• Ajin Madhavan

Art of terrarium making...

Terrariums are miniature ecosystems where you can grow plants and animals in glass containers, with a desired landscape. They are a good home décor or indoor gardens, or can serve exclusively for scientific purposes. For example, if you want a close observation of the growth and interactions between the two or more plant species, or even to understand the behavior of an animal, these miniature ecosystems will turn out to be very helpful. A closed type of terrarium can sustain itself for many years even without a maintenance. Terrariums are nowadays getting popular anew among the urban lifestyle, for several reasons. These small greenhouse, self-sustaining ecosystems are an effective home décor and they add to an overall aesthetics of your apartment. Besides, they are easily manageable with minimum care. However, you should have some basic knowledge about the functioning of terrariums and their low maintenance.

Is it possible to make your own terrarium? Yes, of course! You can make your own terrarium for your living space or office. Terrarium making is an art and it really helps to improve your creativity. Locally available resources are enough to make one. Choose empty bottles or glass containers available nearby. My recent experience in the making of a terrarium was quite exciting and I had a lot of fun. I used a small glass bowl, available materials, and plants around my home. For this, at first, I selected plants which I wanted to plant inside the container. When it comes to the plant selection, it is very important that you have a basic idea of the plant type, its growth and the substratum that you are going to provide for them. I have collected mosses, ferns, small creepers, and a tree orchid.

Mosses are non-vascular simple plant forms existing in groups which can grow in a shady place. They can grow even in low nutrient areas, receiving most of the nutrients from the air, and are easily available. At a larger scale, mosses perform a number of functions that help ecosystems perform effectively, such as filtering and retaining water, stabilizing the ground and removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Therefore, the biggest part of my terrarium is made out of moss. A false gravel layer was put on the bottom of the glass bowl, followed by a charcoal layer (activated charcoal is better). I separated these two layers from each other by a mesh. This helped the bottom not to be infused by the soil from above, providing a good air circulation for the plant roots. Then, I put the soil on top of the charcoal as the main substratum for the plants and made a rough layout to arrange the plants on top of it.

The last and final interesting step was making the rest of the landscape design using the stones and tree twigs that I have already collected. By using different types of mosses and plants I made it look like the real nature. Additionally, I sprayed enough water (remember, too much water is not good for your terrarium) to sustain the system.

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