The Stars of the Miniature Garden

During the dark, cold days of winter, when the short days are strung together by frosty mornings and bitter nights, I take comfort in the stars. Sometimes I bundle up in coat, hat, and gloves, and stand in my garden at night. Looking up, through the fog of my breath and the shiver of my body, I can see the stars, shining brightly across the deep-black sky. Stars offer the warmth of light, the promise of new life, and the hope of things yet unknown.

Points of Light
This year, I am looking forward to adding star shapes and lights to my miniature garden. To help my winter flowering plants and other winter plants “pop” with light, I like to add LED string lights. Colorful lights lend a holiday feel, but I usually prefer white or golden light to twinkle among the leaves and branches of my miniature trees, fairy houses, and winter plants. You can utilize tiny stakes, sticks, tape, and clear fishing line to secure lights so they look as though they are floating.

String lights look especially magical when criss-crossed over a pathway in the fairy garden. I imagine the fairies skipping down the path in the winter, looking up, and glimpsing the lights shining like stars above them. Think about the ways in which you hang string lights on your own house or in your neighborhood. With a little patience and imagination, you can create similar looks in the winter container garden.

For a starry garden project you can complete with children and teens, consider constructing a mason jar garden or a small terrarium. Mason jars lend themselves well to short strings of battery-powered LED lights. Simply add the miniature accessories, moss, and miniature plants or faux plants you want in your jar garden, and then string the lights inside. Tape the battery pack to the underside of the jar lid for easy on-and-off. A mason jar garden can act as a comforting night light for little ones, especially when built with a loved one.

Consider the Cryptanthus
Decorating a starry garden is one route to holiday magic. Another option: adding star-shaped plants to the garden. One of my favorite winter plants to grow in milder climates is Cryptanthus, also known as Earth Star. This perennial plant originates in Brazil, but can be grown all over the world. In warm zones, it can be grown as a winter plant. (Reminder: As you choose plants for fall and winter, be sure to check your USDA Growing Zone. This is a huge help when it comes to deciding which winter plants are the best fit for your particular region.) They should be kept above 59 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months.

Not only does Cryptanthus grow in a unique, star-like shape, but it comes in warm pink and red tones, which can help add holiday cheer to the winter household and garden. Cryptanthus does well as a houseplant, so you should definitely consider it for indoor winter container gardens, centerpieces, desks, terrariums, and holiday gifts.

Ready to bring a piece of the starry night sky into your miniature garden? As you consider plants for fall and winter and plant out your winter container gardens, think about the small ways in which you could bring the shape or the light of the stars to Earth. During the long, cold winter, these “stars of the garden” can be the tiny points of light we need on otherwise dark days.

Happy Gardening!

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