Moss terrarium in a lolly jar


A few months back I did a post on terrariums using succulents and cacti, mainly due to the fact that I couldn’t find any moss. I’m happy to announce that terrarium is still going strong (although as predicted, the Baby’s Tears died within a week) but I still had not satisfied my terrarium yearnings. Then, when we were out and about in a nature reserve type of place the other day I stumbled upon loads of gorgeous moss right near a waterfall. I’m not going to say where because I don’t think you’re allowed to take things from state forests or similar but I couldn’t help myself and took a few mossy tufts home in my umbrella cover (waterproof – perfect!)

It had been happily sitting in a coffee jar on our kitchen window sill waiting for the perfect home and yesterday I found it – an ‘old fashioned glass treat jar’ at half price. It was just like the ones used for the terrariums Dave and I had been eyeing off in the fancy and oh-so-expensive florist in the city. I was so excited about making my moss terrarium that I insisted on doing in last night when we came home from dinner. There I was in my PJ’s and dressing gown in the front yard trying to look for small rocks in the pitch black with Dave watching me from the bedroom thinking I was crazy. Which I may be. I scored big time when I found a small pile at the side of the driveway and realised a gap in the bottom of our front fence connects to the neighbours stone-filled garden bed. Yesss…!

You can find instructions for a terrarium in my original post but for a moss terrarium, a vessel with a lid works best to keep moisture in so it can act as a mini ecosystem. Also, internet research suggested a layer of dry moss between the layer of stones and the dirt to keep the dirt from falling into the stones which act as the drainage system. At 9pm last night I could not get my hands on any dry moss but I just cut a circle of chux cloth to put between the stones and the dirt that I’m hoping will work just as well as it’s thin and permeable.

To make a moss terrarium you will need

A glass vessel

A few handfuls of small stones

Good soil or potting mix

Dry moss or chux

Moss, ferns or other terrarium-loving plants

A water spray bottle

Some kind of poking and flattening tool like a wooden skewer with a wine cork on the end

In your nice clean glass jar or such, place a layer of small, clean stones, a layer of dry moss or chux (I traced a circle onto my chux using the jar lid to get the right size) and a layer of dirt. Make the stone and dirt layers about 1.5 inches or more each. Then spray the dirt with a water spray bottle so it’s nice and damp. Using a skewer with a cork on the end, pat down the dirt and make any hills or valleys you like to give your terrarium bit of landscaping. Then layer and tuck in the moss and various plants (I am trying my luck with Baby’s Tear’s again) and give it another good drink. As far as I know you don’t need to ‘plant’ the moss etc, just lay in on top and it should take root, or do whatever moss does to keep growing. Pop the lid on and admire the little bitty world you have just created.

Spray with water once a week – this will also ensure you let some fresh air in for the plants to breathe.

It’s common for terrariums to have a figurine of some sort (like Frankie the giraffe in my cactus terrarium) so for my moss terrarium I found a little blue wren called Glen. Yep. Glen the Wren. My imagination knows no bounds.

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World in a fishbowl

Two of my girlfriends have been getting their craft on lately. Abbey wanted to tackle terrariums, Jade thought we should have a ‘crafternoon’ (love it!) and I couldn’t think of anything better than hanging out with the girls, drinking vino and making stuff so the first crafternoon was officially called to order. It’s the first time I’ve done something like that with friends and it just added a whole layer of fun to being creative.

After deciding to have a crafternoon it was a mad rush to try to source materials before the weekend. When I think of terrariums I immediately think of moss. Moss seems to be one of those things that you suppose might be everywhere, lurking under logs and growing in the back corner of your garden. Wrong. Unless you live in Pandora, moss is damn hard to find in an inner-city suburb, at short notice, even if you’re willing to pay for it. We were at a loss for moss. To compensate I ripped up some baby’s tears (or Helxine soleirolii) from the front garden although I’m not sure my method of just laying it on top of the soil is going to actually work (to be honest I’m not sure if my method of putting a dry-loving cactus next to a damp-loving plant like baby’s tears is going to work either). We also had a glass vessel each, stones, potting mix, small succulents and some jungle friends…

So, stones in first, potting mix and then plants and voila! A little world in a fishbowl.

Mine has a little giraffe called Frankie. I like Frankie the giraffe. He is a little tribute to Dave because Dave is South African and now I always get warm fuzzies when I see African animals. Except Hyenas. They give me the creeps.

For more lovely terrarium inspiration check out Apartment Therapy’s guide to 25 Terrariums to Try, Buy & DIY.

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How does my garden grow

Things have been getting rather dirty around here lately, literally. Dave and I have been tending to a small veggie and herb garden and getting some dirt under our fingernails. Since I’ve only successfully grown succulents before, and let’s face it, they pretty much do all the work for you, vegetables and herbs seemed like a good challenge to tackle with my partner in grime. We planted some cucumber seedlings, rosemary and oregano struck from cuttings, basil seeds, and three kinds of tomato seedlings (cherry tomatoes and two Italian varieties that produce big old fashioned fruit and aren’t usually available in Australia – thanks Nick!).

The basil seeds were knocked over by the dogs and only two sprouted but seem to be thriving despite a late night snail attack. The rosemary is doing well. The oregano, not so well (aka dead). The cherry tomatoes have had a tough time being moved from under the car port, to the blazing sun and then to the sanctuary of ‘next to the shed’. They have plenty of fruit and we have had one delicious harvest so far but the leaves are drying up here and there which is a bit alarming. The cucumbers were not doing much at all, or so we thought. The runt of the four seedlings never really took off and the few little cucumbers that came after the flowers on the other plants shrivelled in the heat and fell off. During one of our evening inspections I think I scared the neighbours with a “oh my god!” when I found a fully grown cucumber in amongst the vines that had either grown entirely overnight or had been hiding behind one of the tomato tresses and disguising itself as a bamboo stake every time it heard us open the back door.

We were pretty much ‘winging it’ with our first veggie patch and it is really nice to watch the plants grow and be rewarded with vegetables and fresh herbs but I think next time we plant I will do a bit of research first as it’s frustrating when things aren’t going well but we don’t know how to fix them.

As for our one cucumber it’s ripe for the picking but I want to leave it for as long as possible as a testament to our efforts and living proof my thumb has turned from black to green (a very pale shade of green).

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