Since we keep tarantulas and other insects in the house, we have a lot of containers, aquariums and Wardian cases. Now that our pets have stabilized in number, I decided to use one of the custom made tanks to turn into a terrarium.
It is a nice looking aquarium, and was custom made to fit into one the cube of those big Expedit bookcases from IKEA everyone seems to own.
I wanted two things in my terrarium: a Japanese garden design scheme, and some edible (or fragrant) plants. Terrariums are popular on home-centric blogs right now, and one does not have to look far for instructions, or inspiration. (RE: Design*Sponge’s upside down jar terrarium and how-to video, peppermags’ succulent terrarium and mini-garden, plus Craftzine’s mason jar terraria)
I visited the Ellerslie Gift and Garden Centre where they happened to be having a sale. There was also a charming cafe selling soup, coffee and teas, as well as ice cream sodas. It’s a beautiful place, full of gifts, plants and helpful people.
Ellerslie Gift & Garden Centre
Ellerslie Cafe, inside the garden store.
I got these plants for under $25, thanks to a sale. The edible plants I got were a rosemary bush and lemon balm. I also got a small Mugo pine, a plant that looked like miniature bamboo and a small fern.
At home, I readied the tank. It’s quite good for a self sustaining terrarium, as it has a tight fitting lid with just a few holes drilled in it.
I laid down some gravel, bark, and then lots of dirt. I had some moss, but it just did not look right when I laid it down. Too cluttered.
I had to trim the unruly rosemary down, so it looked more in tune with the other plants, size-wise. The trimmed branches are now drying in my kitchen. They smell great.
I planted the five plants, and laid down a “river bed” of miniature rocks. I also scattered some hens and chicks plants, for an added layer of colour and dimension. I’m not sure how well the plants will do, but I’ll be sure to report back in a few months, after our long, dry winter is underway.
This is the finished tank.
My favourite is this teeny Mugo pine. It grows less than an inch a year!
The tank smells amazing, just like a forest. Very green and fresh, sort of like wet dirt, with hints of rosemary and the lemon balm. Sort of like the Muttart Conservatory, minaturized!
I’m excited at finally having a way to keep herbs through the winter as well. I haven’t done very well in past years trying that. If this experiment turns out well, I have plenty of more tanks to use!