Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A Garden of earthly delights

For the Past Week or so, I have been making Flowers!

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I am actually a pretty good gardener in Real Life and I have turned the grounds around my home into a house with a garden rather than a house sitting among the weeds.  It has taken a long time to  FINALLY be happy? ( for a while anyway) with the planting combinations and the way the flowers are maturing.
Gardening is an ongoing process and even when you think you are done, YOU ARE NOT.  It is still officially winter, and I haven't yet done my big Spring Clean-Up yet.  It NEEDS to be done and SOON, as my garden is a mess right now, littered with droppings of brown (evergreen?) needles  from the surrounding trees. The buds are beginning to form and the bulbs are already poking their heads up and out of the earth.  Anticipating the time when the flowers will be in full bloom and to off-set the winter blues, I have been making a miniature garden of potted flowers and shrubs.  It has been an interesting experience as I haven't done this for quite some time.  The last mini garden project was with the house that the rats destroyed.  I went into the garage today and retrieved the white picket fence that used to stand upright around the doll's house until the real life 'Hunca Muncas' plowed it down as they hurried through the front door to begin tearing and eating the fabric off the interior walls. 
I have since cleaned out and up the mess and tried to secure it better but the garden is trashed. On the Bright Side; it really needed to be up-graded anyway so this is a little bit of practice towards the time when I pull the seaside cottage "At Home by the Sea" together and give it an over-haul.
 The photo above shows the Roses and Clematis on the white picket fence, I made this back in the 1990's.  The foliage has all deteriorated over time and I will have to make more again but the form of the plant remains intact.  I made them out of a bundle of artificial flowers that I bought from somewhere. I remember the thrill of finding something with tiny little stamens in the centers and they made perfect clematis!  I made the roses out of bundles of silk ribbon ones that came from the craft store and although I like the look of them from a distance, up close, they look like ribbon roses and they need some additional work.  All in good time.

In this photo is some of the new things that I have been trying out.  A pink Hydrangea,  english Lavender, white Heather, Lady's Mantle in a pot with a Winter Cabbage, and a vining Clematis on a heart -shaped willow frame. The hydrangea proved to be THE Most CHALLENGING.  I must have cut and applied and removed and replaced those flowers and leaves at least 4 times before I felt I was satisfied and able to move on.  Whew!!! What a job!
Here is another view of the new flowers.  This includes some Allium and there are 2 different varieties pictured.  There are the more lavender ones in the urn to the right and the mauve/pinkish ones in the center of the photo.  I planted them in a pot with a variegated Hosta and some Cordyline 'Red Sensation', that I would like to make more of as I like the rich color of the purple, and the architectural form of the spikes.
Here is a wheelbarrow that I painted and aged and looped a black garden hose over the handle.  I placed the potted Lady's Mantle( alchemilla mollis) and the  winter cabbage inside.  I made the lady's mantle  from a plastic plant that had a rounded leaf that I recut and glued to a plastic stem.  I made the flower bracts from a different plastic plant and then used bright yellow sand to give the airy look to the mollis.  The cabbage is a crepe paper rose bud that I cut open and coaxed into shape with water.  Then I painted the outer leaves with a bluish acrylic paint and curled the leaves back to weave into the lady's mantle.  I decided to paint the flower pot to tie everything together.  I think it turned out pretty good. , I unfortunately don't have any more of those rose bud (sigh).
Below are 2 shots of ...

MORE PLANTS!

To give a better look at the plants in the collection , I decided to group them against a white backdrop.
In the back is an Evergreen shrub that started out life as brush tree that comes out at Christmas time.  It is usually loaded with red foam balls which I easily removed and will use later for something in the mini kitchen.  I glued and coated the shrub with green paper leaves that came from a vining plant from Michael's.  When it was dry, it was then re-painted shades of green and green mixed with browns.  The Heather is just snips of a fake plant that had all of the little white bits on it already.  I just cut it to size and glued it into a pot.  Easy.  On the left is a stand of what is supposed to be Fennel, which I used to grow in my Real Life garden until became too big and self seeded everywhere.  So as tribute to it I made some in small, but now I think it looks more like Dill Weed and so maybe it is that instead. I used to have dill in the garden until that too grew to be too big too.  (Some times you have to learn the hard way.)

