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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Terrarium-worthy Tools at Adana-USA

Thanks to reader Robotguy for sharing a link to adana-USA.com aquascaping tools.  We've discussed the crossover between aquascaping and terrariums before and as you can imagine- gardners in both domains are using similar tools to keep hard-to-access plants ship-shape.  This is your source for high-end and high-priced long-armed tweezers, scissors and scrapers.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

53-Year Old "Bottle Garden" Terrarium!

The Daily Mail reports that David Latimer fashioned this terrarium out of a "ten gallon carboy, or globular bottle, which once contained sulphuric acid" and spiderworts in 1960, last watered it in 1973 and then sealed it up.   The entire system has been self-sustained for over 40 years!

This story seems to corroborate my hunch that, while we are all entranced with teeny-tiny terraria, the best vessels for creating an established ecosystem seem to be the big ones.   A Carlo Rossi 5 liter wine jug housed my longest-lasting terrarium.   Said wine jug terrarium also developed the algae bloom looking stuff in the soil layer like Mr. Latimer's behemoth. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Moss Monday: Ken Marten's Terraria

Photo by Martin Pope, The Telegraph
Former florist Ken Marten incorporates fossils, faces and other curios into his terrarium arrangements.  See the full photo gallery at The Telegraph.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dream Terrariums

Photo by Larry Hurley, 2007 Philadelphia Flower Show
Sherri, at the Potomac Behnkes Nursery, muses on some fun terrarium ideas that made me chuckle.

"Imagine a small footed-glass cupcake keeper with a beautiful African violet, a cake keeper with a delicate maidenhair fern, or a large glass cloche with a gorgeous orchid (“Beauty and the Beast” anyone?).  Imagine a tabletop with three lovely cake keepers of different heights and different plants.  Sorry, that is cheating…I saw it in Martha Stewart’s magazine."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Orchid Terrariums on WGNTV.com

I'm not going to embed the video as it pre-loads with commercials in it, but hop on over to WGNTV.com to see a fellow from TUBLOOM Garden & Landscape Design demo some terrarium stuff.  The terrarium tips are pretty basic but peep that bevy of showy miniature orchids and other fun, small terrarium plants!

I've met many terrarium enthusiasts that are excited to try orchid terrariums - but often don't know where to start.  It is a process that I myself have attempted and failed at (read more about my trials and tribulations here).

Perhaps a great way to start is a quasi-terrarium for a small orchid. In the above screen capture you can see the tall apothecary jar, which is used to house two tall orchids that are in small pots.

Then look at this teeny-tiny orchid!  I've only seen varieties this small for sale at orchid shows.  If you know more about what it is or where to find it- let's hear it in the comments!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

5 Tips from a Terrarium Pro

Jennifer Schultz Nelson is a horticulture education in University of Illinois Extension and apparently a savvy terrarium keeper who has shared a detailed, two-part article at herald-review.com on making top-shape terrariums.  I'll recap the five best tips but read both articles if you want a great overview of making and maintaining terrariums.
  1. Plan on using 25% of a terrarium vessel for drainage material and soil mix.  Read more about the supplies you'll need to build the soil layers in a terrarium.      
  2. Don't overwater your terrarium.  "If the walls are completely fogged up with condensation, open the terrarium and allow some of the water to evaporate for a day."
  3. "A closed terrarium will likely not need watering more than once or twice per year."  That one is news to me!  I've never had a completely sealed up terrarium so I cannot attest to that fact based on my personal experience. 
  4. Like many plants, you will need to occasionally prune or remove dead leaves.  "Prune plants by pinching out growing tips or using a small blade attached to a stick inserted through the container opening."  I've had minimal luck with the small-blade idea and prefer using very, very long scissors (specially purchased online).  This probably depends on the sturdiness of the plant in question.
  5. And I've saved the best for last, as it an unfortunate truth of the terrarium hobby that I've mentioned before.
"Occasionally, plants may overtake a terrarium or die, making replacement necessary. It may be necessary to start over if plants are extremely overgrown and cannot be removed without disrupting the entire terrarium."
Whether a terrarium is overgrown, or fails - just like any other gardening experience - sometimes plants don't work out.  Read my five tips for starting a terrarium over again (the right way).

