Garden Photo of the Day

Making Miniature Garden Worlds

Landscape design on a tiny scale

mini garden that has a mini stone house as a focal point

I’m Serome Hamlin, and I’ve been gardening at my Zone 7b/8a Virginia home for over 20 years. I consider myself a plant nerd and have started making miniature gardens I call “mini-worlds” with dwarf conifers and plants. Dwarf conifers are one of my favorite plants. (I have a lot of favorite plants.) Being an artist, I didn’t want to just throw any plant in the container, I wanted to create a landscape in miniature form. So I’m able to make containers with hardscaping such as patios and pathways. I also try to use a variety of plant material of different heights to give dimension. Remembering that the trees still have to fit the scene, I keep all the plants under 6 inches or so. That way the tree can be the tallest thing, giving the container a more realistic look. I have had talks and workshops at local wineries, nurseries, and for garden clubs

Some of my favorite plants to use are dwarf hostas, Lysimachia japonica var. minutissima (Zones 5–8), Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ (Zones 3–10), Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nana’ (Zones 6–11), Sedum ‘Coral Carpet’ (Zones 3–9), and mini kenilworth ivy (Cymbalaria aequitriloba, Zones 6–10). These mini-worlds stay out year-round and can make great focal points in a full-size garden or used on patios and balconies.

mini garden planted in a wheelbarrowThis mini-world lives in a wheelbarrow, tucked into the larger garden around it.

close up of wheelbarrow gardenAs you get closer, the mini-world comes into focus, the small perennials keeping in scale with the dwarf conifers.

mini garden with mini bench and gravel pathA little gravel path leads to a bench where a miniature person might enjoy the clump of ‘Chocolate Chip’ ajuga.

close up view of above mini garden, from an angle that makes it look full sizedHere’s the same garden, seen from a lower angle that really makes it look like a miniature world.

mini garden with dwarf conifers planted in a white bowlThis mini-world in a white bowl has spotted aucuba (Aucuba japonica, Zones 7–10) as a backdrop.

container planted with mini perennialsMiniature varieties of hostas are beautiful but are easy to lose in the larger garden. Putting them in a mini-landscape like this allows you to enjoy their every detail.

view of the full sized garden that holds the mini gardensSerome doesn’t just make miniature landscapes! Here’s part of his fully human-size landscape.

mini garden that has a mini stone house as a focal pointA perfect little stone cottage sits in the middle of this mini-world.

wider view of the mini stone house gardenI love how elaborate this mini-world is. The stone cottage at the end of the path sits in a world full of beautiful plants.


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View Comments


  1. cynthia2020 10/06/2022

    Serome - I enjoyed looking at the photos of your miniature landscaping and reading your gardening story. I am impressed with how healthy the plants look and the neatness of each area. When I tried a miniature landscape in my front garden one year near the sidewalk, it was time consuming to keep it manicured and well watered.

  2. User avater
    simplesue 10/06/2022

    Very creative gardening! Little surprises to come across in the garden!

  3. wittyone 10/06/2022

    These little landscapes are just adorable. I'd love to come live in one of those tiny stone houses with the wonderful trees and bushes surrounding it.

    Great work!

  4. btucker9675 10/06/2022

    Completely charming in every way!

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