Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Build a Tiny Gnome Town

Trying to stay on theme with Gnome Week (fortunately only celebrated on my blog), I thought I might include my friend Freya's miniature garden for inspiration. Although she created hers in a large concrete container, this could easily be replicated right on the ground within an existing garden or a window box. Children would have tons of fun designing their own version, or have fun discovering one in a small corner of the yard or under a tree that you've built. Aside from the shear joy a garden like this provides, a truly fun gardening project stimulates the imagination, encourages artistic and creative expression, and inspires healthy outdoor play. All good stuff.

Here are the key components to Freya's Gnome Garden:
  • several bird houses
  • dwarf arborvitae, boxwood, and evergreens
  • dwarf perennials and groundcovers: columbine, heucherella, creeping jenny, hens and chicks, creeping thymes, irish moss, veronicas (check any Steppables display at your local garden center for ideas)
  • spring bulbs and annuals: tete-a-tete daffodils, dianthus, anything else within scale and colorful and/or fragrant
  • larger and smaller stones
  • plastic saucer or 1 gallon pot for a pond
  • pea gravel for mulch and line their little gnome walkways

Here's a look at the Gnome Garden in the winter. As you can see, all of the annuals and most of the perennial groundcovers have been removed (they wouldn't have survived our winter in a container anyway) and she's replaced them with cut stems, evergreen tips, and the all too necessary fuzzy fake deer and tiny gnome figures. (You have to have a sense of humor when designing your gnome garden). Although I think hers is more sweet than silly. Otherwise, the foundation stayed relatively the same. Structures, paths, and the pond remained.

Detail of gnomes by the pond in the winter.

There are so many possibilities to create your own miniature garden. Let your children and their interests guide you. I've seen wonderful gardens built with train tracks winding through, but you could have a lot of fun with plastic dinosaurs, zoo animals, or giant insects. The tough part is creating something that they can play with without completely destroying or, in the case at my house, running away with all the figures. Let me know about the gnomes in your garden...and where they live.


  1. Those pics are way cool.

    I stopped by to thank you for commenting on my garden blog the other day and ended up following because of this post.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Thank you! What a great compliment. And it's nice to see someone else in the follower box besides myself.