I love bringing nature indoors; vases of flowers, pretty stones and all manner of leaves, bark and pinecones are welcome in my house at any time of year. I enjoy house plants, but I especially love creating bottle gardens or terrariums. Terrariums are fun to plant up either by yourself, with a friend, or with children or a disabled or house-bound friend or relation. Terrariums are something everyone can be involved in, and enjoy, which is wonderful! Whether you’re looking for a unique present, or to add a special touch or feature to your home, whatever your style or budget, I’d recommend a terrarium. I have a number of terrariums, here’s a closer look at two of them:
The first is a glass terrarium I bought second hand, it cost me £10. After giving the terrarium a good clean, I set about planting it up: first I added a mixture of gravel and activated charcoal, then I added a layer of very fine gravel, then a layer of peat free coir compost, on top of this I added my own peat free compost mixed with sand. I carefully planted my plants and mosses, each chosen to cope with the humidity and conditions of a terrarium.
All manner of items can be used to plant a beautiful and unique indoor garden: bell jars, cloches, carboys, old fish bowls and tanks, sweet jars, cheese domes, even old light bulbs! Select a sturdy, robust container, without any drainage holes, that’s made of clear glass, strong plastic, or acrylic. Choose a container with a wide enough opening to allow for planting and maintenance, and ensure you select one with enough height and room for both the growing medium and the plants.
My second terrarium is a BiOrbAir, a specially designed, automated terrarium, created by a company known for their aquariums. The BiOrbAir uses modern technology to create a stable micro-climate with regulated humidity and air movement. It even has LED lights which simulate daylight, allowing you to take nature with you, even in a basement office, or a room without any natural light. The lights are designed and arranged so that the plants will grow upright, meaning you won’t have to regularly turn the terrarium, as you do with traditional types. This also allows you to have a ‘backdrop’ to your planting design should you wish to. The way the terrarium is lit means that it also adds a soft, natural looking light to the room, casting pretty foliage shaped shadows – it really is beautiful and creates a unique feature and talking point. The design and features of the BiOrbAir take a lot of the guess work and worry away from the planting and maintenance of the terrarium. The water level indicator, a discreet tube at the side of the base of the unit lets you know if you need to top up the water reservoir. This is such a great feature, the tube can even be used to drain water from the base should you accidentally overfill your terrarium. Watering is a key component of any aspect of gardening, it’s so easy to get it wrong; this is such a clever feature and will give confidence to gardeners of all ages and experience. There’s a fan which runs continually, drawing in fresh air and circulating it around the terrarium; I’d compare the noise of the fan, with the sound of a laptop computer fan running. Another exciting feature is the misting unit! The built in sensors control the humidity, creating a perfect environment for plants to thrive.
This article was first published in the January 2016 edition of Vantage Point magazine.
Other articles that may interest you………
To see the first part of my White Orchid Trial BiOrbAir Terrarium, please click here.
To read the first part of my Madagascar BiOrbAir Terrarium Trial, please click here.
To read about the new features that the new 2017 BiOrbAir terrarium offers, please click here.
To read about using decorative features or ornaments in your terrarium, please click here.
To read the first part of my long-term review of the BiOrbAir – this review starts from planting and covers the next six months after planting, please click here.
To read my review of the special features of the BiOrbAir, please click here.
To see a Planting List of plants suited to growing in terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.
To read the first part of my Miniature Orchid Trial – Growing Miniature Orchids in the BiOrbAir, please click here.
To find out about the Writhlington Orchid Project, please click here.
To read my planting list of miniature orchids to grow in terrariums, please click here.
To see the planting list for the traditional terrarium and the BiOrbAir featured in this article, please click here.
To read about carnivorous plants, please click here.
To read more about the BiOrbAir and traditional terrariums, please click here.
The find out more about the size of the BiOrbAir, please click here.
To read about using tools to tend your terrarium plants, please click here.
To read about the largest orchid in the world, Grammatophyllum speciosum, which started flowering for the first time at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in August 2015, please click here.
For tips on gardening on a budget, please click here.
To read the results of my 2015 Sweet Pea Trial, please click here.
To read about growing mushrooms indoors, please click here.