A miniature garden is fun to put together and does not require a large investment of money. Whether your preferred wee folk are fairies, gnomes or elves, it’s a great recycling effort to use things you’d throw out, find in the yard and score from garage sales.
Rule number 1 is there’s a good use for broken clay pots! The breaks are often u-shaped, so it’s a great start for the garden. Use a piece of another clay pot, a little smaller than the first, to make a landing. The rims of broken clay pots are great for forming the steps (I had a lot of these because I use them for plant labels).
Next, fill the container with potting mix (no rocks in the bottom, please). Moss, harvested from a tree cavity, lines each step and stabilizes the soil where the pieces of broken pots came together. The “forest” behind the gnome home is browallia, an easy annual that does well in both full sun and part shade locations.
The gnome home itself is a wooden bird house that I found at a garage sale. I added pumpkin seeds for roof shingles and the umbels from pine cones were glued on for siding. The front door is a plastic meat tray from the grocery store, cut to fit and glued in place. Finishing touches include a pot of flowers made from buttons, floral wire and beads; miniature clay mushrooms found in a thrift store; a gnome (the only thing purchased at retail for the garden); a pathway made from cut rounds from a dead branch; and “boulders” from rocks in the driveway.
Keep the miniature garden out of direct sun for a few days as the moss and browallia become established. Then gradually acclimate them to their new location.
Voila! A gnome home that makes a fun gift for my daughter’s birthday!