7 Ways Miniature Gardening & Fairy Gardening are Different!

Posted by Janit Calvo on

It's two of the most common questions that I get asked, "What is miniature fairy gardening?" and “What is the difference between miniature gardening and fairy gardening?”

First of all, saying “miniature fairy gardening” is redundant and confusing because fairies ARE miniature! Miniature gardening, however, is just that, a garden in miniature - we simply can't call it anything else because that is what it is. Nevertheless, both hobbies get us outside and playing with small things in the fresh air, which is all good. 

Now, here are the 7 main differences between these two hobbies:


  1. What it’s About

Miniature Gardening: is about growing a garden in a small scale.

Fairy Gardening: is about the fairies

Miniature Vs. Fairy Gardening

Scale is usually over looked when manufacturing fairy garden items. Above, the garden fork and trowel-heads are about a foot tall compared to the apron. Now compare the apron to the door to the right of it. 


  1. The Attention to Scale

Miniature Gardening: Scale is a necessary part of creating an enchanting garden in miniature.

Fairy Gardening: Scale is optional. There are too many manufacturers making too many different kinds fairy houses and accessories.



Miniature Gardening takes advantage of the natural way these true dwarf and miniature trees and plants grow slowly AND look like the "big" trees you see in the full-size landscape. (Miniature & Dwarf are growth rates, not a description of the plant.) Above: the Tompa Dwarf Norway Spruce grows slowly at 1" to 2" per year.


  1. The Use of Plants

Miniature Gardening: We use trees, shrubs and grow-cover plants to create the scene and make a true garden in miniature.

Fairy Gardening: Plants are an afterthought for most. The attention is on the houses and accessories, followed by the plants.


Just a couple of realistic accessories is all the miniature garden needs to tell the scale to the viewer. Too many accessories cluttering up the garden vignette doesn't look realistic and takes away the enchantment.


  1. The Use of Accessories

 Miniature Gardening: Using less accessories creates more of an impact in a miniature garden design because we let the gardens create the atmosphere. The accessory or two, together with the patio, tells the scale to the viewer.


Fairy Gardening: Anything goes. Houses, fairies, animals, furniture, there is no limit it seems!

Miniature Vs. Fairy Gardening

     5. The Building of the Garden 

Miniature Gardening: With all the attention going to the fairy garden hobby, many stores do not carry the true dwarf and miniature perennials, trees and shrubs that make gardening in miniature such a delight. But it’s our specialty here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center!

Fairy Gardening: You can find fairy houses and all kinds of accessories almost everywhere these days, garden centers, hardware stores, craft stores and dollar stores will more than likely have something for your fairy garden.

 Miniature Vs. Fairy Gardening


      6. The Maintenance

Miniature Gardening: When a miniature garden is put together with the right plants for the right place, it’s really a matter of watering whenever the weather is dry. There is some seasonal maintenance, as with all gardens of all types, but in miniature, it really is a fun and easy chore with all the rewards that a full-sized garden can bring. 

Fairy Gardening: Keeping the houses and accessories clean and coated with UV protectant spray so the colors won’t fade. Replacing the odd plant with a new one.

 Miniature Vs. Fairy Gardening

Not sure what this is about. Nothing is to scale and the buddha doesn't look like a buddha, the pagoda is way too small if it's a building - or way too big if its a lantern. The fish can hardly fit into the pond! Leave this for the kids... 


       7. Use of Figures

Miniature Gardening: We don’t use any figures or people in the garden because it compromises the suspended reality of the miniature scene. If done right the viewer will be waiting to see a little person walk-out into the garden at anytime.

 Fairy Gardening: It’s almost expected. I have heard of some exceptions, however.


I hope that clears it up for you. If I've missed anything, be sure to let me know in the comments below! Happy Miniature Gardening! 

Miniature Vs. Fairy Gardening

Click the pic to see more of the book! 


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