How to Make a Tabletop Woodland Garden | Midwest Living

How to Make a Tabletop Woodland Garden

Arrange a lush centerpiece inspired by nature for use indoors or out.
  • Tabletop woodland garden

    Tabletop woodland garden

    Combine foraged finds with a few garden center purchases in a natural display of woodland wonder. Click or tap ahead for step by step instructions. 

  • Step 1: Gather Your materials

    Step 1: Gather Your materials

    Before getting started on your garden, you’ll need:

    • Tray
    • Preserved moss
    • Hot-glue and glue sticks
    • Floral adhesive
    • Driftwood
    • Moss ribbon
    • Dried lichen
    • Tree fern pot
    • Plants: air plant, fern, violet, begonia, Perperomia, Pilea, Chinese primrose*
    • Florist’s wire
    • Spanish moss
    • Miniature accessories, such as dried seedpods, pinecones, and tiny figurines
    • Floral clay

    *When selecting plants, look for pots labeled "itty-bitty" or the smallest houseplant selections widely available for fairy gardens, terrariums and dish gardens. Little potted ferns, begonias and other low-light houseplants work well. Air plants are also excellent candidates, and young perennials, such as violets and primroses, can spend a few weeks indoors before being moved to a woodland or shade garden outside.

  • Step 2: Cover

    Cover a metal or plastic tray with sheets of preserved moss to make a watertight base for your tabletop garden. Conceal the edges of the tray with bits of moss, holding the moss in place with dabs of hot glue or floral adhesive 

  • Step 3: Attach moss

    Step 3: Attach moss

    Enhance the earthiness of the driftwood by attaching lengths of moss or moss ribbon and dried lichen here and there. Moss ribbon comes on a spool; it consists of moss affixed to a woven base. 

  • Step 4: Transplant

    Before adding a plant to your tabletop garden, transplant a small specimen into a tree fern pot. The fibrous container will provide a well-draining home for a plant with a small root ball. Alternatively, wrap the plant’s root ball with moss and florist’s wire or wrap its nursery pot with moss, using hot glue to secure it. Cover any bare soil of potted plants with Spanish moss. 

  • Step 5: Add accessories

    Step 5: Add accessories

    Add miniature accessories in scale with the plants to complete the illusion of a woodland garden. Use a pinch of floral clay to attach a cone, seedpod, and tiny frog or other figurine to the driftwood.

  • Caring for your woodland garden

    Caring for your woodland garden

    Your garden should last for months indoors or out when placed in indirect light. Plants will need regular watering. And although plants grow slowly with their roots confined, they will eventually need to be repotted and moved to permanent quarters indoors or in the garden.

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