Yours Truly, Janit Calvo, doing an online seminar with the University of Virginia Master Gardeners, in 2015.
The miniature garden photograph that started it all in 2000. This scene is 10 1/2" wide and fooled one of the top horticulturalists at the nursery I was working at, at that time. When she thought it was a full-sized garden, I knew I had something.
About World-Renown Expert, Author & Obsessed About All Things Miniature Garden,
All Miniature Garden Roads Lead Back to
Two Green Thumbs!
While we found that the hobby of miniature gardening itself is not new, we were the ones who brought it to the marketplace, starting in 2001, and made it accessible to everyone. The only other woman who did document the gardening in miniature hobby, was Anne Ashberry with a series of books written in the 1950's and 60's.
Since then, we have been spreading the joy of miniature gardening through any channel that we can. We were the one taking notes, creating databases, compiling libraries and documenting the growth of this new hobby. We were the ones blogging weekly through or Mini Garden Guru blog, sharing daily on all the main social media channels, sending out our Mini Garden Gazette newsletter out each week and constantly coming up with new ideas. And, we are grateful to be the ones that "wrote the book on it," Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World by Timber Press.
Over the years, competing businesses have popped up and modeled their business after our business model. You'll now find a number of "miniature garden" websites but they cater to fairy gardening funnily enough. (Yes, there is a difference.) But we've stayed true to what we love, and that is gardening in miniature.
You'll also find a ton of Made-in-China-gift manufacturers that have brought our ideas to China to make cheap-looking resin knock-offs of our ideas and products to add to their profits each season. This future landfill almost eroded our own work here at Two Green Thumbs Miniature Garden Center but alas, we are miniature gardeners after all, and we know what "we" want for our hobby - you simply can't get that kind of insight behind a desk nor in China.
We don't have to look to anyone else for our ideas thankfully enough. We remain original and independent of anyone or any company in order to give you honest insight and authentic solutions for your miniature garden hobby. We are right where we need to be and we thank you for joining us.
Miniature Garden Her-story
Here are just some photos from our Miniature Garden Story, now rooted in garden history:
The ideas started as a greeting card line. Spring came and I started to work on a garden party invitation. This is one of the very first miniature garden scenes for the greeting card line and very impromptu. That is Lake Union in the background, in Seattle, Wa. in 2000.
The more I got to know how a miniature garden grew together, the more I understood that a few basic planting rules combined with a few valuable miniaturist's rules, would keep from having to rebuild the garden each season. This photo is of my first "group" taken in 2003.
Oh Joy! Oh Bliss! Lol! The artist-preneur at work.
This is me, Janit Calvo, at the Fremont Sunday Market in the freezing December
temperatures testing the ideas - and testing our resilience - in 2000. Thankfully, the enthusiastic sales warmed us up!
Our booth at the big Northwest Flower and Garden Show here in Seattle in 2007. We've tried a 10' x 10' booth as well as a 10' x 20' booth. While it was nice to have a bigger booth, it made twice the work as everything is miniature! We also found that doing this big local garden show in early spring burned us out for the rest of the season so we just stopped doing them as most of our customers were online and out of state.
Our miniature garden set-up at the Fremont Sunday Market in 2004. This is where we started promoting the hobby to the locals and the tourists. It was the tourists that carried our miniature garden message back home and helped spread the idea.
Our table at Portland Miniature Show around 2008-ish. Lol! With the sun coming in the windows behind us, it was hard for the customers to see what was on our table. Needless to say, we didn't do very well that weekend. A frustrating learning curve!
The Seattle Dollhouse Miniature Show in 2006 when it used to be held at the Seattle Center. ...Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Wenatchee, Mulkiteo, Everett, Edmonds, Fremont, Kirkland, Woodinville, Lake Forest Park, Tacoma, Bellevue, Beaux Arts, West Seattle, Leischi, Spokane, Chicago, San Francisco, Orlando, Philadelphia - the tour list is endless. But most of our efforts are now online only where we can serve more miniature gardeners.
Small and large victories, like our second Best of Show award at the Seattle Miniature Show won in 2006 shown above, kept me motivated and focused. In fact, anytime I felt like hanging it up and getting a "real job," I got a phone call, email or card from a customer thanking me for introducing them to such an enjoyable hobby. To this day, I still get those random calls from my fellow miniature gardeners when my mood gets down, funnily enough, and they always put on track
This is me teaching the crowd how to swim. Lol! No, I'm not sure what I was explaining here. This is just one of the gigs I did during my the book tour for my first book, Gardening in Miniature: Create Your Own Tiny Living World, in 2013.
The big Garden Expo in Spokane, Wa., in 2009. I've set up in people's kitchens, living rooms, (on their pianos!) dining rooms, back decks, backyards, in museums, office buildings, empty storefronts, and of course, numerous garden and miniature shows. Every spot is different, and every time we do, we meet more and more "Fellow MGs" that are just as obsessed about gardening in miniature as we are. Now that's fun. :o)