Friday, September 17, 2010

Capture Fall... Make a Terrarium!

 As the leaves turn color, the wind blows colder, and the days grow shorter, it can make a person a little wistful that summer is over, and that we are slowly making our autumn transition into the cold winter ahead. At such a time, one may wish to hold onto anything green and alive before all is covered by a blanket of snow. Well, it is possible! ...with Terrariums!

A terrarium is a bit of nature captured in glass. It often has a cover, but not always. The cover makes a terrarium very easy to take care of, as it minimizes the need for the live plants within to be watered. All that is needed is an occasional light mist. The closed environment preserves the moisture and makes its own small ecosystem. All that is need is a glass container (bowl, candy jar, cheese ball platter, etc), some soil, some moss, perhaps some plants, flowering or not (ferns are especially traditional), and any other gem of nature one would wish to add to the mini garden or piece of nature: stones, pinecones, colored leaves, a piece of birchbark... the possibilies really are endless.

Terrariums were very popular during the Victorian Era, after the concept was discovered by Nathaniel Ward. Read the history here. The "Wardian Case" style of terrarium is named after him. His book on the subject, On the Growth of Plants in Closely Glazed Cases is available to read online here. A very helpful, up-to-date book on the subject, with artistic ideas and good advice is The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature. I checked it out at our local library and found it to be both helpful and inspiring. "Apartment Therapy" has some inspirational pictures of terrariums here.

Terrariums don't have to be complicated at all. Here are a couple other resources:
How to Create a No-Fuss Garden: Terrariums give you low-maintenance beauty all year long
Grow a Mini-Garden

My Terrarium

Inside My Terrarium
My dad really "gets into" terrariums... Literally. A Greenhouse is merely a giant terrarium! Here is my dad working on our permanent greenhouse, which will help extend the growing season for those of us in the northern part of the country:

Dad working in the Greenhouse. Photo taken by my Mom.

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