What’s Glass and Dirt and Awesome?

Our local garden store extraordinaire, Terrain, offers terrarium classes on Thursday nights.  Everyone loves a good terrarium (right?), so I thought why not check it out and take full advantage of these suburban offerings. My friend met me there so this was also a nice chance just to visit with her and chat about things other than where to put Curious George down for a nap and what are our choices for snack.

“Basic materials” means dirt…

There were light refreshments and a glass of wine when we arrived- always a nice way to start anything in my opinion- and the workshop sign alone made me want to make something pretty.

For those of you who don’t know Terrain, it’s like a treasure trove of fun ideas and simple beauty. Aside from the lush greenery on every surface, there is an eclectic and found quality to the design and installations.  In other words, RIGHT up my alley.  It makes me want to go to a flea market or Goodwill or something and just repurpose stuff.  It also makes me moderately covetous of all the awesomeness in the store.

This is reclaimed barn boards with simple little hooks… genius.

After our drinks and our coveting perusing we were introduced to our terrarium experts, Jessica and Taylor.  (Jessica is studying to be a horticultural therapist… who knew?!)  She gave us a brief explanation of the 2 types of terrariums we were dealing with (tropicals or desert); Taylor was more of the silent partner throughout our workshop as she said 3 words in all.

Clutching our wine, we headed over to the container section.  The choices ran the gamut from bowls to hurricanes to dainty little orbs. I spent what felt like hours wandering back and forth aimlessly trying to decide…  I wanted to work with succulents (desert-like plants) so I opted for a smaller bowl.  I had also brought a container from home that I thought would be better for the tropicals.  (Full disclosure, the containers were on the pricier side, so I started small and then went back for more plants the next weekend with 2 enormous ones I bought at Homegoods… don’t tell Jessica.  Or Taylor.)

Step 2 was pickin’ the plants.  Jessica and Taylor’s answer to everything was pretty much ‘whatever you like… just play around with it’ (that’s what she said)…I was hoping for a little more guidance, but I powered through.   There were tables and tables of tiny dainty plants for us to choose from.  It was also a godsend to have my friend with me otherwise I would have been looking to the trio of red wine swilling, fanny pack toting, pleated capri wearing galpals at the end of our table.

Before we could plant, we had to load up on dirt and stuff.  The “and stuff” was new to me.  First into our containers was a thin layer of pebbles to ensure that the plants’ roots wouldn’t be sitting in wet soppy soil.  Second was a layer of charcoal to help filter the water.  Who knew?  Finally soil.  (Let me tell you, that soil was the softest smoothest airiest soil I’ve ever touched.  Oliver would have eaten it.)

Aforementioned basic materials.

Buckets of pebbles, charcoal, and dirt. Even this looks beautiful, right?

Once the containers were all loaded up and ready for rootin’ we reached for our plants.  Turns out Jessica and Taylor were right when they advised us just to see what worked as that’s pretty much what we did.  It was clear once we got all the plants laid out that some were too big, others were the wrong texture, etc.

The larger black terrarium is the one I brought, and then the smaller bowl is the one I selected from Terrain.

When the plants were in, we had access to the Terrain potting accessories.  Yes, there are such things and yes, they’re simple and amazing.  Items to choose from were colored glass, lovely little stones, moss, acorns, barks, large seed shells and more.

I don’t know that either of us would have thought that adding a few of these finishing touches would bring our Terrarium from riding the  j.v. terrarium  bench to second line on the varsity terrarium team.  Taylor even gave us her nonverbal stamp of approval.  I’m sure it’s part of her horticulturist contract to compliment us, but we were pleased with ourselves nonetheless.

So to make a long post longer, I’m way into terrariums and I’m at risk of being called a crazy terrarium lady.

Finished product #1.

Finished product #2. At this point I was having full terrarium envy over my friend’s… hers was gorgeous! (Taylor agreed with me.)

I think I may have killed one already because it had a lid and something must have happened with the moisture/ carbon dioxide/ oxygen/ temperature ratio, but 2 weeks later all the others are looking just fine; four out of five’s not bad. Here’s one of big glass containers I got at Homegoods as well as an old icebucket Mark had won in a golf tournament.  I’m pretty much looking for anything I can terrarium-ize.

This isn’t the best picture, but gives you the gist.

Thanks to my friend for tagging along on kind of a random outing (“You had me at terrarium?”), and double thanks for lending me and my dirty hands her iphone because I left my camera at home…

Next time you go to recycle that 5 gallon Costco pickle jar, ask yourself could it make a killer terrarium.  I would say, yes.




2 thoughts on “What’s Glass and Dirt and Awesome?

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