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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Alternate realities

I've discovered a totally Zen past-time. Friday night, I ended up waking up at 4 am with an intense urge to plant (I'm such a weirdo). So I repotted two plants that needed to move to larger pots, and then (still feeling the gardening urge) I picked up my book on houseplants that I'd gotten at the used book store down the street.

At around 6am, I'd gotten to the part where the author was talking about bottle gardening! Planting a whole little garden inside of a bottle! The concept is like building a ship in a bottle, except with plants (hence making it much more Zen and much cooler).

"Bottle Gardening" as a Google search didn't turn up a ton of results, but "terrarium" did. Ooh ooh! A new hobby!

Lemme show you some neat ones I found on the web. (some by Ann Wood, Hello Yarn, and Paula Hayes)

The best part of making terrariums is collecting the moss from the neighborhood. I collected some off the stones from outside my front door. There was a huge blanket of moss around the telephone poll across the street. It's so cool to get it, because it comes off in one big sheet! It's like a rug! I took it home and put it in a tupperware with warm water to get rid of a buggies. It looks fabulous in my terrariums. I now keep a little plastic bag with me so I can keep an eye out for cool things to put in my terrariums.

Composing little scenes is incredibly soothing. And I can't stop looking at these little worlds. Supposedly, once you get an enclosed terrarium stable, it can sustain itself for a good while without additional water, fertilizer, etc. As soon as I make sure I am okay at sustaining them, I want to try doing this with small necked bottles so I can finally make my bottle garden!

Make some too!

To make your own terrariums you need some kind of clear glass vessel. Goodwill is fabulous for this, but I also have some extra quart size canning jars that I thought would fit the bill.

Pour in a bottom layer of pea sized gravel (this will help with the drainage and provide a good reservoir for the water your little world.
Pour another small layer of activated charcoal over that. (both of these items can be found at a garden center near you). It's recommended that you put a layer of moss over this so that your soil doesn't wash into your gravel layers (but I skipped that step).

Add a small layer of dirt. Plop in any cool stones or wood and then start laying down your moss and putting in your plants in cool arrangements.
Buy some cute inhabitants for your world. Position them in your new mini-garden and add your lids. Voila!

Lori's terrarium web album


Anonymous said...

I agree, it is so very Zen to create a garden in a bottle. I went a bit...hmmm..."extreme" might be the word I'm looking for, and got a 15 gallon clear small neck bottle and made a garden composed of wet-land miniature plants and carnivourus plants....and a neon-blue poison arrow dart frog, very cool and relaxing to look at. I'm feeding the plants and frog with Drosophila, couple 100-s flies every now and then. Have nice arrangement of rocks and branches in my version of the biosphere project. Will send pics on request since I've got no blog of my own just yet.



Carolina :o) said...

I would love to get some pictures of a terrarium with a little live inhabitant.

Thanks for sharing your post.

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