Much like bonsai plants -- normal-size trees and shrubs whose growth is restricted by constant pruning and a limited environment -- these wonders are strikingly petite, and include flowers, shrubs, and mosses that grow to heights of only a few inches. But unlike the Japanese ornamentals, their small stature is achieved through breeding rather than cultivation, and they require relatively little training and care.
Olive Ma-Robinson, a friend of Martha's, first fell in love with miniature plants in her native Taiwan, where she became a specialist in what she calls dish gardening. In trays roughly the size of dinner plates, she creates woodland landscapes, complete with lichen-covered rocks and twigs to emulate boulders and fallen trees.
According to Olive, a miniature plant garden offers the perfect opportunity to design. When planning your landscape, think about foliage texture and color, and take inspiration from your favorite forest spot. (You may want to sketch your ideas on paper before putting them into effect.) To care for miniature plants, water them when dry, using a fine hose or mister, and feed them occasionally with an all-purpose fertilizer, following label directions. When plants become overgrown, trim the foliage with small manicure scissors.