Many plant species are perfectly suited for use in containers and for tiny landscapes to create mini gardens. Whether you are trying to create a fantasy world complete with dragon and fairy sculptures, or just feel the need to add a few succulents in a pretty dish, mini gardens can bring small touches of nature to any environment.
Penjing is the art of creating harmonious miniature landscapes. For the best display, these landscapes are planted in shallow bonsai dishes. Try using small rocks that have fissures, small holes and rough areas, as rocks like these look old and resemble real mountains. Tiny alpines, sedum and other small-statured plants would work well as shrubbery and flowers. Mosses can be convincing as grass for fields and lawns. For a truly breathtaking penjing, try installing a waterfall. If a watertight container is used, the waterfall can fall from the top of the tallest "mountain" and fall down each graduating rock until landing in the "sea" at the base. Miniature boats, houses, animals and even mud men can be added for further charm.
Miniature ponds are often installed when space will not allow for standard structures. Try using an old bathtub or even a large pot to hold the pond water. Installing a pump will add oxygen to the water so small fish can be kept healthy. Try adding one miniature waterlily and surrounding it with azolla and duckweed. Miniature cattails and horsetail rush would look nice around the perimeter of the pot. Keeping the plants potted in small pots will keep them as small as possible. Another addition could be an island and plantings of terrestrial plant species. A mountain with a waterfall would add height, movement and sound to the pond. Try adding blooming sedum and other tough plants to the islands' mountain for added flair. Mountains can be made from natural rock or created with cement.
Try creating a unique fantasy landscape. Using a long pot or a trough will give more surface area for adding plants and decorations. Polymer clay can be used to mold and carve figurines such as dragons, alien plants, fairies, wizards, "huge" insects and the like. By using unusually shaped and colored plants, the landscape will seem even more magical. Try installing a small pond, fogger and waterproof colored lights. When turned on together, the lights will play off the fog for a mysterious feel. A CD of jungle sounds can even be used with it to work as a sleep aid.