The Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop book

A book about accessorizing your miniature garden
The Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World
by Janit Calvo
Published by Timber Press
The Haseltine Building
133 SW Second Avenue., Suite 450
Portland OR 97204
8" x 9", 248 pages, softbound
Profusely illustrated in color
Price: $19.95
The Gardening in Miniature Prop Shop: Handmade Accessories for Your Tiny Living World is a great book for those interested in creating miniature worlds in their gardens, be they railway related or not.

Janit Calvo’s book is an excellent primer for those who have always wanted to make things with their hands but have been a little afraid of learning about tools and materials. Her approach is very much down to earth, both figuratively and literally. She outlines the three ideal workshops for the miniature gardener: the gardener’s bench; the stone shop, where you do your miniature paving; and a comfortable indoor space for creating and making. She goes on to discuss the tools you’ll need for the 37 projects in her book. Everything on her list is a hand tool (although she does use a power drill on some of her projects) and you’ll probably have most of them in your house already.

Glues and adhesives come next, with a thorough explanation of several types and what they are best used for. She then goes on to paints (acrylic, enamel, latex house paint, and spray paint), stains, and hardeners and stiffeners. This section is followed by a discussion of various knives, saws, and other cutting tools.

A “world tour” follows, which includes several chapters of creating scenes that might appear in various parts of the world, including the US, Great Britain, Spain, India, and Japan. These settings are contrivances to introduce us to various projects. While the actual scene described may not be of interest, the techniques described to achieve the various effects are well worth exploring. For example, she tells us how to weather old wooden furniture; the same techniques could be used on a boxcar. She describes how to create an “ancient” brick patio; this could easily be a station platform or a village street.

Many of the author’s mini-gardens are in pots. She describes special-event gardens that celebrate birthdays, weddings, and holidays. Again, the broad topic covered maybe outside our realm, but the techniques she describes are invaluable. This could be said for just about everything in the book, including some of the (literally) outlandish chapters, like “Colonizing Outer Space” and “Under the Sea.” Don’t be fooled—there’s gold hidden in every page.

The author’s writing style is conversational and easy to read. She explains her concepts clearly and concisely in an easily understood way. Her tone is encouraging and her enthusiasm and humor shine through. The book is printed on high quality paper and the photo reproduction—all color—is excellent. This is a delightful volume that I would recommend to anyone who would like to learn new techniques to further accessorize their railway landscapes.


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