No room for a garden, you say?
Well, maybe that’s because you haven’t seen the ultimate tiny garden – the terrarium.
I was inspired to write about terrariums after a blogging friend Stephanae, of Bold Blind Beauty told me she wasn’t much of a gardener, although after reading my post on waterlilies she felt compelled to give gardening a go.
Like most things, terrariums have been subject to fickle fashion. Years ago, everyone had one and then they lost favour only to be resurrected again recently. Back then, my mother successfully turned an old fish tank into a lush and much admired terrarium, complete with tiny terrapins – miniature turtles – with a little pond up one end. This arrangement is more correctly called a ‘vivarium’ because it contains animals. Now my daughter has (re) discovered the idea and has terrariums in abundance.
Perhaps you have an old fish bowl hanging around in the cupboard, or even a clam shell or two. But even if you have none of those things to hand, they’re readily available at local ‘cheap’ variety stores. In fact, many of these stores carry glass bowls specifically purposed for terrariums. Others can be created in jars, brandy balloons or old glass vases. Our local hardware/nursery sells miniature ferns and ground covers, ideal for planting up in terrariums.
The process of making your own terrarium couldn’t be simpler, and the maintenance equally so. Begin by placing a layer of stones or small shells in the bottom of your chosen container. Some people add some activated charcoal at this point, but so far I’ve not bothered. Top with a layer of good quality potting mix. Press ferns or mosses down firmly into the mix, keeping in mind the proportion of plant size to container size. Arrange damp sphagnum around the plants and fill with water to soak well and bed the plants in. Drain off the water. Clean up the glass with some paper towel.
Stand back to admire your handiwork, then watch it grow!
You’ll find the terrarium will create its own humid micro climate and so will need only infrequent watering. The sphagnum moss is a good indicator of moisture level. As long as it’s damp, the ferns will be hydrated. Just repeat the watering exercise described above if it’s looking a little dry, making sure to drain off the excess. In the climate where I live, once every couple of weeks seems to be enough.
Recently, I re-purposed some clam shells by planting them up with ferns. They’re not strictly terrariums as such because they’re not enclosed but the effect is equally pleasing.
When I ponder terrariums, I realise in this context, size has little to do with magnitude. There is a magnitude of enjoyment in giving pleasure to others.
Small gifts can say big things.
Then there is the magnitude of gratification that comes with using one’s imagination to create something physically small but which, in terms of satisfaction, is much larger.
“Embrace the power of little things and you will build a tower of mighty things. Mighty things are made up varieties of little things put together!”
― Israelmore Ayivor,
I will be travelling next week so I won’t be posting. However, there will be tales to tell on my return.