Sunday, 19 January 2014

Terrarium Gardens

These seem to be all the rage at the moment. Those of a certain age will no doubt recall them from the late 1970's. If my memory is correct the fashion then was to have indoor plants in large glass containers that had a cork lid and there were some very special lead light constructions. The current trend seems to be for succulents and open containers.

For the past year I have had a lot of fun creating these gardens. They make a great gift. I have made them in Fowlers Vacola Preserving bottles as a gift for the guests at my sons wedding, old cups and saucers, fish bowls, vases and antique bowls. Friends and family can be a good source of containers and happy to give them away as I recently found with the preserving jars needed for my son's wedding. The hardest thing to find are ornaments to enhance your garden. They are not essential but add interest or a quirky touch.

They are a simple to make and require very little in the way of materials. The succulents are grown from cuttings, jars and bowls are relatively inexpensive and the sand, cacti/succulent mix and gravel are easily obtained from garden supply shops such as Bunnings or Mitre 10. A bag of succulent mix will make lots of gardens.

The requirements
sand, potting mix and pebbles

a glass bowl or jar that is deep enough to
house your garden

a selection of succulents,
they are very hardy and kept down the side of my house
How to
Put sand into bowl. I try to make a hills so that when I add the gravel and potting mix I will get layers of different heights. The finished garden needs to be in the bottom third to half of the garden. If any higher it will probably look too unbalanced.
Add the gravel.
Then add the potting mix. Start to add the succulents, play around with the placement until you are happy with your arrangement.
Add your ornaments and then I sprinkle a mixture of fine pebbles in different colours and a very small amount of sand over the top. The final step is to water. I use a drink bottle and gently pour water over the garden. Do not use a lot of water as it will run through and pool in the bottom of your container. Several lighter waterings are better. The idea is to keep the potting mix damp. You can the continue to water this way or spray with a mist bottle. Once a week is usually enough. Place in a sunny window or a place that gets plenty of light.
Sad but true
I have a fatalistic attitude to these gardens. Sometimes your garden outgrows the container or your plants look a little sad. I do not expect them to last forever and am happy to re pot. You will know when to take action.

A selection of finished terrariums

terrariums with cats 
a sunny window display in the dining area of  the family room
viewed from the top
side view
top view
side view
found and rusted objects
top view
succulents in an antique casserole
meerkat manor
bottle gardens for wedding guests to take home
bottles donated by my knitting group friends Barbara and Anne. Thanks Twisted Sisters. 
cat and mouse
the china cat and mouse were a gift from a friend who remembered my passion for felines. Thanks Ange.


  1. As a guest at Liam's wedding, my wife and I received one of the many terrariums made by Kerrie for the occasion; ours was two back second from the left.
    I thought it was a lovely gesture to remember the day and we still have ours. It sits on the table in the centre of our 'alfresco area' and slowly and silently just keeps growing.

  2. Where did you get those cute meercats??