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Fairy Gardens!

The big back yards of suburbia have become less common, exchanged instead for a green patch behind a townhouse or even a container garden on a balcony or rooftop garden. For gardeners that live in one of these homes with limited planting area, trough gardens and fairy gardens have become increasingly popular. These miniature landscapes are imaginative and intriguing, and their compact size keeps maintenance to a minimum.

Creating one of these whimsical landscapes requires some especially slow-growing plants that will not outgrow the tiny landscape. Miniature conifers provide a wonderful combination of colors, textures, and shapes. Some varieties look like a full-sized tree on a small scale. See how this Pinus mugo ‘Paul’s Dwarf’ appears like a massive pine tree to these little characters.

Pinus mugo ‘Paul’s Dwarf’
Pinus mugo ‘Paul’s Dwarf’

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Chirimen’ is one of our other favorite conifers to use in miniature
gardens. Its upright habit, ascending branches, and thick, dark green foliage set it apart from the innumerable, slow-growing globose conifers.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Chirimen’
Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Chirimen’

Speaking of globe-shaped conifers, plants like Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Rimpelaar’ and Picea abies ‘Goblin’ can also be useful in a cute display, like this miniature estate nestled between these mighty 3-inch-tall plants!

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Rimpelaar’/Picea abies ‘Goblin’
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Rimpelaar’/Picea abies ‘Goblin’

To further add to these fanciful landscapes, one could use a spreading groundcover like elfin thyme, Corsican mint, Kyoto moss, or a ground-covering Sedum to create an understory or lawn.

Exploring the world of miniature gardening and fairy gardening can yield endless possibilities and will likely give you a desire for more than just a few of these cute little plants. Good thing they are small!

Check out the Miniature Conifers section of our website for some inspiration. If you need help narrowing it down, some of our other favorites are pictured below.

Pinus mugo ‘Little Gold Star’ – known for being one of the slowest-growing pines available.

Pinus mugo ‘Little Delight’
Pinus mugo ‘Little Gold Star’

Cedrus brevifolia ‘Kenwith’ – a miniature cedar that grows naturally like a bonsai with microscopic needles.

Cedrus brevifolia ‘Kenwith’
Cedrus brevifolia ‘Kenwith’

Picea glauca ‘Limmony’ – the most diminutive spruce with bright blue color and a dense, globe shape.

Picea glauca ‘Blue Planet’
Picea glauca ‘Limmony’

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Rimpelaar’ – a dense, columnar little plant with golden-yellow tips.

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Rimpelaar’

Pinus parviflora ‘Catherine Elizabeth’ – sculptural and bonsai-like with soft green needles
and compact growth.

Pinus parviflora ‘Catherine Elizabeth’
Pinus parviflora ‘Catherine Elizabeth’