My favorite colors for the Real Life Garden are PINKs and LAVENDERs.  Representing the flowers in my garden are the mini Rose Bush in the pot top center and the skirt of the lavender colored Alyssum.  The fragrance that is in my garden from the wall of roses and the alyssum and the lavender plants is sooo intense.  I just LOVE IT. I have made a trough of some Kale to add texture and these also were made from plastic plants that were cut and re-shaped into what you see above.  The roses are also plastic and originally purchased at Joanne's Fabrics in the craft section and I have made them into carnations and now roses, by cutting the petals and painting them with tints and shades of pink.  The leaves came from one of Fat's Finds from the dollar store in her neighborhood, and I cut and shaped and glued each one onto a stem and then painted individually as well.  It was very time consuming and I don't envy Janine doing the wall of climbing roses that she is planning for her French garden at MINWORKS.  There is a pink Hydrangea to the left and in my real garden I must have at least 10 to 12 of these shrubs. Some are in pots but the rest are in the ground and they are always a surprise as to what color they will turn out to be.  Sometimes they are bluish and a couple of years ago they became the most intense shade of burgundy that I had ever seen!  Last year they were more pink.  The acidity of the soil plays a big role in the color and I am surrounded by tall pines and cedars and so it is always interesting trying to guess what the end result will be.
I nearly forgot the Delphinium!
( also plastic pieces)

 
I've included the pot with the birdhouse from the earlier tutorial just to round out the photo.  Most of these blue flowers are growing in my garden except the 2 pots of Plumbago that are front and center.
The allium in 3 of the pots with the Lavender to the left and also below.  I made it with lycopodium, which is usually used for mini Xmas trees.  Janine gave me some directions year or two ago and wanted me to try it out.  I waited until last year and made it and the pot to house in it.  I love Lavender! 

With all that pink and blue in the garden,  I needed some ZING!   Red geraniums add that bit of zest to the mix. These, also were made by cutting bits and pieces from plastic plants and piecing them together to make a whole new plant.  The flower heads started out as pink foam and paint was layered on until the end was achieved.  Not bad for a first try?
Here is a closer look at the birdhouse pot.  The tall spiked plants are  Salvia  in front of the  Allium  and laced with Impatience which are an annual here on the Canadian west coast and used prolifically
because of the unstoppable' nature they have and the intense, reliable colors.
I have also made an Urn with a fern.( see below)  I made the urn from a plastic silver trophy found at the thrift store which I detached and painted to look like iron.  The fern also thrift, was from aquarium foliage that was in a bag of similar castaways.  I repainted it, and even though it is of fabric and not plastic, it took the color well.
 I hope that you have enjoyed the tour of my mini  potted garden.  It was fun to do and  helps take the mind of the dreary winter days.  


"The kiss of the sun for pardon 
The song of the birds for mirth;
One is nearer God's heart in a garden, 
Then anywhere else on earth."
(Dorothy Frances Gurney)

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elizabeth


37 comments:

  1. Felicidades por este trabajo de jardinería , la han quedado unas macetas fantásticas, felicidades:)

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    1. Muchas Gracias Rosa Maria! I am so happy that you enjoyed the tour of my mini garden! It was something to do that made me feel very happy although it took a little more time to finish than I thought it would. Now, even if the weather is rotten outside, it is always 'Fair Weather' within.

      elizabeth

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  2. Your garden is exquisite. I thought I was looking at real plants in some of the photos. Lovely groupings of items and colours and the white picket fence really adds to it.

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  3. Hello Sharee! I had originally planned to call this post "In an English Country Garden"( after the song). I know how passionate the English are about their gardens which can be a style of a riotous tumble of plants, often associated with cottages. It is a look that I enjoy but can never fully perfect in my own Real Life garden. I was happy to be able to translate it into a miniature one. Thank you for your comment, Sharee, it really did make my day!!!

