Friday, April 10, 2015

Which to Use: Craft Moss or Living Moss?

Craft moss above, real moss below.
Photo by Janit Calvo,
The Mini Garden Guru
Moss is a central supply for many popular gardening crafts, including terrariums, fairy gardens, kokedama and more. When do you need to use living moss for your craft and when will craft moss work? The simple answer is: use living moss in projects with real soil and real plants, keep craft moss for "dry" projects, such as a short-term terrarium, a project with fake plants, or no soil.

Living moss is green and vibrant, with fibrous roots visible when you pull apart the pieces of moss. You might find living moss in your yard, the forest or at a garden supplier. You may choose to wash your moss of critters and rocks if you harvest it from your yard. Use living moss alongside other living plants, in displays you want to last and grow.  Examples are fairy gardens and terrariums with living plants. Note that living moss will not thrive in a succulent terrarium with sandy soil.  Moss prefers richer soil and humid conditions.

Craft moss is also known as preserved moss, reindeer moss, and any other dried thing that you might find in a plastic bag at a craft store. It has a brittle touch like a dried sponge, and may have artificial green color applied. It also sometimes appears in fluffy, cloud shaped tufts. Craft moss will not revive with water and soil, but is more likely to become musty and rotten over time. Craft moss is excellent for "one time use" terrarium projects, like wedding centerpieces or displays. Craft moss may also be used in a faux terrarium that contains artificial plants or no soil.

Sphagnum moss is a garden supply product, formed of the long fibrous strands of plant material.  It is often used or to line hanging wire baskets, or kokedama balls.  I also recommend using sphagnum moss to form a filter layer between your terrarium soil layer and gravel layer, to prevent soil mixing down into the bottom of your terrarium.  Sphagnum moss is not to be confused with peat moss, the short fibered, acidic mulch used as soil amendment in container gardening.

Read more about identifying the difference between real moss and craft moss at the Miniature Gardener.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Easy Easter Decor: Wheatgrass in Mason Jar Terrarium


Spring greenery is a natural decoration for Easter, especially lovely green grass.  Bring the spring greenery indoors by sowing some wheatgrass seeds in mason jars! It's all the fun of watching a chia pet grow without the annoying chia-part of the chia pet and will make a precious Easter tablescape....

Photo by Yolanda at Monkey See - Monkey Do.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Artist Vaughn Bell's Hanging Terrariums

Photo credit: Vaughn Bell From: dnainfo.com
We love terrariums as they bring a bit of the outdoors indoors.  A miniature landscape to explore in your imagination, a small bottle of the sights and smells of the woodlands.  Artist Vaughn Bell capitalizes on these characteristics with an immersion experience: a hanging terrarium you can pop your head into for a look around.  This is one of many art installations at the DePaul Art Museum in Chicago that focus on soil.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Terrarium Bauble Tips from Living Mi-Wey

Photo by Linda Davidson/The Washington Post

Michele Weymouth of Living Mi-Wey in Virginia shares a step-by-step guide for creating a succulent terrarium with the Washington Post. I love her signature terrarium bauble: something gold nestled among her terrarium plants.  Other great terrarium decoration ideas include small mirrors, figurines, glass marbles, or beach glass.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Make Your Own Terrarium Kit to Gift

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons user Xenophon
Terrarium kits make attractive gifts and terrarium kits crop up in many catalogs and shopping websites around the holidays.  Some businesses make a tidy profit packaging a few easy-to-find supplies into a heavily marked-up terrarium kit.  If you'd like to gift a terrarium kit this holiday season, consider putting together one yourself with a few simple materials.

Make A Terrarium Kit 
Glass Container
Use your imagination! Use wine bottles, vases, tiny bottles, bowls, containers with lids- anything! Consider looking at a second-hand store rather than expensive vases or storage containers called terrariums.

Soil Mixture
Mix two parts potting mix with one part sand to ensure proper drainage.

Pebbles
Pebbles, small rocks or small pieces of glass can all be used for the rock layer in your terrarium.

Activated Charcoal
You can buy activated charcoal at any aquarium supply location.

Spaghnum Moss
The spaghnum moss serves as a filter between your soil layers and charcoal, and is optional.

Plants
See 19 terrarium plants suited to life under glass.

Tools
Bamboo skewers to maneuver plants and soil.

Decorative Items
Be sure your trinkets or statuettes will fit in the terrarium vessel.