compost and keeps mud off the plants.
Indoor gardens should be kept near a window and put outdoors, if possible, for a ‘holiday’ during the summer.
If the room is very dray, spray the leaves as well as watering the soil.
A miniature garden may just be a group of plants or a number of plants laid out like a real garden.
Here’s a number of ideas which may be useful when constructing a miniature garden.
Washed pebbles of interesting colours and shapes; small gnarled twigs, roots and fir cones; sand for pathways; sea or snail shells; small pieces of mirror or foil for a pool or a tiny pot filled with water; small candle or night light set well away from the plants; an arch made from wire to train a creeper over.
Now for the plants. Australian violet (viola hederacea) with white flowers and two inches high from May to October; baby’s tears (helxine soleirolii aurea) ideal for the edges with tiny golden permanent leaves; centaurium portents or scilloides with brilliant pink flowers two to three inches high which last all summer; crassula (crassula bolusi), which has a rosette of evergreen leaves, pale green above and dark red below, and clusters of pink flowers in summer and autumn.
There is a massive choice for a miniature garden and it is something children enjoy, getting their hands dirty and seeing the results.