    elizabeth

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  5. It's a beautiful garden, Elizabeth. It's so very colourful and full! As I read your post, I was reminded of one of my favourite books, The Secret Garden. Only once in my life did I have a garden. It was a flower garden which I had sowed from seeds. Those seeds that come in little packets. When the flowers started coming out, knowing absolutely nothing about the difference between a real plant and a weed, I was throwing out the good plants and transplanting the weeds because they were growing to near one another. Lucky for me, my next door neighbour, a former farmer, noticed what I was doing and started to laugh. He proceeded to teach me the difference between the weeds and the plants and it was thanks to him that my flower garden grew and flourished. I moved out of that house at the end of the summer and I left behind the most beautiful flower garden I had every seen. A lot of the flowers were wild and so beautiful. I never forgot that garden. Reading your post reminded me of it. Now my garden consists of two planters on my balcony in which I plant purple petunias every year. I love petunias and when the planters become full, they really are amazing!

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    1. Hello Lucille! I know just what you are saying! My first garden was a study in weeds and hens and chicks which are a no- brainer succulent that I neither originally planted or cared about taking care of. My second garden was a different story and I cared for and nurtured the garden from its infancy until it was fully matured and the main factor in the subsequent sale of my house. This is my third garden and hopefully my last! In trying to establish one I over-planted and now there is stuff shooting up all over the place!!!! I am having to deliberately remove good and thriving plants to give breathing room to others around it. Initially it was painful to do, now I am ruthless! Plants are total survivors and they will give it all they got to stick around somewhere they are NOT wanted. Fortunately, the mini ones are a lot less work! hahah

      elizabeth

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  6. To all.... and to Elizabeth....
    I had the pleasure of seeing these little gems on Sunday before we headed off to the Seattle Miniature Show and they are truly wonderfully delightful to the eye. Very realistic and very convincing as the actual plants which they mimic yet they are not the stiff paper plants which we see very often when made by kits.
    Wonderful, wonderful and I love the write up as well.
    fats

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    1. Hello Fats! Thank you for all that praise! I am delighted that you like the plants as much as you do as I know that they have to pass the test with you and you are very exacting! But I LOVE paper too! There is soooo much more that you can do with paper, that it boggles the mind! I would like to try out some of the excellent kits on the market as it is not the kit but how it is put together which makes all the difference. Just look at all those who modify standard dollhouse kits, customizing them and making them special. Your Garfield is a perfect example of how kits can be made so much better. So Fats, don't be fooled into thinking kits are stiff, just add a little lovin and they will be wonderful.

      elizabeth

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  7. Imposing with so many flowers. I have just tried to make the rose heads in fimo clay, it's so difficult. So I am very impressed with your many flowers, It must have taken hours and hours.
    I love lavender, roses and hydrangeas in both 1-12 and 1-1. Very beautiful work.
    Hugs
    Wyrna

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    1. Hello Wyrna! Yes the flowers did take a considerable amount of time and I was happy to call it DONE after a while. Well, I only called it done when I ran out of pots! hahha
      I have tried to make flowers out of Fimo before, and like you, it was too difficult for me, so that is why I took the short cut and made the majority out of plastic plants. Cutting is easier than sculpting. But even taking the 'lazy' way, takes some time and effort. I had to do a lot of gluing and painting as well as cutting and the most helpful item was a BOOK, with PHOTOS of the actual plant.
      Thank you for the compliment on the current collection. See what you can find for your roses in DRIED flowers which are really good, or try PAPER too, if you can't find anything in the availabel plastic plants.
      ( Just don't tell Fats!) hahha

      elizabeth

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  8. Hi Elizabeth,
    So happy to see your plants and flowers online. They are terrific and I was pleased to see them last Sunday. The hydrangea turned out so well!
    Your garden looks so pretty!
    Talk soon.
    Janine

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    1. Hello Janine! Thank you! When we picked up the flower stems at Michael's last Sunday, on our way home from Seattle, I was really itching to try out my hand at making a hydrangea. I struggled with that plant as I mentioned in my post and I think, that I was AT LAST, successful. To any and all who make these plants for a living, I take my hat off!
      As far as the garden is concerned, it is now in a box, awaiting the time when it can be installed into a 'real' mini garden.

      elizabeth

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  9. Replies
    1. Thank you Eliana! I had a lot of fun making it and setting it up in the light box! I was able to find a photo in an old Victoria magazine which gave me the backdrop of the avenue of trees and the rest was just placing the fence and the plants to my liking. What fun miniatures are! I am so pleased that you have enjoyed it too.

