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Greenhouse on the go? These mini terrariums are a delight to any home

We spoke to Forest Floor Terrarium about the beauty of working with greenery, plant care and more

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By Alyxandra Carolus | January 19, 2023 | Gardens

Have you considered taking up some hobbies in the new year? Getting into the world of gardening is something that really can add so much to your life. And there are so many avenues you can explore, from learning about our immense plant kingdom to attempting to grow your own vegetable garden. There is something to be said when you see a plant flourish under your care, especially if it’s a niche plant. We’ve seen terrariums all over our social media feeds and these tiny eco-systems seem daunting, but they’re a great way to hone your gardening skills.

This month, we spoke to Gauteng-based business Forest Floor Terrarium about their work, how to cultivate this hobby and why sustainability is at the core of their practice.

Can you share a little bit about yourself, your background and how you got started working with plants and this medium?

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a fascination with plants and nature. My grandparents were farmers, my mother spent every weekend in the garden and my childhood was spent trying to be the little helper even though I would mostly end the day covered in dirt. As a child, curiosity was my main form of entertainment and I often noticed plants and mosses growing in peculiar places. I wanted nothing more than to be a part of this growth and to play my own role in growing these plants. With the generational knowledge I had at my fingertips, I did have a lot of guidance into plant care and this also opened up space for me to experiment so I could find my own voice and truly express all that I had noticed in my exposure to nature. Terrariums are where I ended up, these vessels that use the laws of nature to create their own eco-systems still fascinate me to no end.

How would you describe a terrarium and what does the process look like?

A terrarium is a closed vessel that houses plants and mosses. The closed system allows for a water cycle to be sustained through transpiration, evaporation and condensation. Terrariums are most useful for small plants that require a humid environment and would otherwise have troubles adapting to home environments.

Described as where botany meets art, have you seen an uptick in interest from people wanting to know more about plant care?

I have seen a huge spike in interest with regards to owning plants and all the ways in which we care for them. I think that terrariums are a low maintenance way to look after plants, and that can be a feasible solution for many people who are just starting their plant journey or looking to experiment with plants

One of your core principles focuses on sustainability - what is the Recycle Me project all about?

One thing I will do is hold on to any glass jar/bottle that comes my way. There is a cupboard in my house dedicated to such. When I first started experimenting with terrariums, these jars and bottles were the perfect vessels as new glassware can be a bit costly. I love the idea of giving something, that would otherwise be thrown away, a purpose. When I went to social media about this concept, I realised that I was not alone in holding onto old glass jars/bottles. I felt that using what you (and others) already have would only make terrariums more accessible. It was then that I realised I could either teach people to upcycle old bottles into terrariums, or do it for them at a discounted rate.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to pursue niche plant care?

Experiment as much as possible and accept failure as progress. Plants are a part of a larger environment and the more you notice their relationship with that environment the better you will be able to give the plant what it needs in order to grow. Research the origins of the specific type of plant you are working with and try to recreate that environment.

How can people support you and your work?

I think a good way to support any artist is to engage with their work, take inspiration, share that inspiration with those around you and if you feel inclined, buy a terrarium to add to your plant collection.