Friday, April 20, 2012

~Creating a Terrarium~

I can remember, many moons ago in my early 20s, that terrariums were quite popular.  Maybe it had something to do with the hippie generation.  Not that I was a hippie or anything.  Quite far from it!  Even though my green thumb was not even a a tiny bit green and I had no idea what I was doing, I tried my hand at making one.  And, if I recall, it didn't do so well.  I believe terrariums went by the wayside for a good many years and now it seems they are making a comeback.  Or else I've been living in the dark ages!!

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 Anyway, after seeing them on the internet and in a few blogs lately, I decided that I would try my hand at it again.  But I didn't quite know what type container to use so I started doing some searching to give me ideas to tuck away in the back of my mind for that " some day" when I was ready to create one.  I love the details of this one.  Reminds me of the beautiful greenhouses that were used by the wealthy many years ago.

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 I know I've seen a full-size version of this one somewhere but can't recall exactly where.  Can you imagine strolling through a beautiful greenhouse like this, taking care of your plants or overseeing the work that your gardener did?  If I had a beautiful one like this, I'd most definitely have a gardener ;)

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 Talk about refurbishing.  Have you ever wondered what to do with your old wall sconces that you're not using anymore?  How about using them as mini terrariums!  I personally don't care for the color but this is one super clever idea!!

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 Or how about a mini, mini terrarium?  I can imagine having one of these on my desk or sewing area while I work.  Or on a windowsill in the kitchen while washing dishes.  It would be so therapeutic, don't you think?

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 Too small?  Okay, how about refurbishing an old aquarium.  I mean a really BIG aquarium!  I don't know how much more work it would take to maintain one like this though.  I always picture terrariums as being somewhat maintenance free.

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 I like the idea of creating clusters of terrariums.

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Now this is being creative!  Old, antique, okay... vintage canning jars, cloches and small bottles.  I think the idea of using different mediums to create the unique contrasts of a garden in a jar is my favorite.  How in the world does one get a small plant into such a tiny opening?  Reminds me of the old ship in the bottle thing.  I still haven't figured that one out.

 I really hadn't planned on creating a terrarium yet but when I was in Lowe's over the weekend, buying replacement plants that didn't survive the extreme heat we had last summer, I spotted some pretty terrariums for sale.  Okay, while I'm here.... Not knowing exactly what I was going to do, I went ahead and purchased several different plants, went to Wally World and picked up some aquarium gravel (I thought the smaller rocks would go better with the small plants) and some Spanish moss (I couldn't find the Sphagnum moss that was recommended).  Got the lidded jar at Target for six bucks.

 The guy at Lowe's wasn't that helpful.  He just gave me some general ideas and said to "get them over in that area".  So, after going back and forth trying to decide which combinations would look best AND survive, I opted for some ground cover plants and especially some with small leaves.  I'm amazed at the beauty in such tiny things.

 This is a ground cover called Platt's Black.  Talk about tiny!!  Reminds me of what one would see on the floor of a really lush forest.

 I wanted a small-leaf Caladium but, since I couldn't find one, I chose the Stained Glassworks Coleus instead.

 This is another ground cover plant called Whitewater Prostrate Speedwell.  Look at those tiny leaves!!

Sorry that this one is so fuzzy but it was the only picture I took of this Vinca Vine.

I've never had a fern and, even though I wasn't sure I was going to use it in the terrarium, brought it home as a "just in case'....if I didn't use it there I could surely use it somewhere else in the house.  One can never have too many plants, you know.

 Some of the instructions I found as how to construct the terrarium recommended activated charcoal to keep down the mildew and smell.  I forgot to buy some and decided to try some regular charcoal.  I got out my trusty hammer, put the charcoal in a couple of layers of plastic bags and pounded away.  Note to self:  do it outside next time.  It does make a bit of a mess.  Will it hurt my plants?  I have no idea.

I placed a layer of moss in the bottom to help absorb moisture, a layer of the gravel, a small amount of charcoal and then another layer of moss to prevent the soil from sifting to the bottom. I ended up doing my layers several times as I felt I had them too thick.  Once satisfied, I added a couple of inches of potting soil on top of that. 

I realized that if I put my plants in the jar as is, it would be too crowded so I broke them into smaller sections.  I manhandled them pretty badly as I arranged and rearranged them to my liking.  I'm hoping they'll survive after all that.  The Vinca Vine ended up being a tad tall even though I scrunched it down pretty good.

I created a little vignette of the remaining pieces of plants.  I figured if I botched up the terrarium and the plants didn't make it, I will have the 'leftovers' to try again.

The plants aren't supposed to touch the glass wall, but I couldn't get them in the center very well.

For the time being, the plants are displayed on my vintage sewing table where they get some sun on the north side of the room.  I think I'll put the terrarium on the ledge above the kitchen sink.  The plant vignette will probably go upstairs in my sewing/craft room.  Obviously, I ended up not using the fern but I'm going to replant it.  Maybe as a hanging plant?  For now, it will sit on the bottom shelf of a little plant stand I have in the breakfast area until I decide where to put this homeless little beauty.

I'm not the best gardener in the world, but I have managed to keep most of my plants alive and thriving somewhat.  And I'm glad as I do enjoy having them in my home.  How green is your thumb?

Have a blessed day~

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Cindy said...

Your terrariums are lovely, and I love the one that you made, I hope it does well.
I do not have a green thumb, not even close. I do all of my planting outside, I gave up on the inside plants a long time ago. I don't enjoy killing plants.
Hugs, Cindy

Kerin said...

How fun!!

You did a great job creating your terrarium and it's just charming :)

I really do have a green thumb. One of my few talents.
I've taught gardening classes before and I really enjoy helping people find what plants will work for them.
I love that the growing season is upon us :)

Have a great weekend!!

vintage grey said...

Your terrariums are beautiful! Great job!! Love how you have them displayed!! Have a lovely weekend!! xo Heather

Lori Stokes Wright said...

Thanks for the for doing the research and step-by-step, I can easily follow them when the mood strikes me. I love how yours came out, I'm like you, I can 'probably' keep it alive. tee hee

LDH said...

Hi Velma! I have always enjoyed terrariums and have maintained one for many years. Just recently I pulled out a large covered glass jar given to me from a daughter with the intention of using it as a terrarium but was concerned that the glass would eventually get messed up and would not be usable for food.

I have noticed staining when I planted in china and pottery.

This is a very informative post and I have enjoyed visiting with you!

Kindly, Lorraine

Anita @ Cedar Hill Ranch said...

What an awesome idea. I remember terrariums from the 70's and the containers were so ugly back then. But the newer ones are so much prettier. Love your take on it! I might have to try this sometime.

Sam I Am...... said...

You are ambitious! That's a beautiful terrarium! I remember I had one years ago too when they were popular but I don't think I knew much back then and it didn't last long. I'm not sure I really know that much more now but I might try it again but not now. Spring is way too busy planting outside for me to do any planting inside! LOL! It sure looks like sun though! Maybe this Fall. Thanks for sharing all your hard work with us.

Elaine @ Sunny Simple Life said...

Velma these are so pretty. Remember when they were all the rage? I am glad they are coming back as they are interesting but also pretty to have in the house.

TinaTx said...

Looks great! I usually reserve my plant killing for outside. :)


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