      elizabeth

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  10. Hi Elisabeth, when I saw your garden I thought that the pictures are about a real garden. Your garden is so wonderfully delighted. Your inventiveness fascinates me. It may be so that when you get into your hands whichever, you will make a flower of it! - I have also planned a mini garden, but in the first place I must get more "ground" around my dollhouse. Many hugs Kati

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    1. Hello Katrina! Thank you for the compliment. Saying something looks 'real' in the mini world is its highest praise! Remember though, I am only showing you the things that turned out well, not my mistakes! hahhah
      I have a dollhouse that I am currently "working" on. It will have a small garden but I have always been too impatient to wait for what is brewing inside my head. That is why I decided to start with the plant pots. I can make more or change they out and still get the satisfaction of having a little garden as I progress towards the finishing of the doll's house. So if you have only a little bit of ground around your doll's house, consider plant pots, they will not go to waste!

      elizabeth

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  11. Wow your flower garden is wonderful. so many fantastic flowers. It looks so real.
    Hugs Maria

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    1. Hello Maria! Thank you for the lovely compliment! I didn't start out to make this a garden.
      I had been taking some photos of the birdhouse plant pot and decided to use a photo of a garden taken from a magazine as a prop. The pot looked lonely and so I decided to make a pot of roses with some of the plastic flowers that I had on hand. I was curious to see if I could transform them. I used plastic leaves that Fatima had given to both Janine and I a short while back. I liked the results and that got me started trying out different things until I exhausted the pots I had on hand. All of the collection now proved difficult to photograph. I had to construct a semblance of a garden otherwise it looked like MUSH! What is now presented, has been stored away until I have a permanent mini home for it. BUT, It WAS fun while it lasted!

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  12. Your garden is fabulous. I like your flowers and plants.
    Bye Faby

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    1. Hello Fabiola! Thank you! It was an interesting and exciting experiment and I enjoyed every moment of it, but trying to take pictures of it was not as easy as I had originally thought it would be and there were many failed attempts of trying to make it the best I could. I am pleased with the final product and happy that you have enjoyed it as well!

      elizabeth

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  13. I agree with everyone else, they look so real..it's like being in an english country garden..thank you for sharing it I need a bit of green today we had terrible snow last night... again

    hugs
    M.

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  14. Hello Marisa! Sorry to hear about the snow out your way! After I had worked on the mini garden, I decided to take advantage of the relief from the rain and begin the REAL LIFE garden clean-up. Sometimes it is a mad dash between the regular downpours that have been a feature of our west coast winters. Fortunately the rain held off and yesterday and today, I tended to the real hydrangeas and cleaned and swept the patio and made it presentable once again. It was a good feeling to get it done. I am glad that viewing the mini garden has given you a good feeling as well. It helps calm the nerves when there is so much drama going on around us otherwise. I hope the terrible snowstorms of life don't stick around you for too long.

    elizabeth

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  15. Oh, My! Your plants are Fantastic!!! I am so impressed with your lady's Mantle and your kale!!! I am a gardener too... but have not made any flowers in mini. I hope to learn someday... I have a garden planned for "The Folly"... one of my several projects! I am a new follower and have enjoyed your garden!

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  16. Hello Betsy! (and fellow gardener) Thank you for the lovely comment and I welcome you to my blog! I have just returned from visiting yours and I enjoyed the doll's houses and the castle that were/are? parked in your dining room. I had the same situation here for the better part of last year,as well. With the size of the projects that you are involved with I don't wonder that you have your hands full! I really like 'the Folly' and the treehouse and I admire your painting skills and that you have PAINTED A GARDEN on the walls which is really beautiful! You have a LOT of talent! As far as the minis in my garden scene, I have to admit that the Lady's Mantle and the kale are perhaps my favorite too! Although I love lavender and roses, this particular potted plant turned out better than I had expected and it IS in 5 out of 14, photos ( I just counted them now) and so subconsciously I must REALLY like it a lot!
    (At least, that is what my analyst says!)
    hahah
    elizabeth

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  17. Everything looks so real and very picturesque. I don't know if I've got the patience to do a garden - I've yet to find that out!