Friday, January 18, 2013

Terrarium Plant Primer Video

If you're new to terrariums and are looking for the best plants for terrariums - check out Jacob Taxis' About.com Video introducing several great options.  The plants discussed in the video are quite common and easy to find at plant stores, however he doesn't consistently use genus names or common names.  I'll include the missing name below in case you want to look for both versions of the name.

Peperomia - Wikipedia says its common name is "Radiator plant"?  Got me there.  There are many common cultivars of this one - you'll find it.

Nerve plant (pictured above) - genus is fittonia

Prayer plant - genus maranta

Strawberry begonia - Saxifraga stolonifera

Button fern - Pellaea rotundifolia

Polkadot plants - genus hypoestes

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Protean Terrarium Design

While perusing OrchidBoard I came across a link to Protean Terrarium Design, based in Portland, Oregon.  The supplier builds custom terrariums, including many that fit into a grid design like the photo above from their customer gallery.

While these terrariums appear most useful for vivariums that might contain wee creatures that need to be separated - wouldn't they make awesome side-by-sides of terrariums with different interior environments?  Perchance a cacti set up, next to a high humidity environment, next to a more temperate forest type-terrarium.  The possibilities seem endless.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wax and Wane: Kate Pruskova's Time Lapse Flowers

We've all seen time lapse photography/video of flowers blooming, but this one is a cinematic-scale "super cut" of quite a few flowers that photographer Kate Pruskova and her mother had in their own gardens.  I particularly like the cacti bloom around the 1:13 minute mark. It comes and goes so quickly- much like they seem to do on my own plants.  Via I09.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Diluting Hydrogen Peroxide for Garden and Terrarium Use

As part of our ongoing discussion about the utility of treating terrarium mold or fungus with diluted hydrogen peroxide, I've found a new resource that may answer some more questions.  The aptly-named www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com  has a wealth of information on using hydrogen peroxide to fertilize plants, sprout seeds and - you guessed it- treat mold and fungus.

I've grabbed an image of the suggested dilution ratios for treating sick or fungus-attacked plants above.  However, if you are interested in preventing mold or fungus in terrarium moss and plants, and are washing your moss prior to use, you may want to review the additional chart "To water or mist plants, to soak seeds, to add to water used to wash sprouts."  The dilution ratio is about half of that suggested for treating a mold outbreak and seems to be the right fit for a mold prevention attempt.  

The evidence I've discovered so far has motivated me to test including dilute hydrogen peroxide as a step for washing and preparing moss and plants for use in a terrarium.  I'll report back on how things go! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Target.com Fairy Garden Miniatures Set

If you are looking for miniatures to deck out your fairy garden or mini garden, Target.com has a combo kit for just under $30 which includes: a fence, fairy, garden arch, bench, sign, birdbath and watering can.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Garden Uses for Mesh Clementine Bags

Please excuse this miserable photo taken from Martha Stewart Living magazine.  But the idea is so cool - I had to share.  I'll re-type the above instructions for clarity.
"Landscape designer Leslie Needham reuses mesh clementine bags in a number of different ways when repotting houseplants.  Instead of buying screens to cover drainage holes in pots, she overlaps two squares of the mesh.  She also fills the bags with packing peanuts and puts them in the bottom of larger pots, which keeps them lightweight and provides drainage.  Our gardening editors hang plants with them.  To do it yourself, cut a hole in the center of the bag, and create a well for the plant to rest in with a layer of sphagnum moss.  Then put a small plant with soil inside the well, and cover it with more moss."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Moss Monday: Amazon.com Terrarium Plant Sets

Amazon.com seller Hirts: House Plants provides three and five plant sets of small plants suited for terrarium life (including moss and succulent specific sets).  The above set is the $15 Terrarium and Fairy Garden - five plant set, which includes 2" pots of selected plants:

  • Miniature Ferns
  • Polka Dot Plants
  • Club mosses
  • Miniature Begonias 
  • Peperomias
  • Dwarf Palms

Friday, January 4, 2013

Table Top Bubble Terrarium

Envelop your cherished small plant in a table top bubble terrarium from Ruche.  The 18.5" bubble top acts as a cloche and rests over the plant.   This would be great for a wide-diameter fern!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mock Terrarium from Target

I think that fake succulents are some of the most realistic looking silk/plastic plants.  Perhaps the fleshy texture of succulents lends itself well to molded plastic.  Here's a neat mock terrarium with plastic succulents from Target - for the black-thumbed miniature gardener.