Sunday, April 3, 2022

Covid Craziness V1.0

Fair to say all of us endured many days and weeks in lockdown, myself included.  To say we all handled it differently would be the understatement of the year!  For me.... I'm classed as an essential worker, so I still headed to the office 9 days a fortnight. I live alone, so work provides me with social interaction that would be sadly lacking if I was working from home, or worse still, out of work.  So not a lot changed for me, other than work is busier than normal, and the cessation of social interaction outside of work.  From time to time I endured weekend lockdowns and it was the housebound part that has created some covid craziness!!  So many projects previous just passing thoughts were enacted, created and now, blogged about!

One such project was to create a terrarium!  I follow a gardener on Instagram and he makes some amazing terrariums, so I dug out some glassware and acquired some plants and.... well....  well I made 9, none of which I am perfectly happy with at this stage.  

Terrariums can be open or closed.  The glasswear I had was all lidded so closed terrariums it would be.

The concept is an old one.  In fact the oldest known surviving closed terrarium was created by a pommie called David Latimer.  He created one with a single cutting in 1960.  It remained sealed for 12 years  when, in 1972, it was opened and water was added.  It's still going now in 2022.  That is one old terrarium!!! I don't know if it has outlived David Latimer!

So my process was thus.... Into the washed bowl of the terrarium I layered black pebbles, horticultural charcoal, sphagnum moss, soaked and dripping and a final layer of succulent potting mix.  My plants were removed from their pots and popped into the succulent layer of medium.   By varying the depth of the medium hills and dales were easy to create so plants of similar height would appear different in the finished product.  

Wide mouth jars and bowls were the easiest to fill and plant out.  The hardest was a 5 litre old glass drink bottle. It was easy to funnel the growing medium in. Harder to create different levels and nearly impossible to get the plants well bedded into the succulent mix!  I used long handled tools and a couple of thin bamboo stakes, but it was not my best work.  I pulled 3 or 4 apart and remade them.  Too much succulent mix was a problem in the early attempts.  It is a case where less gives a better look. There is still plenty of room for root growth thru the layers.

Still unfilled are two 50 litre carboys.  Huge glass jars with very narrow necks.  Unfilled as I am not sure how to effectively create the hills and dales that make a good terrarium.  I will work it out and I will create the last two terrariums, but that, I feel, are enough.   Its not like outdoor gardening because if they are done correctly then need no future care....... well not for the first 12 years anyway!!!