Monday, 26 January 2015


 "How many kinds of sweet flowers grow,
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now, of some that we know;
Those we miss you'll surely pardon.
Daffodils, heart's ease and phlox,
Meadowsweet and lady smocks,
Gentain, lupine and tall hollyhocks.

Foxgloves, snowdrops, and blue forget-me-nots
In an English country garden."


I am sitting in my studio as I begin to write this post, the sun is shining brightly and the birds are singing their lungs out. 
The SWEET BOX shrub 
 (Sarcococca ruscifolia)
which grows outside
   my bedroom window, is blooming with giddy abandon and the fragrance is simply Heavenly!  Everything is so early this year, but I am not complaining. Listening to the birdsong in January is such an unexpected blessing!

Thank you God

I know that some of you will still have the snow for quite a while. 
I am not rubbing it in; oh no, 
(well maybe just a little)
I really did not expect that I would be writing a post about a summer garden in the middle of winter, it has just worked out this way. 
So without further ado here is my version of an 
English Country Garden 
in late Spring/ early summer 

 I chose to overlap some of the bloom times for the sake of esthetics, so it may not be entirely authentic but 
 this is a doll's house after all and I believe that certain liberties are to be"allowed.

I had my hands full with just these few types of flowers that I chose to"loosely" represent.
My mini garden is not an exact duplication of real life flowers, but hopefully, it will give you the idea that what you are seeing, looks close enough to"pass"
(by the way, whose rabbit is that?)
In constructing this garden, I tried to include a lot of shapes, textures and of course, color.  Because of this, photographing it was a visual nightmare.  Lighting was a real challenge; trying to achieve enough of it to be able to clearly distinguish the various plants and the smaller details, as well as trying not to "bleach out" the garden so that it appears unnatural.
Like I said, it was A Challenge.

So here it is, in all of its wild and colorful glory!

I bid you

we shall begin at the garden gate
I don't recall what year it was that I purchased this iron gate but I do know that it was from the Seattle Show, that Janine and I attended; probably in the late 90's.   It has been collecting dust for over a decade, but now,
it has found a permanent home. 
I made gate posts to support the gate, on both sides from 1/2 inch square basswood, which were painted black. Finials were made of stacked beads, also painted black and glued to the tops.  To keep them upright and stable, I drilled a hole into the bottom of each post and then drove a section of a toothpick up into the post and then "planted" the toothpick into the styrofoam base.  It is not glued in so if I ever need to remove it, then it will just lift out without too much trouble. 

The textured work on the front and back of the posts are the same metal strips that I used in my
 "A Grater Love" tutorial.  I needed some kind of ornamentation for the plain looking posts and tried them out.  After I painted it, I referred to Brae at Otterine blog, for how to paint authentic looking iron.  She used a black with a light dusting of gray for the iron grate in one of her wonderful dollhouses.  
I lightly dry brushed the Slate Grey acrylic paint over the black, as she did, but then I also used Brown Iron Oxide and Hunter Green Transparent glaze to give the iron gate and fence, the appropriate age.
The fencing is the green plastic farm yard fencing that I cut in half to lower its profile.  It was a good thing that I did that too, because not only did it make the flowers more viewable, but I was able to use the bottom sections to extend the fence further along the stone wall as I did not have enough of it otherwise.
a close up of the post ornamentation
and the hole in the wall
This picture was taken from the front door of the cottage looking to the right.  In amongst the pink soapwort, is a large grouping of the succulent hen and chicks, made from dried and painted seed pods from last years Spirea.

To the left of the front door is the garden bed as it looks now.

  The Miniature Garden's Euphorbia kit, 
is closest to the front step, with a long row of white heather running along the front edge.
Burgundy snapdragaons, dill, chives and dasies fill in the bed below the parlor window.
Purple clematis grows in front of the gothic niche that was a recent gift from my dear friend Bettie Smith.  I made the wooden cross that is inside it.
The climbing rose that I made from bits and bobs of other flower parts and stems, has been painted, shaped and then re-shaped several times, but I feel that, NOW I have finally found the right configuration for it.  
 And perched within the climbing rose, is a robin's nest with a couple of blue eggs inside

on the front step is a pot of more succulents
( Hello!, there is that rabbit again)
"Leave those daisies alone you naughty bunny! "
           ( He'd better not be thinking about eating my Daisies!)
"That's right rabbit.  I'm talking to YOU!"

