Fifthroom Living



While some areas of the country are starting to warm up, others are still in a deep freeze. If you need to satisfy your need to garden but can’t get outside, try creating a terrarium instead! And get those old images of your mother’s terrariums out of your head—these are new, fresh spins on old favorites that will look clean, contemporary and modern in your home décor. It all depends upon the materials, many of which you might already have on hand, while the others are readily available at craft stores and nurseries.

Start with a clear glass container, but don’t limit yourself to the old fishbowl shape of the 1970s terrariums. Take a walk around your house or the local craft store to get some good ideas—test tube containers, wide shallow bowls, tall glass cylinders and clear glass coffee or tea cups work well. Look for glass containers with side openings as well as those that open from the top.Get creative with your layering techniques! Different colored sand, small pebbles or river rock are great layering materials, but be sure to place the more finely-textured material down first (over a bottom layer of activated charcoal to absorb odor). Tilt the glass container as you gently add them, so your terrarium has a more interesting visual dynamic.After you’ve added plants (tiny ferns, cacti, succulents, tillandsias), don’t stop there! Add tiny decorative items—little statuary, watch faces, seashells, decorative buttons, or tiny children’s toys like cars or dinosaurs. This ensures your terrarium says “you,” adding character and personality. Small gardens like these can be a great place to create something a little oddball or offbeat—this whimsy may not work in an open garden area, but it’s perfect for tiny indoor vignettes. Have fun and be creative when designing yours!

~Jenny Peterson

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Making a terrarium is on my bucket list.


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