Jun 30, 2014

How To Make a Hobbit Terrarium.

Frodo walking up to Bag End.

A new idea was sprouted, inspired by the amount of moss growing on our property this winter and my recent Pinterest obsession. "Oh Mum, you should go on pinterest, you'll love it...!" sounded my two daughters' well meaning advice.
And I did. And I do love it. And I am getting new ideas.
But I don't really need more ideas.....
But I can't stop; there are so many clever and creative people out there, and so many handy how-to's. And I have 18 boards already, and other Pinners are following them....

However I am rather enamoured with tiny worlds, especially enclosed in a jar.

So I started gathering up moss, and lichens still attached to the fallen twigs from the pohutukawa tree, and found some liverwort plants. We live in a very clean-air part of the world, and several prolific species of lichens live on the trees right outside the house, and hardy urban moss has established itself into little cracks in the concrete paths and road asphalt outside.
I also colllected gravel from the drive, used activated charcoal from the brewers shop in town, and I used spoons to put everything into a big glass jar with a cork lid from the Sallies.
The little round door was made by painting a clean stone with 1 flat side with acrylic paint, and acrylic sealer.

How to assemble your terrarium
1: Layer of gravel or pebbles, for drainage.
2: Thin layer of activated charcoal, which will stop bad bacteria that can grow mold and slime.
3: Layer of cheesecloth, or dried sphagnum moss (from the florist), to stop the soil falling into the gravel layer. If the soil clogs up the gravel layer, your terrarium can't drain.
4: Thicker layer of fine compost soil, enough for any roots of little plants to become established.
You can shape this soil with a spoon, or your fingers, into little hillocks, or place some larger stones as decoration.
5: Start putting down your moss, hopefully gathered carefully, with the underlying soil still attached, you can do this by collecting moss on a wet day with a flattish spoon, and slow scraping movements.
Gently press down the moss onto your little sloped garden. Don't let the moss press against the glass, for it won't be able to "breathe" and will die.
6: Keep your terrarium in indirect sunlight, otherwise your plants might cook.
Make sure that the soil is moist, sprinkle a little water if needed.
Close the jar. There should only be slight condensation on the glass, if it is too wet, as if it is positively raining in there, you can leave it open for a little while, to disperse some of it. Your moss should keep looking lush and alive, if it dries out, well, you'll have to add some water, but you shouldn't have to do that for a long while. Months even.
7: And if you have created a little scene in there with imaginary inhabitants, please do have a giggle! Keep playing!

And so this will be the year of the living room, in our D.I.Y. house. My lovely builder has already taken off several inside walls, and put insulation in, and replaced the boards, he has even done some rough plastering so far. We are also in the process of contemplating wallpapers, it will be a toss-up between 2, but until the sample gets here, we're still not quite sure. Our new gas fire-place is humming along pleasantly. It is very nice to wake up at 6:45a.m. and get into a warm living-space, without any effort on our part.
A new idea has arisen also; what about wooden floors here as well as in the dining room/workroom?
The lovely native matai wood flooring from the 1940's is sitting right underneath the carpet...

But before we do all that however, a small leak has been discovered in 1 of the walls of the shower cabin, and that does have to be dealt with unfortunately.
My husband reminds me, that it is a "first world problem". How lucky we are to have a roof above our heads in the first place! With food in the cupboard and enough work to earn money...
Are you that fortunate too?


softearthart said...

What a cool terrarium, and yes we are indeed fortunate.. cheers Marie

12Create said...

I love this. It looks fabulous. Thank you for sharing how you made it. I wonder if I can find some moss around here.

Jack said...

I love this, sis... :) lovely write-up!

Elmtree said...

Oh, thanks all you lovely people! It was nice and meditative to make, and good to get your fingers in some sweet earth.
I always love to share how to do stuff!