Terrarium Making & Things to do with Kids During Feb. Vacation

Getting Started with Terrarium Making

It’s February vacation and my favorite thing about that fact, is that I work, and I really love trying to get everything I normally get done – but instead of running around like a normal working mom-woman with her hair on fire –  I now do it with with 2 kids in tow. It’s so much easier than before. (please note my straight-out sarcasm).
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I love having some extra time to do special things with them, but I really struggle when their extra time doesn’t line up with mine. (which is often, with the countless school half days, days off and breaks that seem to happen like every five minutes).

Terrarium Making (Meredith's Plants)

So to stave off the guilt of being massively-grumpy-stressed-out-mommy and the inevitable TV and Wii marathons, I am trying to do things that might (at least a little bit) be able to have multiple applications and be fun for everyone.  Our first attempt was terrarium making. I figure fun kid time, fun blog post, cool spring decorations. Everyone wins? I think it worked for a few reasons:

1) The supply buying was strung together with other errand running, making them complain a little less given that I had project buying interspersed between more “boring” stops.
2) It made them go outside for a while — in search of moss and other little things.
3) It also made them dig to the very bottom of their toy boxes to fish out the little figures that are otherwise useless in their toy arsenal. (BTW- they re-discovered a few play things along the way)
4) And I got do something that I love with them — and hopefully I’m instilling a love of gardens, plants, little projects and seasonal joys in them.

terrarium making

I’m not going to bore you with the details of making a terrarium….there are about 1,670,000 results for that on google (yes, I just checked) but I am going to give you are ‘few been there done that’ tips from our first attempt at making terrariums.

1) The plants need to be smaller than you think — 3″ pots are enormous in this world.
2) Be careful to not make your rock, charcoal and potting soil layers too thick. You will have to fish it all back out…making a mess. Space is at a premium, so keep these layers thinner than you might instinctively think.  Shoot for all those layers to take up no more than the bottom 1/3 of your container.
3) Any plant over 8 inches tall is probably going to give you trouble in most containers. Tiny bamboo isn’t actually that tiny inside a terrarium. As I said in point # 1 — go small, small, small.
4) Don’t forget, you can split little plants too. One pot (even a 3-incher) can potentially be 3  even smaller plants.
5) Think about mixing the succulents (which tend to like dry) with the other houseplant varieties that tend to like humid. We did and the jury is out….I think that our succulents might not be happy. We will see and we’ll let you know how they progress (so far they are in a pretty over-watered flaccid state and don’t look like they are going to recover soon).
6) If you are taking pictures of your mini-garden, give it time to grow together (like all gardens — particularly show gardens) they will look alot better once the plants have a couple hours to settle in and recover from all the planting drama.

BTW – that is my explanation for a dearth of final pictures — the sun went down and things were still recovering — I will add to the gallery tomorrow.

Lyle - checking out the new snacks

** Terrariums are great for people with plant eating cats….the plants are safely ensconced and will not end up in a barf pile in your favorite shoes!

I hope you enjoy the whole adventure in the gallery.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.

1 Comment

  1. Michele Pappas on February 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I love terrariums! Can’t wait to see how they do:):)

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