As summer vacation winds down, take an afternoon and explore the joys of creating a mini garden, or a fairy garden with kids – make a terrarium! We’ll tell you how.
Terrariums: Making a Comeback
Depending on your age, you might remember the terrarium craze in the 1970s. Glass containers filled with houseplants were often hung from homemade macramé hangers. Long before that, in the Victorian era, glass-enclosed terrariums were a fixture in many drawing rooms.
Today, terrariums are capturing new interest with many shapes and sizes. Large, elegant glass orbs filled with succulents can look chic in a modern living room. And miniature landscapes—often with figures of people and animals—can convey a sense of story and whimsy.
For kids, it’s fun to create fantasy or fairy gardens, which can feature changing characters and even tiny chairs, beds and other furniture. And because a terrarium is a living environment, it provides lasting inteWhat you’ll need for a terrarium
Glass container – You can use a large vase, a fish bowl, or a Mason jar – any glass container with sides. Open containers – Containers without covers are suitable for succulents, cacti and plants that need little water. Make sure you can get your hand in the opening for planting and maintenance. Containers with glass covers – Closed glass containers essentially create their own mini environments and need very little water. Because of the humidity they make, they are particularly suited for moisture-loving plants such as ferns and tropical specimens.
Clean pebbles – Pebbles help provide drainage at the bottom of the container.
Horticultural charcoal – Placed above the pebbles, charcoal helps filter water.
Moss – Moss helps absorb excess water. It can be used on the surface or as a lining above the rock layer.
Small plants – Small ferns, tropical plants or succulents are all good plant choices, providing they are healthy and free of insects. Avoid fast-growing varieties.
Potting soil – Use a regular or cactus blend, depending on your plant selection.
Decorative rocks or sand, glass pieces, moss – These media create texture and interest for the top layer of the terrarium.
Tiny animals, people, garden pots or furniture – If you like, use these elements to create a scene or tell a story.
Tools – Clean garden gloves, a small spade or spoon, tweezers or small tongs to help place items, a cloth for cleaning the glass, and a small watering can are useful for building terrariums.
How to create your terrarium
1. Spoon or spade pebbles into the bottom of the clean container, followed by a light layer of charcoal and moss, if desired.
2. Add soil to a depth appropriate for your plants.
3. Dig small holes for the plants.
4. Gently ease the plants into the holes, covering roots with soil and lightly tamping down.
5. Add a top layer of decorative rock, sand, moss or glass pieces. Add miniature animals or people, if desired.
6. Water carefully, just enough so that you can see it trickle down the side of the container.
7. Voila! Place your terrarium in bright but indirect light. Turn it occasionally, and water once a week or as needed.
Toss those coffee grounds—in your garden!
Do you drink coffee? If so, then think about sharing some with your landscape. Coffee grounds are an excellent source of many healthful minerals. As they break down, they also release nitrogen, which is very beneficial to plants.
Next time you’re about to toss those grounds, think about taking these actions instead and doing your garden a favor:
– Add the grounds to your compost or worm bin.
– Lay them on top of the soil—about ½ inch thick—as a mulch.
– Dig them into the soil as an amendment.
– Sprinkle them into the transplant hole and mix with soil when you add new plants to your garden.
– Use them as a natural anti-snail and slug barrier. Coffee grounds are scratchy and abrasive to these common garden pests, so they tend to avoid them.
With best wishes for those final weeks of summer fun and relaxation,
Angela and Ash Hakimi
Creative Landscape Design