Monday, April 19, 2010

Terrariums, otherwise titled "The Art of Planting with Chopsticks"

Happy Monday!  I'm in a stretch of days where I find myself hurrying to do all of the things I have/need to do in order to do all of the things I want/wish to do.  Ever have those stretches?  They're a bit agonizing, but in a fun sort of way.

Planting terrariums was one of the things I gleefully attempted late last Thursday night, by artificial light on my deck I might add, after finishing all of the things I needed to do that day.  Yeah!  Ever since I wandered into Anthropologie recently and saw their display of oversized jars stuffed with succulents and ferns, I've been itching to try it myself.  Add a cool vintage milk bottle purchased at a garage sale, a lovely footed oversize brandy snifter and tall apothecary jar from my favorite thrift store, and a little internet research and I had quite the burning desire to give it a whirl!

Armed with my newly purchased miniature plants from Bachman's (where they had an awesome display of terrariums,) a bag of activated charcoal, some sphagnum moss, fresh potting soil and some sand from my son's sandbox, I set to the task of creating these precious little exhibits. 

I started with the brandy snifter because it had a large opening at the top, then I progressed to the fish bowl, the tall apothecary jar and finally got out the chop sticks to plant the fern into the vintage milk bottle!  Covering the roots of the fern with soil required a teaspoon and patience.  It was fun (in the pure "from scratch" sort of way) layering a few marble sized rocks and then sand in the bottom of each vessel to assist drainage, charcoal to filter impurities, sphagnum moss to help keep the roots dry, and finally potting soil before adding the tender little plants.  I felt like a mad scientist out there in the dark with my little beauties and certainly caused a few raised eyebrows from the neighbors I think.  Of course this only made me love the process more, ha!

I agonized over plant placement and groupings far longer than was necessary.  Then I happily accessorized my "little worlds" once planted with some sea shells and a small sand dollar from our recent trip, some pretty stones, and even marbles in one jar.  My mom used to put a stray marble or two into her potted plants and I used to wonder why...I guess she thought it was pretty, which is why I chose marbles.

The final step was to pull out a sunny yellow cloth napkin from my stash and 2 red/white doilies to create a cheery little vignette full of life on our dining table. 

Hopefully this is a new fronteir I continue to blaze, since growing plants the traditional way hasn't been successful for me since the doggies and our son entered our life.  Because the jar's shapes, and lid in one case, shelter the plants and retain more of the moisture there shouldn't be the need to water as often.  Plus, since they're clear jars you can see when you've overwatered.  My only concern is for light when the long MN winter with its short days is here once again.  Guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  For now, I look happily at those 4 things of beauty every day and am very satisfied.  If there's something you've been pondering, my encouragement to you is to try it!  Adventure can be so fun and rewarding if you give it a little room to grow in your life. 


kimar9791 said...

Thanks for sharing this great idea. What a great way to make use of pretty glass containers.

Deb said...

Love the one in the milk bottle. And I enjoy your creativity vicariously! Keep posting!