Garden

Secrets of a Successful Terrarium

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

One of the nice things about contributors is how much they teach and inspire me.  This month, Courtney is back and he is talking about his personal experience with a project I’ve long wanted to try: a terrarium! 

Placing anything organic under glass is a hot trend right now.  We’re seeing these mini ecosystems pop up everywhere in design, and more and more terrarium vessels available at stylish retailers.  They were big in the 1970’s and now they’re back!

james modern bespoke terrariumI learned with a little research yesterday that the art of a successful terrarium is not a new discovery by any means.

The history of the terrarium dates back to the 19th Century, and grew in popularity in the Victorian Era in England.  Their origination is credited to surgeon and gardening enthusiast Dr. Nathanial Ward. 

An amateur botanist, Ward was conducting an experiment on protecting plants from the polluted London air, and observed how certain plants could thrive and be kept healthy under glass. 

An added bonus to his 1827 discovery was that horticulturists could use glass vessels to protect tropical plant species in ‘Wardian cases’ from sea air on long voyages returning by ship to their homeland. 

I am fascinated by these ‘Wardian cases’ which we now call terrariums, and so is Courtney.  He recently attempted to create one himself, and learned a few things in the process.  

Please welcome back Courtney Lake on the topic of successful terrariums!

“Terrariums are the flora equivalent of a ship in a bottle in my opinion. They are beautiful living sculptures that can serve a multitude of purposes from table centerpiece to anchoring a mantel vignette. The terrariums of today are not the ones we crafted for school science fairs.  Modern terrariums combine form, texture and color to create living works of art.

Yet for many, including myself, creating a successful environment can be intimidating.  Every time I see one, I think to myself “How did they do that?”  It amazes me that people have mastered the art of how to create what are essentially miniature gardens within the confines of a glass vessel.

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Simple Summer Lavender Wreath

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Happy Monday everyone, hope you had a fantastic weekend!  We built a 12’ x 12’ cabana on Saturday on our patio and I can’t believe how great it looks!  I’ll show you the whole space later this week, I’ve just got to pull it all together and snap a few pics. 

We spent Sunday in Sonoma, lounging in the Plaza, bliss I tell you.  Balmy and perfect.  The kids ended up a little bronzer and we had a relaxing time, strolling around and popping into a favorite tasting room.  I meant to write about this lavender wreath last night but then got caught up in past episodes of Million Dollar Decorators and could not avert my eyes.  Some peeps are very self absorbed and completely out of touch!  But it makes for great television, I admit I am hooked. 

There are few things in the garden I love more than lavender, so last week I harvested a few plants and crafted a front door wreath.  Here it hangs from my trusty Command hook, so natural and fragrant.

kates lavender front door wreath

 

For a simple summer wreath like this one, you’ll need a craft floral ring, floral wire, wire cutters, ribbon, and clippers for your stems (not shown).  I used the 18” craft ring, which requires lavender from 3-4 mature plants.  I imagine you could make the 12” version with 2-3 plants.  Be sure to cut the lavender 12-15” from the top.

lavender wreath supplies

 

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