I’ve always been a bit of a bottle garden nut. As a kid I got a huge aquarium from god know’s where (perhaps my sister can remember?) and set it up in my room as a terrarium, with plants bought with my pocket money from Woolies. It even had a grow light in the top, which my dad set up for me.
Bottle gardens (or terrariums) have been rather out of fashion since then, but I was inspired by posts on Garden Rant and the Blithewold Gardens blog to give them a second look. I made up a couple for today’s gardening feature in Weekend, which looks at three different fun things to use as pots. The terrarium that ended up being pictured (although you'll have to look in the actual magazine to see it) was a rather nice jar from Heals filled with some baby Chlorophytum ‘Ocean’ plants.
I was pleased at how it turned out, but I think I prefer the other bottle garden I made (pictured left), containing a sarracenia and a venus fly trap.
Carnivorous plants have a bit of a reputation for dying once you get them home, but bottle gardens help because it's easy to check they have enough water (they prefer to be more or less waterlogged in summer, less so in winter, so keep the gravel covered in rainwater - never use tap). The closed environment keeps out the draughts that can kill these plants, but if you want them to catch some meals you'll have to take it off from time to time, or else feed them occasionally with a very dilute foliar houseplant feed. The jar I used here was £30 from Lytton & Lily but if you like hunting things down in junk shops and charity stores you can track something down for a lot less. A good book to start with if you want to get into carnivorous plants is The Savage Garden by Peter D'Amato.
Depending on what plants you opt for, terrariums require very little maintenance. Faster growing plants like the chlorophytum will need thining every now and again, but this really is the ideal way of growing if you're short on time but want some greenery in your home. Read my piece for more info on how to plant them up: I'll write a separate post soon with some extra info on the other elements of the piece: A hanging basket made from a colander and some funky plant pots made from a tea set.