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Sprout Home Garden Inspiration: Toy Train

Posted: 12/07/2011 8:16 am

Flickr photo by Howard N2GOT

Many of us who grew up with a toy train set remember meticulously setting up the cities and countryside that the trains could travel through and visit. My favorite part was not necessarily the trains but instead setting up those miniature landscapes with their fields of green and tiny trees. Strategically placing foam to mimic undulations in landmass and covering it with various forms of faux grass and plants was so exciting and magical, one of my fondest memories. Perhaps it was my first hint that I was going to be doing something later in my life involving landscaping.

This year at Sprout Home Chicago, we were reminiscing about toy trains and we decided to create our own faux landscape (minus the trains) as a holiday display on our front counter. We have enjoyed watching young and old alike smile when they discover it in the store, just like a kid at Christmas. There is no reason why you cannot utilize the same concept at home in a smaller scale. It is a wonderful way to create a holiday table display and at the same time a fun family project.

Photo by Sprout Home It does not have to be difficult or even involve glue, and it can be as small or as large as you want it to be. If it is a larger table landscape, you can start by using any type of extra packing foam to build layers. Place the foam in the center of your landscape, if your creation is in the middle of a table, or place the foam towards the back if it is against a wall. If you want to incorporate live plant material within, use pots that are sealed on the bottom and place your plant with its original grower's pot inside. Then, build the foam around it to meet just below the pot lip. You can also incorporate floral by utilizing smaller vessels or bud vases in the landscape the same way you would use a potted plant. The floral can be changed out every couple of days. You can find bags of dried and preserved moss at most garden centers that you can use to begin building the landscape. Just avoid using rehydrated moss or it will become a mess. Some good bagged moss to grab would be Mood (flat and bright green), Pool (light green and chunky) and Reindeer (airy and in various colors). Build your moss over your forms meeting the tabletop until no foam is seen. You can use the foam to literally stick in dried material or evergreen cuts. It will easily hold them in place. Cut Echeveria and/or airplants are a great addition to lay on top in various arrangements. While you're walking through memory lane you might want to get out that bag of toy train figures that you had saved, and now you know why, and use them in the landscape for family and friends to discover. Your new project might replace the gingerbread house as a yearly holiday tradition. Next stop Christmas - everyone aboard.