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  18. Helllo Irene! Thank you for that compliment but one of the reasons for making the plants out of pre-fabricated flowers is that so much of the work is already done! It is all about Cut and Paste! No kidding.
    I myself do not have the patience to make each individual stamen and petal. It is much more cost effective and labour saving to find something that looks CLOSE to what you want it to be, and then take it all the way to the finish line by re-working it. In the case of the garden, by mixing and matching different artificial plants and a liberal amount of glue and paint, it took less time from start to finish, than if I was making everything out of paper or fimo. It was a good learning experience and I will, no doubt, get back to it again when the time is right . If you give it a try, YOU will find yourself, before you know it, ALSO with a GARDEN!

    elizabeth

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  19. Oh my goodness, you are a fabulous mini gardener, I love everything and all the plants really have your signature look. So beautiful! I love real life gardening too. Hugs, Jean

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  20. Hello Jean! Thank you so very much for the lovely compliment and as a real life gardener, you too must be getting anxious for the Spring! Living on the Island where the weather is milder, the Spring usually comes a little earlier to you there, than it does here on the mainland. Lucky you!
    I am so happy that you have enjoyed my mini garden. I really had a lot of fun assembling it and I almost regret having to take it all down. It shall return later on, but for now I have the memory and the photos and so it will always feel like late spring /early summer whenever I need that Spiritual Lift!

    elizabeth

    p.s. I really like the photos that you have on Google +. Your skills that this area are really amazing!

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  21. Your garden is wonderful!!! I love the flowers!!
    Thanks for sharing this fantastic pictures!
    Greetings
    Melanie

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    1. Hello Melanie! Thank you for the wonderful comment! I am sooo happy that you liked the flowers and the pictures, too! I guess I must be getting better at the photography end of things, as I haven't had any complaints about fuzzy photos lately! hahah
      Setting up the lightbox to enable me to take the pictures was as much fun as building the flowers themselves! Who knew!!!???? Miniatures spill into so many different areas and that is what keeps it as interesting as it always is. Enjoy!

      elizabeth

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  22. Holy cow!!! Those flowers are amazing and the detail is stunning! You certainly have a green thumb. :)

    Thanks for stopping by toddlindsey.com. I am a new follower of your blog now and I can't wait to see what else you make!

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  23. Hello Lindsey! Thank you very much! It is easy to have a green thumb in miniature! Another thing about miniature gardening is that you can have flowers that would normally have expired or finished blooming from one season,over- lap and flower into the next, just like magic! Not something that every miniaturist will do though. I have a climbing rose growing against a wall in my real garden. The roses are a deep pink with an intense fragrance that I adore. Growing through the rose are 4 different varieties of clematis that are medium to deep purple and one a soft mauve and of the 4 only one blooms close to the bloom time of the rose! It is either the rose or the clematis in bloom, not both together. In Miniature, however, I get my wish.

    elizabeth

    p.s. I enjoy your blog, you have some great recipes, craft ideas and a beautiful presentation!

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  24. Your photos make me want to climb through the frames and get close up and personal with your miniature garden. I love your dense and varied plantings and specially love flowers that I can't grow in the sub-tropics, they bring a romance to the miniature garden as well as the RL garden.

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    1. Hello Susan! I always love to see your 'little bear' turning up on my blog as I love visiting with you! I had a whole lot of fun with this posting and as it turned out I took most of these plants to the West Coast Miniature Show just last Sunday and sold quite a few of them! They are only memories now! What plants can't you grow Susan? Lavender, maybe? I hope that you can grow roses!!!!!!? That would be HORRID if you couldn't grow roses!!!!? I think I'd have to shoot myself! In my RL garden ALL of my roses are in bloom! They are the most glorious sight to behold. I am going to show some photos of them all next week and I shall show you what I get to Marvel at! And guess what? THE BEES HAVE RETURNED! HOORAY!

      elizabeth

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    1. Hello Chris! Thank you for your comment and I am delighted that you have enjoyed this tiny garden tour! I had a lot of fun making these and I will eventually make some more now that I know how( just so long as I don't forget-age!) If and when I do, I shall try to show the process. Most of it is just cutting and piecing and gluing, with a little painting on the side!

      elizabeth

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