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  Season 8 - Episode 802
 

Railroad Garden

Railroad Garden

Railroad Garden

Railroad Garden

Railroad Garden

 

 



  Railroad Garden

All aboard for the train ride of your life-if you're two inches tall, that is! Miniature trains are wending their way past tiny trees in gardens from California to the Carolinas. It's a trend that's definitely gathering steam. "There's something in it for everybody-gardening, trains. There's model-building, electronics. All these could be a hobby in themselves. But this hobby combines all of them," said Jack Verducci. He is the engineer of his own garden railroad-one that takes up not only the backyard, but the front and side yards of his San Mateo home.

Garden railroading is an old as the transportation mode, itself. In the 1830s full-scale builders used steam-powered models to test theories and show off their latest designs to the public. Created in 1935, the Fairplex layout at the Los Angeles County fairgrounds in considered the oldest and largest in the U.S. Garden railroading didn't catch on as a hobby here until 1968 with the creation of large-scale plastic trains, sturdy enough for the outdoors. Now there are two hundred thousand hobbyists.

When it comes to these railroad gardens, the first rule of the thumb is to just have fun. The second is to make your spread as authentic as possible, right down to the miniature trees. Tiny forests are created with dwarf conifers like Alberta and Norway spruces as well as pint-sized pomegranates. Lots of careful trimming and some bonsai techniques keep trees and shrubs small.

Every railroad garden is as different as the person who designed it. But Dart and Dottye Rinefort of Marin County really let their imaginations run wild. They made up a whole story involving themselves and their grandchildren.

Experts say garden railroading is a "hot" trend, with the highest growth on the West Coast. Some 40 thousand people participate, including celebrities like Arsenio Hall, David Hasselhoff and Neil young.

For more information on this fast-growing hobby visit www.gardentrains.org.

 

 
   

 

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