Secrets of a Successful Terrarium

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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Guest Post: DIY Glowing Globes

June 22nd, 2011

I can’t recall how I discovered Karen, but somehow I stumbled upon her last year, stalked her blog for awhile, then reached out and tweeted to her that I thought she was awesome.  That was last year and we’ve been internet friends ever since, or as Karen puts it, “I’m so glad we Intermet.”  

Karen is daring and crafty and funny.  She cooks and builds and decorates, all with finesse and a sense of humor, hence the perfect name for her blog The Art of Doing Stuff.  One time in an email she signed her name “Karen!” and I replied that she should always sign her name like that.  Because she’s not just Karen.  She’s Karen! 

I like to pretend that Karen! and I are twins separated at birth.  She’s just like me except for the fact that she’s tall, thin, blonde, and Canadian.  

Please welcome my Intermet friend Karen!

“Hi everyone. I’m new here.  My name’s Karen.  I do stuff.  A lot of stuff.  I design stuff, repair stuff, cook stuff and even do crafty stuff.  Partly because I’m incredibly curious and partly because I’m cheap. And perhaps a bit of a control freak.  But only perhaps.

Oh, and sometimes I swear. But I won’t in this post because I promised Kate that I wouldn’t. But since she’s taking a brief holiday and probably won’t notice, maybe I will.  Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite cheap outdoor design ideas.

Get ready for it … this one’s a doozy.  Doozie?  Doosey.  It’s a humdinger.  It looks high end with a side of huge impact, and it costs next to nothing.  You’ll be able to do this. In 3 minutes flat.

When I redid my backyard (like an idiot) a few years ago, I found out that outdoor lighting is expensive.  Like, really expensive.  If I’m gonna shell out a whole whack of cash for something in my backyard it’s gonna be on a beef tenderloin for the BBQ.  Or a better BBQ.  Or a talking parrot who refers to me as Princess Leia.  It isn’t gonna be for lighting, if I can help it.

So while perusing my local second hand store I came across some truly unfortunate stains on the carpet AND these ubiquitous opaque glass shades.  You’ve probably thrown a few out in your lifetime.  Stop doing that.  Stop it right now.

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