In The Country Magazine
woman creating a terrarium bottle garden
In The Country Lifestyle

Create your own bottle garden

Welcome spring in, by creating your own bottle garden; There is something childlike and magical about a bottle garden and quick browse of Pinterest will reveal magnificent examples of these quirky indoor sanctuaries. Reminiscent of mystical fairy gardens, why not follow these simple steps to create your own mini oasis?

A number of garden centres are still open currently falling into a bit of a muddy area when it comes to staying open; arguably, gardening is great for people’s mental health and stocking up on some plants and DIY tools will keep boredom away for many during this initial 3-week lockdown period. It is best to check with your local garden centre before travelling; they may have important safe-guarding measures in place for customers which you’ll need to adhere to – if they are open.

Owning houseplants has been linked to improved mental wellbeing. Besides looking lovely and brightening up your day they are constantly improving air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing energising and essential oxygen.

Indoor plants such as the Peace Lily, Spider Plant or Boston Fern can help purify the air in your home, by filtering out harmful chemicals. Struggle to get to sleep at night or suffer from anxiety? A pot of Lavender in your bedroom can work wonders at reducing stress levels, as well as smelling beautiful. Aloe vera is a popular desk-top plant as it needs very little maintenance and has a wealth of health and skincare benefits too.

Owning houseplants has definitely seen a revival in recent years and you may have seen that I am now proud mother to a beautiful bonsai tree – a Chinese Elm to be precise, and I have to confess both myself and my mother have noticed feeling much ‘lighter’ and very much enjoy our joint parenting duties. Could you welcome one in?

Bottle gardens, or terrariums as they are also known, are inspiring to look at, as well as being fun to create either as a solo activity or with a green-fingered companion. The key to a successful garden is to pair up species of plants which need and enjoy similar growing conditions.

Images sourced via Shutterstock.

To create your own bottle garden, in a medium sized glass bowl, you will need:

– Glass bowl
– Horticultural grit
– Peat free houseplant compost
– Moss (can be picked up from the lawn)
– Small plants x 3-5 (we recommend using lush foliage plants that prefer low light and humidity)

First things first, you need to find your perfect glass vessel. Depending on the types of plants you wish to grow, a closable one will best suit moisture-loving plants, whilst an open top glass vessel is better suited to plants preferring drier conditions.

In normal circumstances, you’ll be able to pick one up from your local garden centre easily enough, or for a more unique look why not see what your local a charity shop might have to offer? We found a former goldfish bowl works really well!

Step 1 Place approx 6cm of horticultural grit in the bottom of the vessel to allow for drainage. Then add houseplant compost till the bowl is about a third full – breaking up any large lumps with your hands.

Step 2 Position each plant atop the soil until you are sure where you want them. Next, as you would when planting into pots or containers, dig a little hole in the compost and sit the plant in this, before covering and firming down around the roots.

Step 3 Once all the plants are bedded-in, water slowly down the sides of the glass bowl. You won’t need to water every day, as the curved sides of the terrarium will prevent rapid evaporation. Be careful not to allow the compost to completely dry out, but also avoid over watering as this is one of the most common causes of death in plants. A good rule of thumb is to water every 3-4 days.

Step 4 Place the bottle garden in a bright spot, but out of direct sunlight. Keep away from pets, as some plants can be harmful if eaten and we all know how pets like to chew things they shouldn’t… Olive, our darling cat, once thought playing with a bouquet of lilies was a wonderful idea until her white fur was stained with orange pollen for weeks!

Step 5 Enjoy! If you fancy getting your hands dirty and creating your own bottle garden, we’d love to see it! You can share your creations with us on Instagram by tagging @inthecountryinsta – good luck! Why not get super creative and add little model farm or exotic animals? You could even recreate a garden scene? Pinterest has some excellent bottle garden inspiration.

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