(now, where was I?)


Now, I don't want to forget to show you
the right side of the garden.
The lady has been busy getting the garden cleaned up and spraying fungicide on the roses.
I made the vintage garden sprayer and the easy-peasy 10 minute

 garden basket, which I will do a tutorial on very soon.

And I made a bee skep for the garden with honey bees crawling all over it.
A healthy garden is a Happy Garden!
Further down the garden path are groupings of
lilies and the peonies 
that I made from the re-configuring of silk and plastic flowers.
Tall slivery stems of Stachys Byzantina with tiny yellow flowers  are directly behind them. 

The soft pink Clematis Montana is also in bloom and has pushed its way through the bars of the iron fencing, to cascade down the broken retaining wall.
The Clematis Montana
Here is a close up of the lilies and the pink peonies that I made, and below is what the lilies started life as

As you can see, they originally looked like what I turned them into, only I remade them just a little smaller.
Each flower was painted and then cut down to the proper size.
It took several days work before I was satisfied with the finished flower.  After they were ready, they were cut from the main stem and re-grouped and glued into leaves from different plastic plant, then bundled together to make them look cohesive.
Now I will show you the process for how I made
the peonies
I bought a stem of Cherry Blossoms from Michael's Craft store.
I chose the smallest of the blossoms to remove and also some of the buds.
These are some flowers that I purchased from the $1 store.  I chose to use these stems for the peonies because they would fill out the plant when planted in the garden with the lilies.  I made some peony leaves as separate stems but neither they, nor the stems of the peonies, are really discernible 

So basically, I lopped off the head of one plant and replaced with another. 
Janine was kind enough to order a tube each of FLORA BOND for herself, Fatima and I.  I have used this glue for nearly every flower project in this garden.  It is just as untamable as the
 Quick Grip, by which I mean that
it "oooooozes" like a runny nose

and so a lot of it is wasted but- on this kind of plastic
This is a faux peony with the illegal stem.  I pulled up some of the greenery to cover the underside of the flower head to disguise the join and then I painted the flower the color I wanted.

I used these glass and tile water-based paints for the peonies.
And here they are with the lilies
( "I Say, is that rabbit back again!?")
Shoo Shoo!

The bird bath was another gift from my dear friend Bettie Smith.
I aged the bird bath and then added water 

made from Triple Thick, applied in 2 separate layers which I had tinted with blue soap dye.
While it was wet I added the little rocks for the birds to perch on. 

In the foreground are some grasses, and some bi-colored snapdragons.   I made them the same way I made the peonies, by taking the heads off of one plant and joining them to another.  I know that they don't really look like snapdragons but I loved the color- 

So There!!

The stem on the left represents the flower
Sisyenichium Striatum
that I saw featured in Penelope Hobhouse's 
 garden book.
It breaks up some of the colors within the front bed
From this perspective you can see the water in the bird bath and the true colors of the lilies and pink peonies 
by me
that FATIMA made for my Birthday last year!
                           you should also see the Incredible yellow onions that she made for Janine and I.  
                                                          Go to Minworks blog and have  a look at not only the Fab yellow onions but also Janine's Fabulous French house and Garden.
 It's high summer over there, so don't forget your sunscreen! 

Fatima's wonderful white peonies are placed at the end of the garden along the side wall.  They have a touch of orange in their centers so they were planted next to the orange lilies.   
Tucked in with them is a pale pink peony by
Linda Park.  
I am so glad that I have been able to use both Fatima's and Linda's Flower Art
In this English Garden.
By the way, Linda has made a Stunning

French Flower Shop 
which I hope she will soon be able to show off herself.  
She is very talented and her shop is elegant and refined 
"All of the Best People shop there-
don't cha know!?" :))
Peonies by Fats and Linda

The English have a very distinct style of cottage garden that is lush and exuberant and even a tiny bit wild, which is what I was looking to achieve.
I hope that you have enjoyed my mini garden tour and do come again, because
there is STILL that 3rd side of the house to do! 

