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Friday, March 30, 2012

A Springtime Terrarium Tutorial

When they were passing out green thumbs I forgot to get in line. Sure, I can keep certain types of houseplants alive. But thankfully I can blame the changing of the seasons for the regular demise of my outdoor pots.  When dear Bev of The Willows announced she had opened a new garden shop and was having a class on creating terrariums I showed up with bells on!

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There are two types of terrariums ~ closed and open. A closed terrarium, shown in the photo above, is generally more on the self watering end of the spectrum but still requires a weekly misting. An open terrarium is like a traditional house plant only dressed up. Over time both may need the soil changed out or nutrients added and perhaps an occasional haircut.

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So of course the first step is selecting a container. Bev had some beautiful. Lovely antique jars, round bowls and miniature conservatories.  I had brought along my own container.

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Although I created two terrariums on my kitchen counter, an outdoor work surface is perhaps a better choice if you want to get messy.

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You begin by adding a thin layer of pea gravel to your container to aid in drainage.

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Next add in enough rich soil for your plants to grow comfortably in.

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An interesting fact that I learned is that if you mix a bit of charcoal into the soil it allows air to diffuse within the soil which creates better quality soil (a natural fertilizer in essence) and helps keep bacteria at bay. 

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Of course you have to select the plants. Pick smaller varieties of your favorites.

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Succulents work really well in a terrarium environment and need very little watering.

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After you have potted your plants wet a bit of moss and cover the soil. The layer of moss will help to keep the soil moist longer.

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Next is when it really got fun for me. Decorating your terrarium. You can add in bits of driftwood.

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Try standing the driftwood straight up to help train a vine plant like in Kristina’s awesome vintage dairy jar.

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Or just lay it horizontally across the moss and soil to add a bit of visual interest.

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What about a wee bird in a nest? Looks like one of the eggs is ready to hatch.

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I’ve gone a bit overboard making terrariums since then.

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But wouldn’t this be a darling bit of spring to bring someone as a gift?

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I am already thinking about an antique glass battery jar.

I would need tongs to position everything in this one. But cute no?

Maybe add in a few gardner’s ala Amélie.

Garden Gnomes Elves - Plastic - Retro

And a wee toad stool or two via Etsy.

I am sure the Fashionista will want a forest of deer.

Not even Sweet Boy’s plastic zoo animals will be safe.

What would you put under glass?


Linking To:

Nesting Place


Debbie said...

I have never thought about making one before, but now I think I would. Blog Land does that to me. Sigh. That's why never get anything done anymore.

I love the closed ones the best!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

I loveeeeeeeeeee how they turned out Laura! They are all BEAUTIFUL!

Babs said...

These all are so great especially the pedestal bowl one and the little hippo one. How sweet for a little boy..or girl.

Ceekay- Thinkin of Home said...

Oh pretty...I just love all the ones you made!! Have a great weekend!!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I didn't get my place in the green thumb line either. I almost went to the class! As usual, I got busy and didn't want to leave the puppy alone for that long. I should have gone! I am loving the idea of those little gnome gardeners mixed in, so cute :)

Linda said...

Lovely ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Miss Sandy said...

So many beautiful ideas!
Love the one with the deer!

Have a great weekend!

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

Great job, Laura! I love the open top look to the one pictured. I'd love to do something like that, that we can enjoy outside on a stand.

Sherri B. said...

I fell in love with the open one as soon as I saw it in your last post. I can't wait to get started on one for our home..thanks so much for sharing this fun project! xo

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I used to make these in old wine jugs using tongs. Your post makes me want to go drink some wine & dust off the tongs again!

Auntie Em said...

So pretty and lovely to bring spring in. And if they survive (mine probably wouldn't) you could change out the little characters to go with the seasons. I love miniatures!

The Boston Lady said...

I love them all. I have been keeping my eye out for one of those vintage glass houses and am determined to have one one day! I love your open dish terrarium. I bought a glass greenhouse from IKEA to put the succulents that were left over from THE wedding and they are doing quite nicely. This would be a fun group project. Ann

ImagiMeri said...

Hey Girlfriend,

Your terrariums are lovely, and your post brought back memories of a leaded glass terrarium my dad made for me when I was a teenager. For the life of me, I don't know where it is now, and it saddens me, I do hope I come across it in the near future. Have a lovely day pretty lady.


Liz said...

Oh My Goodness! These are so sweet. I wanna make one now. I'll have to think about what I want to put under glass though... That battery jar is FABULOUS!


Jill Elaine said...

Those are darling! How fun:) I have some of those red mushrooms...hmmmm. I would love to create a miniture area like this outside somewhere - I think my girls would love it. Add a tiny table and chairs and patio. I 've seen it done on someone's blog somewhere - I think I saved it - gonna have to look it up!

Dovecote Decor said...

Hi Laura: Thank you for the very informative step by step.

French said...

I'd be tempted to use some of the gingerbread house decorations from last Christmas...but I also love that Hippo! Thanks for the tips, I might have to try this!

Pink Overalls @DIY Home Staging said...

I've always wanted to make a terrarium, and now you have encouraged me to just do it! All your ideas are adorable. Thanks so much.

Angie@Echoes of Laughter said...

I love your terrariums Laura! I would love to have one in my own home. My grandmother had a beautiful glass-domed terrarium in the 70's and 80's and I often wonder what happened to the glass dome after she passed away! Happy Weekend! Angie xo

Calypso In The Country said...

They are so cute...and so springy!

Karena said...

Laura what a fun class to attend! I love yours and yes, they would make very special gifts.

The one in the urn is very special as well.

I hope you will Come and enter my amazing Cross Bottle Guy Giveaway!

Art by Karena

Cristina Garay said...

What a fun project to do! I've never done a terrarium before, I want to give it a try! Yours look lovely, my fav the one with the rabbit! Great info, Thanks.

openid said...


I love all the little worlds you have created. You always give the best tutorials.


Shauna K said...

visiting from Tatertots & Jello linky party- these are TOO cute!! i think my fav is the open one with the little birdies... I need to make one of these, love old glass jars and this is a perfect way to put them to good decorative use ;)

Kit said...

They all look wonderful! And those little Gnomes are so cute. They should definitely have a terrarium all to themselves. Kit

Christ Kene said...
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