Sunday, May 29, 2011

Perfect little worlds

 Two cottages are surrounded by plants with tiny leaves and delicate demeanor that mimic a full-size landscape.

The idea of creating a miniature landscape or fairy garden never much appealed to me. It always seemed a tad too precious, too cute, too cluttered with ornamentation. But, after a visit to Winter Greenhouse in Wisconsin, I may become a convert.

The scene in one of the plant-filled greenhouses stopped me in my tracks. The display of two cottages and the surrounding landscape was nothing short of charming. The cottages looked as if they had been plucked from the pages of a fairy tale. Thyme and baby's tears became lawn; sedums and succulents and sempervivens became shrubs and trees; accessories were tasteful and not overdone. The plants, and the creative way in which they were employed, carried the day.

Winter Greenhouse has a web site devoted to its new venture in miniature landscaping -- it has inspiration and, of course, plants and products for sale. There's also advice on how to create your own landscape. Be advised, these are not no-maintenance projects. Like any landscape, they require upkeep to keep them looking good.

Muehlenbeckia complexa is trained onto the mini arbor.

The Underfoot Cottage has a sweet windowbox. Slender chives stand in for a tall hedge by the fence. And yes, that's a rock waterfall at left.

Thyme forms the upper lawn at the Mustardseed Cottage, and I think that's a jade tree near the bridge. Note the tire swing at the back of the house on the left.

A round bench surrounds a dwarf euonymus; pink hypoestes contrasts with the many shades of green. Delicate purple alyssum forms a hedge at left.

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