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Tree Time in the Miniature Garden

Are you the type of person who starts to put up holiday decorations the moment Halloween has ended? Do you light the holiday candles, bake the cookies, and start shopping for everyone on your list? I tend to wait until later in the winter season to ready my home for the holidays, but one place I do like to decorate is the miniature garden. The gardening calendar moves quickly. In the summer, I start thinking about plants for fall and winter. Then, as the air turns chilly, I move my winter plants into their containers and choose the accessories for my winter container garden. But it isn’t quite holiday time until I’ve trimmed the miniature tree. As October winds down and the days get shorter, the season is officially here—it is tree time in the fairy garden!

Choosing a Tree
There is no “perfect” Christmas tree for the miniature garden. Every gardener has his or her own preference, and mine changes year-to-year. I have experimented with faux trees, live winter plants, shrubs, and Bonsai varieties. When it comes to winter container plants, gardeners should choose the right fit for their hardiness zone, container size, and other needs. I tend to choose faux Christmas trees for my indoor container gardens, tablescapes, teacup gardens, and other decorative displays. Live trees are planted in my patio pots and garden beds.

Designing with Trees
Of course, there is more to putting up the miniature Christmas tree than simply planting it in the soil. First, I consider the tree's placement. Do you want the miniature tree to be in the center of the fairy village, or simply tucked next to a fairy cottage? Will it be lit with tiny lights or decorated with miniature ornaments? Is there a bow on top, or a shining star? Once you start considering the possibilities, you may just find that the options are endless.

As I organize my winter container garden, I tend to include a few bottle brush trees or other faux trees that appear to be dusted with “snow.” They lend a festive, fun atmosphere to the entire garden, especially when I choose winter flowering plants and other winter plants that don’t mind a light coating of real snow.

The Star of the Show
Some of my favorite holiday miniature gardens are those that use a faux or real Christmas tree as the centerpiece of the garden. The fairies gather around the tree, stacking presents underneath its branches. Faux snow coats the ground. In the weeks leading up to the holiday, the tree can be decorated, little by little, with small ornaments, glitter, and garlands. I might even park a little red wagon next to the tree and fill it with ornaments or presents.

If you do not feel ready to plant a full-fledged Christmas tree in your fairy garden, there is another fun option I have been itching to try. I would like to design a Christmas tree farm in my winter container garden. It would have a dozen or so small bottle brush trees lined up in rows, with a few more in wheelbarrows, wagons, or even on the tops of fairy cars. I would add a DIY sign that says “Trees for Sale.” A fairy could sell hot chocolate at a tiny stand.

What do you think? Is it tree time in the miniature garden, or will you wait a few weeks? I, for one, cannot wait to get started. Holiday cheer is needed more than ever this year.

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