Terrariums

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TERRARIUMS

Today I’ve finally been able to continue my creative indoor gardening project, and I have really enjoyed myself. I’ve created two terrariums from mostly recycled/repurposed materials. Terrariums were originally created by the plant collecting biologists of the Victorian era. They created glass cases to contain their tropical plant specimens so that they could be brought back and admired in our colder climate.

unnamed-7Today Terrariums have become fashionable again and I’ve been collecting images of them and other house plants on my Pinterest board here. They can be made out of any glass container, so you are only limited by your imagination really. There are two different types of environments you can create: one is a closed container (with a lid) in which you can keep tropical plants such as mosses and ferns, who like a warm moist environment (the closed system looks after itself and requires no watering at all). The other is an open container, in which you can keep arid loving plants such as succulents, cacti and air plants. The succulents prefer a little bit of misting occasionally, but the cacti and air plants need very little attention. So in this way, terrariums are the ultimate permaculture easy-care low-maintenance way of keeping houseplants!

I was walking past a chip shop the other day when I remembered something a friend had told me; that chip shops are the best place to pick up unnamed-6large glass jars for reuse. So I popped in and introduced myself. I told the lady who owned the chip shop what I was hoping to make and she gladly offered me two empty jars which had contained picked onions and pickled gherkins. I took them home and gave them a wash. They were a perfect size. And it feels good to be using them in the spirit of creating no waste, and up-cycling waste materials. Because the lids weren’t very attractive I decided to make two open terrariums with succulent plants.

So next I researched how to plant up my terrariums. Again I found the relevant information on Pinterest here¬†and here. It’s all about building up the layers. I started with a bottom layer of small pebbles (I had a bag left over from other gardening projects), then a thin layer of charcoal (we had some left over from the summer), then some potting compost (I used left overs from other household plants I was repotting), then the plants and then to finish off, a layer of attractive stones or shells.unnamed-1

The plants I chose were mostly bought from a local shop. I like to support local businesses and I really enjoyed looking around this beautiful inspiring place in the Needlemakers in Lewes. I also dug up a succulent plant called Stonecrop, left over from our old living roof which we brought with us and planted out into our new garden. It likes the same free-draining dry conditions and has a beautiful pink flower in summer.

So here they are all finished. I’m really pleased with them, and they make a great centre piece for the table. I enjoyed looking through our hoard of little pebbles and shells we’d collected over the years to find ones which would look best with the plants. I even found an old stone cannonball which one of my sons found on a walk on the Downs near Portsmouth when he was much younger, so these will be treasured and talked about for some time to come.unnamed

All I need to do now is to show these photos to the lady in the chip shop and encourage her to give it a try herself!

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