Book Review: Miniature Gardens

Miniature Gardens:  Design And Create Miniature Fairy Gardens, Dish Gardens, Terrariums And More–Indoors And Out, by Katie Elzer-Peters

I’m not going to lie, this book was too high-maintenance for me.  I’m not saying this was a bad book, because it was quite an enjoyable one, but it was too high maintenance.  Although I am no stranger to books on gardening [1], I tend to have a few fairly clear rules when it comes to gardens I envision for myself.  For one, those gardens must have practical use–either the plants must be edible or must be helpful for the soil or must have some sort of usual product that comes from them.  For another, all other things being equal they cannot be particularly expensive or require a great deal of maintenance.  So a terrarium that requires little care except for infrequent watering or taking care of cacti is going to be generally preferable to making gardens that require the buying of products en masse and the crafting or purchasing of lots of miniatures, as this book would require.  To be sure, the gardens included here are quite lovely to look at, but they are not the sort of gardens that I would make for myself.

In a little under 200 pages, this book contains two parts.  The first part of the book introduces miniature garden basics like design, plants, containers, accessories (oh, so many accessories), themes, and aspects of growth.  The second part looks at how people can create miniature and fairy garden projects including indoor miniature gardens, terrariums and aeriums, and outdoor gardens.  Each of these contains several whimsical themes and enough items to purchase to make someone a favorite of fellow etsy members, and also detailed instructions on how to create the fairy gardens shown.  Let us not misunderstand matters, for these are beautiful gardens.  The amount of time that is shown painting fake castles and putting up fake furniture is impressive.  One wonders if it would be better to appreciate the effort or to comment that such effort would be better spent doing practical efforts.  It is unlikely that anyone looking for inspiration from this book is going to be all that practically inclined, and will probably be far more whimsical about matters than this reader was.  Even so, there is a lot to appreciate about this book.

So, what is there to say about this book?  If you like the idea of crafty little gardens that cost a fair amount of money and require a great deal of artistic skill but do not require that much care and can be managed in the small states of urban life, this book will be greatly appealing, if you are not offended by the gardens being called fairy gardens.  As is frequently the case when I read books of this kind, I am struck by the fact that such effort in design is undertaken by people who tend to show such little regard for creation or for its designer.  Possibly it is not ignorance, but envy which accounts for this disconnect.  Whatever the reason, though, this book is amusing and frequently appealing and is an enjoyable read for those who live in cities and who like the thought of creating their own odd and beautiful gardens.  Expect to be paying a lot of money though, to make gardens that like like those in this book.  Or, if one does not want to spend the money, one can simply appreciate the creativity and the way the author is trying to market her designs to an appreciative audience.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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