I first heard about this new title from Timber Press back when my friend Kate Bryant (of Portland Monthly’s Plantwise and one of the authors of this book) was settling in for some long nights of writing. Months later and a copy arrives in my mailbox, it’s now a real honest to goodness book. How exciting!
Terrarium Craft is more of a crafty how-to book, than a gardening book. But that should be obvious by the title right? From the inside cover: “A terrarium is nothing less than a miniature world – one that you can create yourself. It might be a tiny rainforest, with lush foliage and bright tropical flowers. Or a desert, with strange succulents planted among colorful stones. Or a Victorian fernery. Or a minimalist composition with a single, perfect plant.” In other words…something for everyone! The book showcases 50 completed terrariums that you are encouraged to re-create or (more importantly in my opinion), use as inspiration and a jumping off point to create your own final design. Before you get to the section of completed terrariums (beautiful pictures and step by step instructions on creating them) there are plenty of pages devoted to basics of creating one. Topics like choosing a container, building the foundation (soil, sand, and gravel), and finding “accessories” like shells, crystals, and other miscellany.
Now not everyone attracted to terrarium making is going to have a gardening background, and even those that do may not understand the differences when gardening under glass. In order to create one of these little worlds and have it survive you’ll need to know a thing or two about the plants that you’re working with. This is one of the best parts of the book, the fact that the plants are not an afterthought. Considerable information on appropriate plants and their care in a terrarium situation is given (I also learned that I’ve been watering my succulents considerably less than recommended). One of the steps that the authors explain is when planting to remove the topmost surface of soil, after you’ve removed the plant from the container, before you place it in the terrarium. Yes! I think this is an important step anytime you’re planting a container plant, especially a succulent. Otherwise you are likely to get the final soil layer too high on the plant. Smart tips that beginners might not think about!
The three terrariums I’ve shown here were my favorite of the 50 designs in the book, you might be wondering….did the book inspire me to create a terrarium? Good question! Not yet. You see I’ve got my hands full outside right now in the garden. Every spare second I have I’m out there doing something. So for me these terrarium projects will be perfect for next fall/winter when I can’t get outside to play in the garden. If you are interested in creating your own terrarium I think this book is a great reference, and I just discovered if you order from Powell’s online you can (for a limited time) save 30% on this and other Timber Press titles! Click here. Also if you’re in the Portland area on Sunday, June 12, at Portland Nursery on Division St there will be a free Terrarium Craft class at 1:00, looks like you have to register in advance though and the class is limited to 30 students.
And here is my official disclaimer…Kate is a friend; I’ve enjoyed a glass of wine or two in her company…and Timber Press sent me this book to review. However thoughts expressed are my honest opinions!
Update! I neglected to mention the other ladies involved in this book! Amy Bryant Aiello, owner of Artemisia and creative force behind the terrarium designs and Kate Baldwin, the photographer whose lovely photographs I borrowed for this post. Big over-sight on my part!