How to Build a Terrarium, So It’s Always Gardening Season – nytimes.com

During the months when you can’t be outside working in the garden, what could be better than a miniature landscape that sits in your living room?

Just remember, as you put the finishing touches on your first terrarium and celebrate by cuing the chorus of “It’s a Small World (After All)”: This is a tiny garden, not a scaled-down theme-park installation where the scene is picture-perfect, day after day.

“It’s not a diorama, and these are not plastic plants,” said Patricia Buzo, a terrarium designer who owns Doodle Bird Terrariums, in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minn. Mrs. Buzo’s terrariums are living gardens that she plants with narrow tongs and then prunes with shears more appropriately sized for manicures than hedge trimming.

The same rules tha…….

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During the months when you can’t be outside working in the garden, what could be better than a miniature landscape that sits in your living room?

Just remember, as you put the finishing touches on your first terrarium and celebrate by cuing the chorus of “It’s a Small World (After All)”: This is a tiny garden, not a scaled-down theme-park installation where the scene is picture-perfect, day after day.

“It’s not a diorama, and these are not plastic plants,” said Patricia Buzo, a terrarium designer who owns Doodle Bird Terrariums, in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minn. Mrs. Buzo’s terrariums are living gardens that she plants with narrow tongs and then prunes with shears more appropriately sized for manicures than hedge trimming.

The same rules that apply to tending your garden outside also apply here: Choose the right plants and put them in the right place. Or else.

Your subjects should be selected not just for their good looks, but for their compatibility with the environment you’ll prepare for them — inside a container of a particular size and shape — and with one another.

Shallow containers may make good homes for open-dish gardens that are more forgiving, like a bowl of succulents on a sunny windowsill. But in a conventional terrarium — a vessel that has a lid and is closed at least some of the time, or has a narrow opening — the conditions are different.

For one thing, the environment is more humid. It was that heightened humidity that allowed the Victorians to cultivate orchids and ferns at home in otherwise inhospitable environments, conjuring diminutive versions of the dreamy splendor inside the grand climate-controlled conservatories of the era.


A terrarium allows you to expand your indoor plant collection far beyond typical houseplants — most of which aren’t suited to terrariums, anyway.

“The plants that do well in terrariums are the ones that are not your common houseplants,” Mrs. Buzo said. “The best choices don’t tolerate the conditions out in the house, but really need that high humidity.”

Within those little glass walls, it’s possible to cultivate mosses, miniature tropical orchids and even certain carnivorous plants.

Mrs. Buzo, a former mural painter, began her terrarium business in 2008. “I work tiny now, and in 3-D,” she said.

She takes her horticultural cues from the real-world environments where she seeks visual inspiration: the steep, rocky slopes of a picture-postcard mountain retreat, perhaps, or the shores of Blue Springs in Florida, a vacation spot she invoked in one design. Or a familiar scene from her home state: a pasture surrounded by pine forests.

Add tiny horse figurines, and it becomes a glass menagerie.

When she sees a closed …….

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/26/realestate/how-to-build-a-terrarium.html

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