Well, most of the snow melted in yesterday’s rain, but more ice and snow are predicted for Sunday and again next week. I’m beginning to understand why northern gardeners go stir crazy in winter.
However, as Cindy From My Corner of Katy (near Houston), wrote, “One step closer to spring, sweet Jesus.”
Isn’t that what we’re all thinking on this sixth day of February? January is gone, and twenty-two more days of February, all gray and foggy, loom ahead, but onward and upward we march.
Instead of more obsessing on the weather, let’s talk instead of terrariums. You read me right. Terrariums. Doesn’t the word just take you back to the 1970s, elephant bells, and macrame? Well, my friends, terrariums have grown out of their pimply teenage phase and moved on to a beautiful indoor elegance. Tovah Martin, author of many books, including Tasha Tudor’s Garden, is coming to speak in Oklahoma on February 13-14, 2010, so, last week, I bought her latest book, The New Terrarium: Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature. When I spoke to her on the phone yesterday, she said she wanted people to have “nature at their elbow” because it increases their intimacy with plants.
“A terrarium makes nature accessible to everybody,” she said.
She has over 100 plants in her home, nineteen of them terrariums. She had more, but she sold some. She said that for those gardeners who have “a brown thumb indoors” terrariums require little care and reap large benefits. Glass enclosures keep the temperature and humidity more constant, making it less likely you’ll kill the plants inside from neglect. Just don’t water them too often or too much. Also, choose plants which like humidity. Tropicals fit the bill, as do many shade plants, but stay away from desert lovers. They will succumb to too much moisture.
In part II of my interview, I’ll share more about Tovah’s thoughts on garden stewardship (her topic for her Oklahoma City presentation), but today, I wanted to highlight terrariums. Before reading her book, I used to tease my friend, Elizabeth, of Gardening While Intoxicated and Garden Rant, about her indoor plant menagerie and her terrarium. This winter, I’m an enthusiastic convert.
Faced with more snowfall, I just had to get my hands into warm soil, and I wanted to create something beautiful. I found small plants at the nursery and placed them within their glass containers just as I would in the garden. Different heights, different textures. I added pebbles and a bird nest to complete the scene in the one at top, along with Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’, chartreuse green Irish moss. I love this little plant, but the summer always incinerates it in my outdoor garden even in the shade. We’ll see if it will thrive under the moderating effect of glass.
Then, there’s the African violet covered by a cloche making it a focal point on a buffet or table. As Tovah said, “It’s about intimacy with nature . . . in sparkling glass, and all of the sudden it has value.”
“Little bits of treasure. Encased in glass making them a phenomenal work of art.”