Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Terrariums Reimagined - June Garden Book Review


Terrariums Reimagined ~written by Kat Geiger~  
Published by Ulysses Press 2013
I remember receiving a terrarium for a gift back in the 70’s when they were the trendy thing to have for a neat way to display plants.  My plants must have eventually died and I never gave another thought to creating a new terrarium.
Recently I was asked to review Terrariums Reimagined and as many things come back in fashion; indeed, why not revisit terrariums as an element for home decor.
The author, Kat Geiger has taken terrariums beyond what they’ve ever been before and her imagination for repurposing things from around the house is downright clever.
We’re all familiar with the Victorian era Wardian case, the perfect formal place to grow plants inside glass and she tells about the history of it.
To quote Geiger, good reasons to create a terrarium are: there are a good number of plants in a small space; they’re low maintenance with watering often once a month or less; the plants are protected from dry or hot home air and pets; they are easy to assemble and have wow appeal.
There are illustrations of a number of glass vessels, suggestions of the best planting materials along with placement within the home for optimum enjoyment.  Some terrariums can be hung on a wall if made in sconces or hung from the ceiling by using a special drill bit to create a hole in glass and attach a rope.
Geiger goes on to say that plants and mosses are the heart and soul of the terrarium.  You need to decide if you’re going to create a tropical or desert landscape and select the plants carefully for those light, water and soil conditions.  Just as you need to know whether to place outdoor plants in full sun or shade, you have to understand that tropical plants and cacti don’t mix.
The soil mix for tropical plants should contain an all-purpose potting mix which generally contains organic material and microorganisms to feed the plant, peat to help absorb moisture and air, and an inorganic porous element like pebbles or perlite for drainage.  Activated charcoal is recommended between the drainage layer and soil to create a natural filter for the terrarium air to prevent mold and to aid the drainage.
The only difference with desert plantings is to use a soil made specifically for cacti and in place of gravel, coloured sand might be chosen.
A section on children’s terrariums would be fun to introduce to youth gardeners or school groups for a project.
The light and water requirements for maintenance are reinforced at the end of the book to encourage the confidence for anyone to try their hand at designing a terrarium.
All photos are from the book, and I have to say this was a fun and inspiring read.

I'm linking with Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys for the June Garden Book Review.

15 comments:

  1. These are all cute but the glass teapot tops them all!

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  2. Fun! My favorite terrarium in made from a glass gallon pickle jar laid on its side. So much fun to make. You're giving me ideas!

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  3. I've always thought the old style Wardian cases very attractive.

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  4. I have wanted to make one of these for a while now...you have inspired me to give it a go.

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  5. I, too, had terrariums in the 70's. I remember 'Polka Dot' plant was one I grew. I just recently purchased it again but not to grow in a terrarium! Thanks for the review and for the memories!

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  6. This looks like a book I would enjoy!

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  7. This looks like a fabulous book! I ran across a beautiful terrarium case a few months back. My family talked me out of getting it. :( But I'll be back one day - without them! I like that the author also covers children's terrarium projects. I know a few children that would love these! Thanks so much for joining in!

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  8. I agree..I like the glass teapot. I saw a Wardian case at Tuesday Morning a few months ago and didn't get it and now it's gone. I'll keep looking. Thanks for the info.
    ~Clara

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  9. Very pretty, Judith. I have books with Victorian terrariums pictures. Have always thought I'd like to try one but I'm not a very good house plant keeper. I keep a lot of fauxs. Not as pretty buy work for me..Happy Weekend..Judy

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  10. How interesting. I had almost forgotten about them! I love the garden in the glass teapot and the coke bottle. What a fun project for little ones such a garden would be!

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  11. love the teapot terrarium ... would make a wonderful addition to my tea thyme ladder planter ... I'll keep my eye open for the book at the library

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  12. That looks wonderful and like so much fun to make !!
    Have a great day.

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  13. Aren't they all beautiful, Judith? However, my very favorite is the teapot terrarium!

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  14. I remember terrariums from the seventies as well, and I think it's great they're making a comeback!

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Judith

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