Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Getting Back to Glass Roots; CHANNEL YOUR INNER INTERIOR DESIGNER AND CREATE YOUR OWN PLANT-FILLED TERRARIUM

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Getting Back to Glass Roots; CHANNEL YOUR INNER INTERIOR DESIGNER AND CREATE YOUR OWN PLANT-FILLED TERRARIUM

Article excerpt

Byline: YOUR GARDEN With Diarmuid Gavin

GARDENING trends so often travell from here across the big pond, but there's at least one that's come to Britain from the US recently.

Plants are once again becoming central to interior design schemes. And now the style for displaying indoor plants is in glazed cases, glass baubles and other miniature stage sets.

It was an accidental discovery by Dr Nathaniel Ward that gave rise to the modern day terrarium. Living in 19th-century London, he noticed grass and fern seedlings growing in a bottle that he was using to store moths.

This led him to develop sealed glass enclosures that would protect plants from city pollution by creating a mini ecosystem.

His invention became known as the Wardian Case and was used by plant explorers to protect new species on their long journeys home.

The plants from the new worlds were put in glass and wood cases and lashed to the decks of ships traversing the oceans. These Wardian Cases ensured the plants weren't damaged by sea salt and retained moisture through being surrounded by a man-made moist ecosystem.

Wardian Cases became all the rage in Victorian times as decorative additions to drawing rooms and showcases for ferns which were collected avidly at the time.

And terrariums are enjoying a revival today - for urban dwellers with little or no outdoor space who want a little bit of nature indoors.

So what do you need to create your own terrarium? Firstly, a glass container. This can be any size, ranging from a jam jar to a disused aquarium.

Thrift shops and flea markets are great hunting grounds for cheap and cheerful glassware - unusualshaped bottles, urns, domes and jugs. Or you could choose more contemporary geometric shapes such as square glass containers.

You can source these from pound shops or inexpensive hardware stores.

Open containers are better for plants that prefer dry conditions, such as cacti and succulents. Closed ones are more suitable for ferns and mosses that enjoy moist air and damp conditions.

Clean and dry the container before use. Next you need a layer of grit or stones to line the bottom to create a drainage layer where excess water can sit. …

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