Terrarium Making Lesson

copyright Kindra Clineff from The New Terrarium

Okay, here comes the pep talk: You can do this. Your kid can do this. Your grandmother can do this. Your hamster probably can’t.

Why do this? Because this terrarium will rescue your life. You will find peace. The world will be a better place. Nature will seep into all the little nooks and crannies of your existence. Your family will thank you (but I make no promises about the kids ceasing to whine). Creativity will reign. Winter will be bearable. All this from a terrarium.

What do you need to make a terrarium? Just:

  • A glass container (okay, you can use plastic, but it won’t sparkle). Preferably find a container that you can fit your hand into.
  • Terrarium plants
  • 3/8 inch pebbles
  • Horticultural charcoal (acquire at a garden center or aquarium supply store)
  • Potting soil mix (light African violet mix works — I use an organic mix)
  • Watering can
  • Nature objects like seed pods, lichen-covered sticks, seashells, whatever grooves you
  • Gloves (Always wear gloves. Don’t argue with me)

Ready? Here’s how to do it:

  • Put on the gloves
  • Mix some water into the potting soil before you start
  • Pour (or scoop) 1-2 inches of pebbles into the bottom of the glass container
  • Add a small handful of horticultural charcoal
  • Mix it together with the pebbles
  • Add a separate layer of 2-3 inches of soil
  • Dig a hole in the soil to receive your first plant
  • Tuck that baby into the hole, firming it in. Really firm it in. Firm it in again.
  • Repeat for other plants
  • Add the nature objects
  • Water the terrarium lightly
  • Put the lid on
  • See, I told you = Peace
Posted in Making Terrariums | 4 Comments

Terrarium Workshops & Lectures

Talk about fulfilling. Everyone succeeds at a terrarium workshop. This is a rewarding make-and-take where you bring home your own small world. Or come to a lecture and see a terrarium-making demonstration so you can do the dirty work at home.

Tovah does terrarium lectures and workshops throughout the country. Here’s where you can find and join her in the upcoming months:

  • March 5, 2011: CT Daylily Society ~ Avon, CT ~ Terrarium workshop, email tvcotter@comcast.net for more information.
  • March 12, 2011: Northeast Floral Expo ~ Sturbridge, MA ~ Terrarium workshop, go to www.northeastfloralexpo.com for more information.
  • March 19, 2011: Boston Flower & Garden Show ~ Boston, MA ~ Terrarium lecture ~ go to www.thebostonflowershow.com for more information
  • March 22, 2011: Middlebury Garden Club ~ Middlebury, CT ~ Terrarium workshop.
  • March 27, 2011: Lori Warner Studio ~ Chester, CT ~ Terrarium workshop ~ got to www.loriwarner.com for more information.
  • April 8, 2011: Des Moines Botanical Garden ~ Des Moines, IA ~ Terrarium workshop
  • May 22, 2011: Broken Arrow Nursery ~ Hamden, CT ~ Terrarium workshop ~ go to www.brokenarrownursery.com for more information.
  • Sept 17, 2011: Spruce Home and Garden ~ New Milford, CT ~ Terrarium demonstration ~ go to www.sprucehomeandgarden.com for more information.
  • October 2, 2011: Linden Hill Gardens ~ Ottsville, PA ~ Terrarium workshop ~ go to www.lindehillgardens.com for more information.
  • February 6, 2012: Suffield Garden Club ~ Suffield, CT ~ Terrarium lecture and demonstration.

In addition to terrarium workshops and lectures, Tovah is lecturing on many other subjects. For a complete list of upcoming lectures or to contact Tovah, please go to www.tovahmartin.com

Posted in Where I'm At | 2 Comments


Trust me, what you need is a terrarium. You might think that you need a vacation or a drink or a fast car. But really, all you need is a terrarium. Not only will a terrarium give your creativity a sparkling outlet, but it will bring you peace. Beyond enabling you to grow plants and profile nature where you could never host horticulture before, a terrarium is fully capable of soaking up the frustrations in your world. Don’t believe me? Try one.

How do I know so much about terrariums? I make them all the time. Seriously, my house is filled with terrariums. I have experience in this venue and plenty of it. I started making terrariums as a child and it became an obsession when I started growing houseplants bigtime. At any given moment, my home is filled with 20+ terrariums. I wrote the first terrarium book out there on the subject — The New Terrarium (Clarkson Potter, 2009) — and I give lectures and terrarium workshops throughout the country. I speak to groups ranging from garden clubs and school classrooms to seniors (check out my schedule for a talk or workshop near you on the most recent “Where I’m At” post). I see myself as a missionary of the gardening kind. Want to talk about a lecture or workshop? You can reach me at tovah@tovahmartin.com.

This blog is a spin off from www.plantswise.com. You wanted to hear more about terrariums. You begged for a forum to talk about gardening within glass. So here comes www.terrariumwise.com. Case closed.

photography copyrighted by Kindra Clineff

Posted in Greeting, Welcome | 2 Comments