I was lucky enough to be offered a copy of Terrariums, Gardens under Glass by Maria Colletti to review by the publishers Cool Springs Press. It came at a time when I was just looking into Terrariums and their variations. I have fallen (quite hard!) for succulents and have been looking at various ways of displaying them to use in indoor planted features.
We have provided vintage terracotta pots of succulents for customers during the lean flower months so that they have something of interest and beauty to decorate their spaces that are usually adorned with our flowers.
A true terrarium is a sealed vessel. Something that is not suitable for succulents. This would be something like a bottle garden that were so popular "a few" years ago and are seeing a resurgence in trendier homes & magazines. The author takes you through how to construct these and gives options of suitable plants to use. She also looks at maintenance & trouble shooting if you encounter problems once your sealed vessel is planted up.
Maria Colletti explains in detail how to construct many other glass gardens. She discusses the suitability of various plant types for different containers. For example a narrow opening will conserve more moisture and so will be more suitable for a plant wanting humid conditions than an air plant.
One of my favourites is probably the Wardian case with their metal and glass construction. An example of which is featured on the cover. The original Wardian cases were used to protect plants collected on botanical explorations from the harsh conditions they may face on the long sea journey home. The cases would provide the correct hot and humid atmosphere that the plants were used to.
I have seen reproduction Wardian cases, and also glass & metal planters based on the same look. I might even source some for myself.
I also love the cloches and compote dishes that Maria plants up and can see these being perfect used for a non-flowery dinner party centrepiece or as table decorations at a wedding. I have done some succulent planters in vintage glass jelly moulds, and these look fabulous.
Maria gives step-by-step instructions on how to construct various glass gardens, including hanging glass baubles with air plants and small floating water gardens. She shares top tips like using funnels to direct sand, soil or gravel to just the right place, or using a piece of paper to keep the layers separate if you want a layered look to show at the side of the container. A squirt of a water sprayer is recommended to remove stray soil from the inside of a container, followed by a polish with kitchen paper.
I have admired the glass structures that I have seen on Pinterest and Instagram that are planted up with succulents and small indoor plants. With the knowledge I have gained from this book, I can reproduce even more indoor gardens and have the understanding of what will work best in what situation.