So summer is well and truly a distant memory and if you're anything like me, the grey damp weather doesn't make you the happiest! Greenery is something that makes me happy and whilst it's not glistening sunshine for going out in the garden, you can bring the garden inside!
A while ago I had a go at making my own terrariums. Essentially these are mini gardens in a jar that have their own little eco system. They're super fun to make and much more affordable than if you buy one ready made in a shop.
To make them you will need:
A jar or other glass container with a sealable lid (I found them cheaper in a brewing and jam preserve shop)
Clean gravel/small stones (bought from shops or collected from your garden)
Soil (best to get potting soil, rather than garden soil so you don't get the creepy crawly visitors!)
Activated charcol pellets (you can get these from pet stores in the fish section or places like amazon)
Some thin mesh (the weave shouldn't let soil pass through)
Moss (I got mine from the garden) or decorative pebbles
Your choice of small plants (best ones for a terrarium are: fern, watermelon peperomia, silver nerve, aquamarine, begonia, club moss etc)
Decorations of your choice (I used drift wood from the pet shop, mini buddah ornaments from amazon and a dinosaur cake topper!)
Water spray bottle
Long tweezers or chop sticks (you can buy tweezers specifically for making terrariums)
Okay, so now you've got the tools, it's time to make the terrarium!
1. Your first job is to pour your stones/gravel into the base of your jar. Word of warning here, I had to wash my shop-bought gravel in a seive multiple times first, because they were so chalky. It's up to you how much you pour in based on what you think looks best, but remember your base layers should take up no more than half the jar in total. The aim of the stones is to drain the water so the soil isn't sitting in it and your plants don't rot.
2. Next you need to pour about an inch or two of activated charcoal pellets evenly over the stones. The job of these is to help keep the oxygen flowing in the jar, keep the water fresh and prevent bacteria growth.
3. Now you need your mesh. Place it on your table or the floor and pop your jar on top. Draw around the base of the jar as a template and then cut out the mesh. You then need to push this through the jar opening and try and get it as even as you can over the charcoal. You may need to pull it back out and trim to size. This is to stop soil passing through into the bottom layers and helps create a cleaner look.
4. Next comes the soil. You need at least a couple of inches, but again, you decide based on the size of your jar and the aesthetic you want. Just remember to make it deep enough for your plants. Press your soil evenly down to create a flat surface.
5. Now you need your chosen plants. Pull them out of their pots and gently seperate them out of the soil. If they are too large, carefully seperate some of the roots so you just take a small part of the plant. Alternatively you could take a cutting of the plant, but if you keep the roots, the plants will last a lot longer from my experience.
6. Now use your long utensil to dig a little hole in the soil where you want to place your plants and carefully try and drop them in. This can be fiddly. Use your long utensil to guide them into the right place and push them in. Try and push the soil back around the plant to secure it in place. Continue until you are happy with your arrangement.
7. If you are using decoartive pebbles for the top, you want to gently pour them over the top of the soil, being careful not to squash any plants. Even it out until you're happy. If you're using moss, pull it apart and place it around the plants. It will probably be a case of dropping the moss in and then squashing it down into the soil with your long tool.
8. Nearly finished! Time for the finishing touches. You could leave your terrarium like this, or you could decorate it more! Now is the time to place in your decorations. You will need to push them down a little and maybe shift a bit of moss or pebbles to the side so that they settle in and don't fall over.
9. Once you are happy with your terrarium, there's just one last step. Get your spray bottle full of water and mist inside so the plants and soil are damp. Be careful not to over saturate them. You may want to wipe down the sides of the jar with some dry kitchen towel to stop any water marks. Seal your jar up and voila! Your little eco system will now keep itself happy and will not need any watering. The only maintenance it will need is the occasional trimming of plants with scissors when they grow too much.