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Topic: The New Terrarium - Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature  (Read 17907 times)
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« on: March 02, 2009 08:33:31 AM »

Sponsored Content - Craft Book Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from the new craft book...

The New Terrarium - Creating Beautiful Displays for Plants and Nature
by Tovah Martin and Kindra Clineff


If you live in the city but want to be close to nature . . .
If you call the countryside home but have no time to step outside . . .
If you are confined to an office fifty hours a week . . .
If your home needs the soothing touch of the natural world . . .

In The New Terrarium, Tovah Martin, one of America's favorite gardeners, introduces you to the whimsical yet practical world of gardens under glassa no-fuss way to bring snippets of nature indoors. Wherever you are, in whatever little time you have, terrariums are the perfect tool for nature lovers and gardeners everywhere.

With gorgeous photography, The New Terrarium reveals how this classic garden tool has been reimagined in a modern way. When encased in glass, plants thrive with almost no help from outside their little enclosed world, so you can host a plant almost anywherein your apartment where the air is dry or in your cubicle where there's little natural light. Tucked inside something crystal and contained, the bounty of the forest or treasures from the beach or the meadow can merge seamlessly into your home or office environment. It's amazing how some frothy fern fronds or colorful blossoms can transform a room by giving it a burst of vibrant green life.

With clear, simple step-by-step instructions and photographs to inspire and guide you along the way, Martin shares her years of experience growing and tending terrariums and shows how terrariums can enrich your life, including:

different venues for cultivating your terrarium
plants that flourish in these gardens under glass
ideas and designs for creating your first terrarium
how to care for and maintain the environment you've made

Martin has designed a unique range of imaginative terrarium projects, including ones that are suitable for children, enliven the seasons, incorporate plant propagation, and show off a nature collection. Whether you are a gardener or city-dwelling nature lover, The New Terrarium is the perfect way to spark your creativity, while helping you to bring your favorite plants into your home and giving them a place to thrive.

When nature is out of arm's reach and you crave a little greenery, The New Terrarium can show you how to bring all the benefits of the outdoors close to you.

Part 1

A transparent collaboration: terrariums and you

Your home is filled with beauty and meaning. It's bursting with objects that send your mind's eye floating back to places you've been, cities you've visited, museums you've explored. There's no lack of radiant, bright, splendid moments within the confines of your walls. But does your space include nature?

Look at your surroundings. Do they make you feel an affinity for the Earth, with its woods, wildernesses, thickets, beaches, and backcountry? If you value those aspects of your life, there's a simple way to make them part of your everyday world.

The answer is a conduit between nature and your home. Not only can plants in the traditional sense be yours, but other remnants of nature can also be brought inside to cohabitate. The moss under the tree, the husks of the nuts that the squirrel hasn't stashed, the brightly colored autumn leaves that floated across your path on the way to the post office, the glistening stone that caught your eyeall those treasures could become part of your daily life. And glass makes it possible.

Since early civilizations, people have been employing glass to trick the seasons and secure the fruits of the Earth before their normal time to bear. People have turned to glass when they wanted to frame the outdoors while remaining cozily inside by the fireplace. They've employed glass to bring nature inside and to quench their need to fiddle with flora despite the weather outside. And they've luxuriated in the results. With the help of glass enclosures, enjoying plants is a possibility in places that were previously impossible. When plants are encased in glass, growing goes on autopilot. Tucked inside something crystal and contained, the forest, the beach, and the meadow of your most relaxed leisure moments can merge into (but not mess up) your lifestyle. In glass, the meditation moss that keeps you grounded can sit by your side no matter what the season, despite the time of day or the other commitments in your life. Within a glass setting, it's amazing what some frothy green fern fronds can do.

Terrariums Defined

If you've got a dusty image of a terrarium, it's time to update that definition. What we're talking about here is not the stodgy terrariums of your childhood. In recent years, terrariums have taken on a new, sparkling persona that fits comfortably into modern life. These living, breathing bridges between the outdoors and indoors have a new profile that can blend with any lifestyle you happen to embrace. They're sleek, they're sophisticated, and they're current. They make it possible for anyonegardener and novice aliketo have a green thumb. Think of terrariums as a tool.

So, what is a terrarium and what can a terrarium do for you and your home decor? A terrarium is any transparent confine that allows you to nurture the elements of the green world. In a nutshell, terrariums permit the introduction of nature where nature doesn't naturally reside. The dictionary defines a terrarium as "a sealed transparent globe, etc., containing growing plants." But that's really just the beginning.