(will it never end?!)

so there it is
               An English Country Garden

 "How many kinds of sweet flowers grow,
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now, of some that we know;
Those we miss you'll surely pardon.
Daffodils, heart's ease and phlox,
Meadowsweet and lady smocks,
Gentain, lupine and tall hollyhocks.

Foxgloves, snowdrops, and blue forget-me-nots 
In an English Country Garden

There is joy in the spring
When the birds begin to sing
"Yes mister rabbit, ... you'd better run!!! "
In an English Country Garden"



  1. Replies
    1. Thank You Janine for the WAKE UP CALL that I had left the SPAM CONTROL on a bit too long! :(

      my bad

  2. This is beautiful! And, exactly what I need in the middle of winter! :D You certainly can't blame a rabbit if you have such a lovely (and delicious) garden. ;D You mentioned those fabulous onions...lucky you!!

    1. Hi Brae! I got your message and Thank You for trying again and Thank You for your compliment! :D
      I had a lot of fun assembling this garden and as I seem to need a good shot of sunshine during the bleak winter months, this has proved to be a mini therapy for the soul. :D
      I have always enjoy your tutorials and your description of how you made your grate look like iron was Enormously Beneficial seeing as how much iron work encompasses this property! :))
      And as to the onions, perhaps Fatima could be persuaded to make some more....
      you just never know :D


    2. I am very flattered....still working on perfecting the process. Thank both for the awesome compliment. Great to see the blog working again Elizabeth!

    3. Fats you are now about to morph into the Onion lady! They are sooo good and just as with your peonies, they are going to become the Hot/ Must Have Item of the season! :D

  3. Good Morning Elizabeth,
    Yes, as you can see you are up and running again. Love the post and the garden. I remember you buying the gate. It is a little treasure and you have found it the perfect home,
    I wrote such a lone comment late last night on my return from book club! This morning I have forgotten what I said but everything is fantastic. I feel quite daunted in trying to continue my modest garden. Thanks as always for giving hints on what colours etc you use for aging things. I love the bee skep and the tiny bees are perfect.... just another one of the details you find in all your work.
    I am glad I am first to comment. Brava Bunny! Oh, Alice, wasn't that a white rabbit when I last saw it?
    hugs Janine

    1. Good Morninig Janine and Thank you sooooo much for reminding me about the Spam Block! It was maddening to have to clean out my blogs as well as my gmail, but everything is back to normal once again. :D
      Thank You for your lovely compliments. Yes the rabbit was white when you saw him last! hahahaha When I was able to catch him, I gave his coat a dose of color, and at the time he was grateful but now I see that he is using it as camouflage to sneak through the hole in the wall and attack my daisies when I am not looking. :(
      Isn't the gate just perfect!! I can't believe what a change it makes to the garden to have it installed. The same goes for the fence.
      Our two gardens are as different as night and day. Look at how your Beautiful Calm and Organized garden reflects -YOU! Look at how this wild and chaotic garden reflects- Me! and that is why we are such Great Friends!!!! :D
      A bee skep will be waiting for you when you get back from your trip.
      Now will that be WITH bees or WITHOUT? hmmm???

      elizabeth :D

  4. Cada vez que visito tu jardín inglés, me quedo impresionada. Es un trabajo tan cuidado, tan meticuloso y hecho con tanta dedicación que parece autenticamente real y casi se puede percibir el aroma de las flores.
    Con el frío que hace, es de agradecer que nos traigas un trocito de verano a nuestras vidas.
    Un abrazo

    1. Thank You Victoria! What a lovely compliment and yes, I do try to do it both carefully and meticulously but what I look to achieve first and foremost is Natural. More time was dedicated to that than to the construction of the plants and in some instances I am sure that you can clearly see that! hahhah
      I know that we all need a little sunshine in our lives and yesterday it was clear and bright, today is over-cast and gloomy..... :(

