Fighting Winter Blues? Bring Some Summer Greens Inside

March 12, 2013
The view from my apartment. Beautiful, but cold and monotonous.

The view from my apartment. Beautiful? Yes. Cold and monotonous? Yes

Winter, enough already! I don’t know about you, but I’m about fed up with the cold at this point. After New Year’s Day, snow emergencies are not jolly anymore.

I’m Minnesota born and bred, and love that we get to experience all four seasons. Snow was a blessing in my childhood. At this point, though, I could use a break!

My solution: A terrarium. Why not bring a little slice of summer life right onto my kitchen table?

Could you use a mini-vacation? Do you want some eye candy for your home? Or are you just looking for your next hands-on project? Take a look below at how I escaped winter, if only for a few moments at a time.

1. Glass Container – First, you’ll need your vessel. Any glass container will do — a bow, a shallow vase, a clear based lamp, anything. Take a look online for inspiration, get creative, and have fun! My challenge? I needed something that was enclosed so that my ever-pesky cat wouldn’t eat the plants.

2. Supplies – I found just about everything I needed at my local Bachman’s. The basics: Small gravel rocks, potting soil, and small plants to your liking. Then, decorative items: preserved moss (which I didn’t end up using), polished river rocks, and any other creative details (I bought small animal figurines — a Fox, a bunny, and a squirrel). The cat eating plants is optional.

3. Layer Rocks – First, ad a layer of the small gravel rocks for drainage and air. As shown below, the terrarium is not cat proof while the lid is open.

4. Layer Soil – Then, lock your cat out of whatever room you’re constructing in and add a layer of the potting soil.

5. Arrange and Plant – While picking plants at the store, I had an idea of how big my container was, and planned out how they would all fit together. Arrange them in your container to make sure everything fits the way you intended (I had overestimated the size, and bought one plant too many — better safe than sorry!). Then, one by one, plant them into the soil, adding more potting soil as you go  to make sure each are fully planted. Keep in mind you can play with the height of the soil here, build up some plants higher than others to add variety and show little “hills” through the sides of the glass. Having things less “perfect” will make the terrarium feel more natural.

6. Add Rocks – Now add your decorative details. I added small, polished river rocks in varying ares of the floor for contrast. I purchased preserved moss, but felt it was making the whole thing too green, so I opted out.

7. Add Whimsy – Once you have all your natural elements arranged, add in something fun and unexpected! Get creative here as well, find something that speaks to you — a miniature tea cup, a tiny football, antique keys, anything that will hold up to moisture. I was hoping to find a tiny ewok action figure, but came up empty handed. My second choice was a small toy fox I had seen at Michael’s. I placed it near the center in a more open area, but when you look closer you’ll also see a small gray bunny, and small squirrel hiding in the corners. From across the room, you don’t even notice any of the animals, but when you get closer they’ll make you smile.

8. Enjoy Your Winter Getaway – Boom! Done! The necessary care will depend on the types of plants you chose, so consult with whomever you get your plants from, but the beauty of terrariums is the limited care they need. Enjoy your slice of summer, and whenever you get the winter blues you have a little, teeny-tiny oasis to escape to.

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