Terrariums run the gamut. Delve deep into your recollections of elementary-school science class, and the image you'll come up with when you think of a terrarium is probably an aquarium with a lid. This particular aquarium wasn't devoted to fishinstead, it was holding a menagerie of plants. Maybe it was nurturing subjects for science study, maybe it was just brightening up the biology room, but the teacher had tucked some sort of botanicals inside the glass enclosure. And you might remember that those plants were perking along admirably despite the fact that the janitor paid absolutely no attention to the needs of the botanical collection during Christmas break. That might've been your preliminary brush with terrariums, but even in your formative years and probably subliminally, you gleaned some inkling of what terrariums could do for your life.

Then again, it's possible that your initial mental image of an old-school terrarium is of a clear-plastic soda bottle sawed off and clutching the potatohead plant you just stuck in water, or the marigold seedling that you sowed. Those were the typical elementary-school introductions to the concept. But all this has changed. As the years have passed, you've undoubtedly encountered terrariums in many different guises, from glass cloches to miniature greenhouses that could easily sit on a side table or stand on their own pedestal. Terrariums are more beautiful than you might remember from the past. They've gained character and dimension; they are no longer only defined by what they nurture inside. They now have scope, significance, and a presence as design elements. Not only do they nurture plants, but they also add beauty to your home's decor. Terrariums have become incredibly diverse.

Terrariums are almost always made of glass, clear plastic, or acrylic, but that might be the only trait they share. Terrariums can be dome-shaped cloches with a knob for lifting; they can be shaped like a greenhouse, or something more elaborate. A terrarium can be a glass vase with a plant tucked inside it, or it might be a Mason jar holding a faux clutch of robin's eggs or the remains of the long-ago-deceased dragonfly you found on your dashboard. A terrarium might be the cold frame where you keep your tomato plants in the spring or the hotcaps that you clamp over the melons to make certain they don't freeze. Some terrariums have spent their former lives holding goldfish, others are wide-mouthed glass bowls meant to serve grapes or fruit compote. They can be candy jars or lidded cheese plates, beakers or test tubes given a second career. Everything is open to interpretation, and the glass you have at home might be begging to be recycled into a terrarium. For its first job, an antique glass battery case might have put in long hours doing useful service of a very mundane kind, but during its semiretirement, that battery case might serve the function of bringing nature into a drab interior world.

More important than their physical traits is the fact that terrariums all create a certain set of conditions that make bringing nature inside possible, even in the most unfriendly conditions. That's where terrariums have had a critical influence on our lives. What a dictionary can't define is the far reaches of a terrarium's impact. A terrarium opens the possibility for plant life to survive where it never managed to dwell before. In that capacity, terrariums have become invaluable tools.

A terrarium truly is a small world. Terrariums with plants serve as tiny biospheres. When they nurture plants, terrariums become mini-environments that provide an atmosphere of elevated humidity for all the botanical contents that they embrace. If a terrarium is a sealed case (and not all terrariums are necessarily sealed casessome have ventilation, some have unfixed panes, some are open at the mouth or side), it acts as a closed ecological system, with an ongoing cycle of moisture evaporating from the soil and the natural ingredients inside. That moisture wicks up through the soil to eventually produce condensation within, continually moistening the soil and atmosphere. The plants survive, photosynthesizing and creating oxygen just as they would function in the great outdoors. They chug along, going about their life processes, but their daily existence is spent in a small, contained space.

When you close a sealed glass case with a plant sequestered inside, within minutes condensation starts building up on the glass. That's the biosphere beginning to work its magic. That's the exchange of vital forces revving up. The opaque quality of a steamy case, with water droplets dribbling down and the plants inside partly obscured behind the sweating panes, is part of its romance. It's also a sign that a small world is progressing as it should.

Not all terrariums are sealed, and they don't all cloud up with moisture. But even a glass vase with an open mouth elevates humidity levels slightly and helps plants to survive in homes that might not be conducive for nurturing nature. Tuck a plant into anything glass or plastic and enclosed, and it will glean similar benefits. This goes far beyond that simple closed transparent globe that you might remember from childhood. The possibilities are vast.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2009 08:35:18 AM by the craftster admin (leah) » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2009 06:45:52 AM »

i don't mind ads when they are as informative as this one. and about a cool topic. i think i'll have to check this book out (of the library)!

Apple & Tree

Apple and Tree believes in the philosophy of re-using before recycling. We make one of a kind pieces using salvaged items as base material and offer authentic vintage fashions.
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2009 05:08:33 PM »

A terrarium is on my project list. We homeschool and I want my DD to have a terrarium for science.  Thanks for the information!

My blog: http://messymama.wordpress.com
Am taking a crafting/posting hiatus and formally withdrawing from all the CAL's I was in.  Need time to recharge and rewire.  But, I am still lurking and loving you guys like crazy, keep posting the amazing projects!!!  You all rock!
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2010 05:48:55 PM »

I want one so bad now! lol This is my next project for sure  Grin
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2010 08:57:51 AM »

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