Tuesday, February 22

Indoor Gardening: Terrariums

As long as I can remember, my family has kept terrariums. My grandmother had a special talent for terrarium making. She created some beautiful displays that lasted for years.

We usually use what we can find in the forest. My kids and I made the terrarium above. It's just a large vase with a clear glass dessert plate for a lid. The dessert plate sits nicely on this particular vase. It doesn't completely seal it, but I've found it still works well. I also check the moisture level every so often, but so far, have not needed to water. Plastic wrap is another option, but I didn't want to use plastic and liked the look of the plate.

We've used several types of moss, Prince Pine, Ajuga, and Creeping Jenny, most found in the Maine woods. The Ajuga is from my own garden. I added a tiny green bottle and a gnome for decoration. I've recently seen some tiny embellishments at our local nursery in the form of houses, pails, gardening tools and more.  Our gnome is actually 'Uncle Sam' who came from a box of Red Rose Tea, but we're pretending he's a gnome. This little bit of forest in our house cheers us when the snow is waist deep outside and all of nature slumbers under the white blanket.

Making a terrarium is so simple:

  •  put some pebbles in the bottom of a glass container.
  •  then add a layer of activated charcoal.
  •  add soil.
  • Plant taller plants and lay down moss.
  • Add some decorations and cover. 

Once established this should be self contained and not need watering, but at first, I watch for too much water and open to air if it seems soggy. If using a plate as a lid, check moisture to make sure it doesn't dry out.

When I was at Savers the other day, I found a glass container perfect for another terrarium. It didn't have a cover, so I looked in the aisle of plates to find a clear glass dessert plate to fit the top. Total cost: 69 cents for the plate; 5.99 for the container. Thrift stores are great places to hunt for terrarium containers. I've seen some really interesting shapes and sizes- from fish bowls to unique vases to tiny glasses. Try to think outside the box- any clear glass, water-tight container will work. 

Above is a photo of my new terrarium container. The bell is 8 inches high by 6 inches diameter at the top; tapering down at the bottom. I am itching to plant it, but with the forest covered in several feet of snow, I'll have to make a trip to the nursery for a few plants. I'm open to suggestions. What plants have worked well for you? What plants do you think would work well in my new terrarium? If you have a photo of your own terrarium, please leave a link to your blog in the comments, so we can see your own creation. 
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