      I think that it is time to go play with my garden again! :D


  5. Ah, you are up and running again. I had to comment through Google+ because it said I had to be an invited member here...wahhhhhh, let me in ;0P

    1. Hi Pepper! I am so sorry about that----- trying to dodge the Spam! They are the Uninvited ones---- You, never fear, are Always Welcome! :D
      But now that you are here, Thank You for leaving both comments!!! :D


    2. p.s. although I know that I have google +, I have no idea how to access comments from it. I am embarrassed to have to admit that but there it is. :/

  6. Я люблю ваш сад! Выложенная камнем дорожка... Мох и трава... Идешь по дорожке, наслаждаешься ароматом трав и красотой цветов...И вдруг... кролик.... Значит рядом есть кроличья нора, а дальше.... Я была уверена! Это волшебный сад, под каждым листочком живет сказка!
    Спасибо за эту красоту, и эти эмоции!
    Как приятно отвлечься от холодной, реальной жизни!
    Ваш улей смотрится очень реально! Я увидела пчел!!!! Мне нравится поилка для птиц! Как вы талантливы!

    1. Hello my Dear Taiana! Thank You for your many lovely comments about the garden and for taking the garden tour with me. I could only wish that everyone would be able to mentally escape the harsh winters that encompass most of us in these norther hemispheres, as we all anticipate the Spring. I am delighted that you have seen the bees and the have enjoyed the flowers and the herbs along the garden path.
      Certainly this garden has provided a home for fairies too; but They only come out at night! :D


  7. This morning I couldn't leave a comment here on your blog. I've tried it for several times, it just didn't work, so here I am again, Elizabeth! Okay, hope it works now :)!
    Your English garden is stunning, Elizabeth, it looks to me like a kind of secret garden. While I walked in your garden it was very peaceful, until your sweet bunny crossed my path....yes, I've seen it too, but I didn't 'choo choo', hehehehe ;)! I've spent a lot of time to look at all your wonderful flowers and plants, which you've planted in your beautiful miniature garden. It's a real miniature piece of art and a feast for the eyes :D! I loved to visit your English garden and I hope we'll see it more often in the future :D!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Yes, it's working again, and Ilona am I am so sorry but I had to employ
      "Tuff Love" regarding all of the Spam I was daily being flooded with. However, I am so glad that you didn't give up and have tried again.
      Thank You! :D
      And Thank You for walking in my garden. I know how much you Love Peonies so I hope that you were able to pause and enjoy them. They are almost as fragrant as the variety in my REAL Life garden.

      But that bunny is becoming a bit of a nuisance. :/

      elizabeth :D

  8. Thank you very much... this garden tour was exactly what I needed to forget about the ugly, snowy, rainy, cold, disgusting weather we're having in Northern Germany. Your pictures of your beautiful garden are great... having so much atmosphere and giving me the feeling I was walking right behind you while you were showing me everything and introducing me to your plants. What a clever way to make for example peonies... and the gate with the fence is just perfect to hold your Country garden together. And about the rabbit... well, don't be too harsh with him - you can't blame the little fellow for being attracted from you beautiful garden... ;O)


    1. Hello Brigit! Thank You very much for your comment and for your encouraging words! I am so glad that you like the way that I made the pink peonies because they were super easy to do and practically ready made! This is such a busy looking garden and very difficult to photograph well, but I am very glad that you have enjoyed your tour. :))
      But that rabbit had better get hopping, back the way he came!

      elizabeth :D

  9. (Ahhhh... I guess I can comment now!)
    Dear Elizabeth.... Your Garden has me completely Enchanted!!! It doesn't matter any more that it is Snowing outside and 18 degrees.... I am in an English Garden in the morning sunshine... with bees and even a stray bunny!!! You have managed to make magic again.... I don't know how you do it... well, you SHOW us how... but it is more than that... it is knowing where to start... and when something needs adjusting... and how to be Fearless with the materials at hand!!! I am Always So Impressed with the Beauty and Perfection of your creations... and this little Garden is Really a Piece of Paradise on Earth!!! Thank you for letting us in..... :)

