Terrariums are fast becoming the must-have in terms of indoor gardening. A sealed container harbouring a small collection of plants that, once settled in (more about this later), makes for an easy to maintain masterpiece that will thrive in even the most botanically inept hands. But, big leaves, small hole. So, how on earth do you make one?
Step forward Emma and Tom from London Terrariums who, on 30 January, will be holding one of their incredibly popular workshops at Platform. They are what you might call ‘purists’ in the land of terrariums. No succulents or cacti here. After all, that is not a true terrarium. “Terrariums are enclosed spaces creating the perfect microclimate for plants that thrive off humid, damp conditions”, explains Emma. Following in the footsteps of botanist Nathaniel Bagshawe Ward (who created the first terrarium by happy accident), Emma and Tom love to explore plants and the way that they behave when left to their own devices. Hearing Emma talk of the joy at collecting moss versus buying it, as “you can never be sure what little seeds will sprout from it”, only illustrates their passion.
So what can you expect from their workshops? We, at the blog, tried one out.
Starved, as many city dwellers are, of outside space, many of those on the workshop were hoping to create a little garden for their urban homes. A corked, glass jar (with an impossibly small hole for the task ahead) sat against all manner of instruments to aid us in our creations. We felt like botanical surgeons. As it turns out, a cork stuck to the end of a bamboo skewer, an angled radiator brush and cheats chopsticks turn out to be just what the doctor ordered. Layer by layer our terrariums took shape: stones, activated charcoal (the magic ingredient), specially mixed soil and then it was time to start planting.
As we separated our specimens for implantation, gingerly trimming their leaves and easing their fragile roots through the neck of the glass jar, we debated whether terrariums were the new (much cooler) bonsai’s. Just with a bit less zen, and a little more anxiety (“a plant is like buttered toast, it will always land upside down”, remarked Emma. Oh yes, so it does. Cue: those cheats-chopsticks). But as stones and moss covered soil and our bottles of dirt began to look like actual terrariums, the botany-bug had well and truly been caught by us all. Just two weeks of ‘nursing’ (removing the cork at night; ensuring we have a good build up of condensation during the day) and a terrarium might end up being the easiest ‘pet’ you’ve ever had to look after.
We ended up with a terrarium so pretty, we nearly left it at a cafe thinking it was one of their table decorations. We’d say that was a mission accomplished.
London Terrariums Workshop @ Platform, Habitat Kings Road
Saturday 30 January
To book your place, please click here.
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