Saturday, August 20, 2011

My First Terrarium (La-La-La-Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaa)

I've been very interested in gardening and plants all my life, but started getting serious about it for the last couple of years. Living in a third floor apartment in Brooklyn, though, can be difficult when you actually want to get your hands to get dirty. To begin with, plants are expensive. You'd think they wouldn't be because they're plants, but at a shop near my apartment a philodendron costs $25.00! Then I have to make sure that any plants I get are pet safe because of my cat Bart. And, of course, there's the tendency my plants have of dying (no matter what I do to keep them alive.)
I was on Craftzine a few weeks ago, however, when I saw a neat project for a mason jar terrarium. One look at that little ecosystem and I was hooked. I started scouring the internet for further information on making terrariums and picked the brain of my pub quiz teammate who is also an avid terrarium maker. He gave me some great tips and suggested I go to a plant store close to where I live called Dig.
I made it there last Sunday and I am sooooooooo glad I went there. Not only was the owner very friendly, but as soon as you walk in there you see that it is terrarium central. The owner was super helpful, too. I would have bought a plant way too big for the vessel I was going to get, but he reminded me that it would end up being smaller than I would expect, so the smaller the plant the better.
He hooked me up with a fern, gravel, charcoal, the fabric filter, and some great moss. I got the penny candy jar and dinosaurs at Target.
All of the supplies on my kitchen counter.
The fern.
One of the helpful tips my friend M gave me was to rinse the gravel and then bake them in the over at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. I did this on Monday morning so by the time I got home the rocks would be completely cool.
The moss.
The charcoal.
The fabric filter.
The dinosaurs.
The penny candy jar where everything is going to live.
First I put the gravel in the bottom of the jar.
Then I placed the fabric filter in the jar to see where I needed to trim it to fit.
Trimmed.
Next, I distributed the coal over the fabric.
The owner at Dig recommended I break up the moss into sections and create a bowl for the plant to fit into.
Once I figured out how I wanted the moss broken up, I used a spoon to gently bring the fern out of the pot.
I placed the fern into the jar (harder than it looks) and arranged the moss around the fern's base (even harder!)
I placed the dinosaurs(!) and then used a squirt bottle set to a fine mist to water the fern and the moss.
Here it is a few days later in the window =)
I water the fern pretty regularly, making sure that it's light moisture and not a lake of water in the bottom. It was more difficult to place the plant than I though it would be, but I really enjoy the results. One of the "happy accidents" I enjoy most is is the unevenness of the moss. I was hoping to achieve a nice sod-like effect, but instead got a bumpy, hilly look, which I think looks more Jurassic Park. I had so much fun making this, in fact, that I'm already planning my next terrarium!

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