    1. Oh Betsy!!!! I was just visiting you and your Enchanted Willowcrest last night and Talk about being Fearless with materials..... Your fireplace treatment is Simply BRILLIANT!!! :D
      But Thank You! I am Very Happy that you have been transported to an English Garden during your visit here Betsy. :D
      Did you ever see the movie, "Howard's End"? That casual, loose and lazy style of planting is what I was envisioning when I was putting this entire city garden together; which flies in the face of the original seaside residence that I was supposed to be doing. I have found that the more I work on this house, the further INLAND I get.!? It is very much like your wonderful storytelling Daydreamer, with this garden, there is that unexpected "plot twist" at the end. :O

      elizabeth :D

  10. Hello Lady Elizabeth,
    Lady Dewell want's to know if you'd like the position of head gardener for her rose garden get your own cottage on the estate!
    Firstly, all the flowers you made are just sensational. They look so incredibly real. Secondly, I am amazed at how lush your garden is. The energy, time and courage just to place all those plants is wonderful. The gate is just fact every single item of this project is so well thought out and brilliantly executed. I am really a HUGE fan of everything you do Elizabeth. These pictures are really like a breath of summer and while it might sound dramatic, the truth is looking at your pictures I got completely lost and forgot about everything except the beauty before me. You are amazing!
    Big hug
    your #1 fan

    1. Hello My Fine Friend! :D
      I am so happy to receive such an fine offer and recommendation from Her Ladyship! Please extend to her, my sincere and humble "Thanks!"
      What an Honor!!!! :D
      You know Giac, I was really trying to make it look Lush, as you say, plus a wee bit disorderly and abundantly full of color. It took a lot more effort than I had thought it would. I had to stop gluing the plants in place because I kept changing their position, much like in my RL garden. :((
      A lot of time and energy went into how best to place them, but in the end I am Very Pleased with the final product.
      The gate has been hanging around for so long, that I had lost/misplaced it for a time. But 2 years ago when I first started this project, my intent was to try and use it and now that I have, it has been well worth the wait. I am so glad that you like it too! :D
      Big Hugs,... and My Dear Sir; know too, that I am a BIG FAN of You!!!

      elizabeth :D

  11. The first shot is just stunning lady E! The path surrounded with fragrant flowers and a distant image of country..ohhh so lovely ;)

    I am one of those trapped in the Blizzard of NY I appreciate the shots of green and will happily go into the greenery of your..scenery < see what I did there?>

    Your work is always so well done, I can go on and on about the wonders you create but I am sure you know you get my green thumbs up, seal of approval ;)

    And now a romp back in your lovley garden....

    1. Hi There Jane! :D Thank you for you comment about the first photograph! I was really hoping that it would evoke a day in the English Countryside and make one feel that they were actually there. As I mentioned to Betsy, I have found that the direction of this entire house is moving further away from the English coastline and more Inland. I think that the house is trying to tell me something!
      I am so sorry to hear that you are trapped in by the blizzard of NY Jane. :((
      Here we have had only one light snowfall the beginning of December, and that only lasted on the ground, a day. This has been some of the mildest winter weather that I can remember, but it is still Damp and today the sky is over-cast and grey AGAIN; and so I am feeling my annual bout of light depravation.
      Even so, the birds were madly chirping this morning as I was walking the dog, and that is always a good sign that Spring is on the way! :D


  12. Simply stunning! So true to life! You render me speechless with your creativity and sharing generosity! We are all blessed, those of us who know you. You are an endless well of knowledge and generosity which keeps filling my bucket and I thank you.

