Making a Terrarium

looking into a tall terrariumwine jug terrariumAs the wedding day approaches we are in the process of making final decisions, and believe me it is a process.  But a  lot has been decided; lighting, green and golden twinkle lights strung everywhere, enchanting; drinks,water, tea, lemonade, beer and sangria, my special recipe; menu, an old fashioned pot luck style grill out, yum and fun! How many tables and where they will be placed, done, but what to dress them with is still in its creative evolution.

Both my daughters, like their mother I’m afraid, have very eclectic styles, which from time to time complicates things.  They love urban minimalism with its steel and concrete, but the Rocky Round sensibility with earthy and weathered elements like aged wood, worn stone and greenery lives in our hearts.  Then with the wedding we also have an unexpected bling vibe. I’m not complaining; the search for just the right table dressing has been a creative adventure, and a lot of fun. 

We experiment with ideas knowing that most won’t make it into the wedding and some won’t even make it past the brainstorming stage, but the really great ones, like this one will live on in one way or another.  I loved it from the moment I received the phone call.  Our excited bride-to-be was standing in front of a Manhattan store window, breathlessly describing a beautiful jar filled with pebbles, dirt, moss and feathery ferns. A terrarium! In an instant I was transported back to the early seventies; maxi skirts, head bandannas, Roman sandals and my first self-contained environment in a jar.

Searching through memories shadowed in time, I pieced together a vague plan on how I would put together a terrarium. Then, dressed in a flowy hippie blouse, I headed out to purchase supplies.  What a trip – down memory lane, of course- this project has become.

You can read how I made my tarrarium by clicking on” read more” below the slide show or go to “Arts and craft projects” on the side bar.

Here’s how I made my terrarium 🙂


Large clear container, (I prefer jars with medium to small mouth). My jars were recycled from our last years “Mama Mia” wedding.

Small plants, I used moss, ferns and bomeliads. If too much force is used in insterting a plant it may cause enough damage that the plant will not survive.

Pea pebbles, sea shell, beach glass or something similar, for drainage.

Potting soil the mix depends on what type of plants being used. I check the potting instructions provided with the plant to determine the potting mix.

Tools: (mine were makeshift as follows)

Wide-mouth funnel – for filling the jar with the pebbles and soil, (I used a plastic drink bottle with the bottom cut off).

Long, thin pick – for positioning the plants, (I used wooden skewers).

Tiny shovel – for digging the soil within the jar and guiding plants into place, (I made one using the narrow plastic plant marker that came with the plant, taped to a long wooden skewer.

Small, flexible bottle brush for cleaning the inside of the jar and for tamping, (I used paper towels taped to a flexible wire).

Watering tube – to water around the sides of the inside of the jar (I used a tiny flexible rubber hose inserted through a hole I punched in the lid of a plastic water bottle.

Long, flat tamping tool approx one inch in diameter (I used a small PVC pipe plugged with aluminum foil).

I started with a clean, narrow mouth jar. The jar was glass so I tilted it toward its side, so the pebbles wouldn’t slide too rapidly into the jar and cause it to break. Using a funnel I filled it with pebbles to about one inch.  Next I added soil to about three inches in depth and, using a tamping tool, gently tamped the soil. Then using the shovel I made a hole for the plant.  The plant needed to be divided and much of the soil gently removed from the roots to fit it through the jar opening.  Carefully I squeezed the plant into the jar. I stuck a skinny wooden skewer into the top of the plant then placed it on my make-shift shovel to help guide it into place. With my tamping tools I pressed in the roots. I placed the shorter plants along the perimeter first, adding the taller ones in the middle last.  A flexible wire with a tuft of paper towel taped to it, worked great to remove soil clinging to the inside walls of the jar.  Finally I added a little water, not too much, and I’ll monitor the terrarium over the next few days, if there is no water in the pebbles I’ll add more.

1 thought on “Making a Terrarium

  1. So cool!


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