Terrarium Making Lesson

photograph copyrighted by Kindra Clineff

Okay, here comes the pep talk: You can do this. Your kid can do this. Your grandmother can do this. Your hamster probably can’t.

Why do this? Because this terrarium will rescue your life. You will find peace. Your boss won’t seem so obnoxious. The world will be a better place. Nature will seep into all the little nooks and crannies of your existence. Your family will thank you (but the kids won’t necessarily stop whining). Creativity will reign. Winter will be bearable (sort of). All this from a terrarium.

Anatomy Lesson: What do you need? Just:

  • a glass container (okay, you can use plastic, but it won’t sparkle). Any size works. Helps if you can fit your hand through the mouth.
  • 3/8 inch pebbles
  • horticultural charcoal (get it at a garden center or aquarium supply store)
  • potting soil (light African violet type mix works, I use organic)
  • watering can
  • nature objects like seed pods, lichen-covered sticks, seashells, whatever grooves you
  • gloves (Always wear gloves. Don’t argue with me.)

photograph copyrighted by Kindra Clineff

Ready? Here’s how to make it happen:

  • Put on the gloves.
  • Mix water into the potting soil before you start. Don’t overdo it.
  • Pour (or scoop, it’s your call) 1-2 inches of pebbles into the bottom of the glass container.
  • Add a small handful of horticultural charcoal.
  • Mix the pebbles and charcoal together.
  • Add a separate layer of 2-3 inches of potting soil.
  • Tamp it down and level it lightly to give a flat planting surface.
  • Dig a hole in the soil to receive your first plant.
  • Tuck that baby into the hole. Firm it in. Really firm it in. Firm it in again.
  • Repeat for the other plants. Don’t crowd. This isn’t a subway.
  • Add the nature objects. Feel the creativity pulsing in your veins. You’re forging frontiers where hamsters never ventured.
  • Water the terrarium lightly.
  • Put the lid on.
  • See, I told you = Peace.

Stay tuned for long term care instructions on my next blog. Meanwhile, Enjoy!

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8 Responses to Terrarium Making Lesson

  1. Mo'a says:

    Exciting…we are on our way to Styers Terrain!!!

  2. Mo'a says:

    I had a wonderful Saturday at Terrain…good for body and soul. Thank you, it was because of you that we went there 🙂
    I wrote a teaser post about the plants in my home…it is up right now. I will post a Terrarium post on Wednesday.

  3. Mo'a says:

    Hello Tovah, I have a blog post up about my experience with making a terrarium…it was and is a fantastic experience. Is it legal to have so much fun?

  4. Lee May says:

    Tovah, you don’t exaggerate one bit about the power of terrariums. Enjoying several, including a couple containing mosses only, I depend on them to get me through hard winters and cold springs; all I have to do is take off the lids and inhale deeply. Nirvana.

    • Tovah Martin says:

      I get all caught up in the “small world” aspect of it, Lee. And where would the galaxy be without scent? You hit it = it’s a deeply sensual experience clapped into a jar.

  5. Rachael says:

    I have recently discovered the joy of terrariums and miniature gardens, just found this site! Lovely!

    • Tovah Martin says:

      Hey Rachel, Welcome aboard all the way from Australia! = love your blog! And LOVE the terrariums shown on it. Clearly this is global. Keep us posted on your mini gardens and most importantly, dream on…

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