  13. Hahahahha ! Yes Fatima, you scold that rabbit good, because he will not listen to me! :D heeheehee
    Thank You for your comment Fatima and Thank You also for your contribution to the garden with your gift of your Fabulous White Peonies! This garden was constructed around them, you know, so I am glad that you are enjoying the final planting! :))
    And speaking of "Filling the bucket".... you had better start making more yellow onions Fats, because they are going to be on everyones list of Must Have Minis for the 2015 West Coast Miniature Show this June...
    and you wouldn't want to disappoint your customers now, would you?..... :D


  14. Hi :-)
    When I read your post, I am at the Tatra Mountains, where now there is a lot of snow,
    it's really winter, frost, snow, snow,snow,ski. And there... what a contrast! Your post is from beautiful fairy tale. You created magic world , which smells of flowers, hear singing birds...your garden looks very mysteriously, you did stunning work!
    Thank you so much for sharing Elizabeth!
    warm hugs! Magda

    1. Hi Magda! I know that I have answered your email earlier but I couldn't do it on my blog because of the format that I had. Now everything is back to normal and so I am taking the opportunity to Thank You once again for your comment and your lovely compliment about my miniature garden. This was such a satisfying project. I had to think about it for nearly 2 months before I actually got brave enough to start it but once I got going I couldn't stop. I have even added a few more features to it since this posting and hope to post on them before too much longer. Meanwhile, I hope to show your Metronome Giveaway inside the house before next weekend. I hope you will like it because I sure do! :D


  15. So beautiful to be able to see flowers again. If our snow ever melts, maybe i will get to see my own. In regards to pesky rabbits....i always plant a little extra just for them. Lol. I truly enjoyed visiting. I would love to be the sick friend that gets to eat some of that gorgeous food in your kitchen. Reminds me of going to the farmers market. Thanks for the brief tutorials o. How to merge faux flowers. This seems like a method i might succeed at. Please keep up the posts. I am new to miniatures and have always dreamed of having one of my own. Ever since the third grade field trip to the fairy castle at the museum of science and industry in Chicago. I am 46 years old and just got my first one. A Victorian flip this dollhouse. I get intimidated easy and your posts give me the confidence to try new things.
    thanks again

    1. Hi Jodi! I am so sorry that I was not able to reply to you earlier but I have had some difficulties with my comment section and so many comments were unaccessible to me. Your comment is truly Wonderful for me to hear because I have felt the same thing about always wanting a doll's house of my own and also being intimidated about know where to begin. I made the flowers for my garden out of faux ones because it is more cost effective. Kits are fun but they can also be pricey whereas, fake flowers are sold just about everywhere and in nice bundles so there are lots to practice on. I have found over the years that fear has held me hostage many times. Now in my golden years, I am trying to be more risk taking especially when it comes to my miniatures. In my blogs, I try to demonstrate that sometimes using the unconventional and trying to think about how someone would actually "live" in the doll's house can make such a difference to your enjoyment of it, both on the inside and out. I certainly don't think that I have "arrived", I am always learning through experiments that often fail but even when they do, I try to learn how I might still succeed but that comes from being persistent. I hope that you will continue to enjoy your visits and if you need further clarification on anything, feel free to ask. I see that you were inquiring about the tin tile and where and what they are. I have now added that information into the BIG TILES blog because you are probably not the only one who wants to know, and so I am very glad that you asked. :))
      Your comment about the food in my kitchen gave me a chuckle. I like to make it but I am still not very good at it, yet. I have friends that are Very Good though and so between their stuff and the few bits of mine that do turn out okay, I have amassed quite a lot of food but there is only so much that one person can actually eat. Hence the extra cooking for a friend. :D Getting a story line that makes sense to what you are trying to achieve or to justify what you have done, goes a LONG way to making your doll's house more believable.
      I hope that I haven't chatted too long but I am so glad that you have taken the time to write and I am grateful for the opportunity to at last, be able to respond.


  16. J'adore ce jardin , il est superbe très coloré avec pleins pleins de fleurs partout , c'est une vraie réussite.

  17. Hello Catherine! I am So Pleased that you like the garden! :D It was such a great pleasure to finally assemble, even though the actual planning was a struggle. Isn't it amazing how much material these small project consume?
    I have loved your French Cottage garden for a very long time! Not just the for the flowers and the layout of it, but also for the Abundance of Cats that make their home in, around and above it! :D
    So, from one mini gardener to another, I Thank You for taking the time to make the garden tour and I Welcome you back again, ANYTIME! :))