Elf-sized gardens to charm your kids

How cute is that!? Photo courtesy of Janit Calvo, the mini-garden guru, of Two Green Thumbs

You don’t have to be a kid to love little. Adults are as likely to be as passionate about dollhouses, for example, as children are. Just look at the Kensington Dollshouse Festival in London, England, which has been drawing mostly grown-up fans from all over the globe for 25 years.

These days, little is big in the garden world, too. Miniature gardens are hot. Janit Calvo, a Toronto native now permanently transplanted to Seattle, has been leading the mini-pack since about 2001. She describes Two Green Thumbs, which she runs with her husband Steve, as the world’s smallest garden centre. Their site sells everything you’d need for a miniature garden*, there’s also a selection on their Etsy page, and Janit writes about all things small on her Mini Garden Guru blog.

Another holiday-themed miniature garden from Janit Calvo, Two Green Thumbs

To get kids excited about growing things, suggest to Santa that a miniature garden would be a cute way in. You can create one together – in a terrarium, an indoor dish garden or, if you choose well and are bitten by the mini-bug, perhaps even outdoors.

Two Green Thumbs ships their accessories and special miniature garden growing media to Canada (*everything but plants, though their miniature plant knowledge transcends borders). For accessories in Toronto, the Little Dollhouse Company, one of North America’s oldest suppliers, also offers a decent range  to explore in person. [Update: Janit confesses this store was her childhood inspiration.]

For plants, use your imagination looking for tiny things over the winter. Potted thyme would make perfect shrubbery, and Richter’s Herbs is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm, if you’re up for a country drive. Or look for tiny houseplants or terrarium plants such as baby’s tears – or wee cacti or succulents. Just remember that any plants you combine should need the same growing conditions. And, as for any living thing you bring home, be sure mum and dad are willing to assume ongoing care. Elves can’t always be trusted.

Other people’s photos rarely appear on Toronto Gardens, but these are an exception. Thanks, Janit. Full disclosure: we get no benefit from any link or mention here – we just think it’s a neat idea you might find interesting.


  1. Oh that's great 🙂 They remind me of the miniature gardens class we have every year (kids only) at our local garden show.

  2. Hi. I found you as a comment-er over at Mr. Subjectives blog! I used to have glasses like in your picture, with red sides…and I loved them so…I had to come over and check out your blog!!!

    I had a fairy garden all done up a few years ago…it was a lot of fun, and I may need to re-make one now that I have two young grandkids living with me! Thanks for the inspiration!

    You can see my fairy garden HERE and HERE. Sorry I see my camera was really bad back in 2008!!!

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