How to Make Your Home Artful with Terrariums

The New York Times recently had an online article called Terrariums Make a comeback.  A terrarium can be a great way to bring the beauty and artfulness of plants indoors with a minimum of effort and care.

Paula Hayes has taken the world of terrariums to a whole new level. Her installation

Paula Haynes at the MoMA in New York City

Nocturne of the Limax maximus at the MoMA in New York City is a beautiful example of turning plants in glass containers into high art.   In a recent blog, she asks,  “What does it mean to own an artwork that will never look the same from one month to the next? And how does an ever-changing, living sculpture tweak our preconceptions of what it means to conserve an artwork for posterity?”

Of course, we don’t have to be a world-class artist like Paula to bring this art form into our home. All it takes is a desire to have some fun and connect with our own creativity. Let your childlike imagination have full play here. You will be rewarded not only with a very pleasurable time, but with a beautiful work of art that will last for years.

Terrariums made with simple jars and plants found around the home

In many cases, you can create a beautiful work of art with plants in less than an hour. And if you use jars and plants that are already around your home, the cost could be little or nothing. 

But aside from the low-cost and the beauty of this simple art form, it’s just plain fun.  It really requires no specialized knowledge or understanding of plants or design.  And it’s a great project for the kids.

Once you place your plants in a closed  or partially closed container, they will thrive without much care.  Just make sure that you put them in a well-lit room, but try to avoid direct sunlight.

You can go from simple to complex with a terrarium. But regardless of which way you decide to go, all you really need are a few basic elements.  They are:

1. A Glass Container 

Glass containers of any shape or size, closed or open, will do here. Pickle jars, peanut butter

Larger jar makes a dynamic and beautiful statement

jars, or even soda-pop bottles will make a unique impression once they are filled with living plants.  An old aquarium that you are no longer using and is collecting dust in garage can be a perfect container if you want to go larger.

2. Small colorful stones and sand

Small colorful rocks and sand add an extra dimension of beauty to your creation. They also serve as a soil base for your plants to root and grow.  Try alternating layers of rock and soil or sand for an added multi-dimensional look.

3. Plants

Plants of all kinds can be used in a closed or open container.  You can collect small ferns and mosses that grow naturally around your home. So you don’t have to purchase anything in this category. In fact, many wild mosses and ferns are very hardy and will last much longer than the domesticated store-bought versions.  Wild violets grow naturally in many parts of the country and are perfect for a spot of color in your mix. But you don’t necessarily need flowers of any kind. Combinations of small green leafy vegetation mixed with ferns and mosses can be quite beautiful together.


About Gary Bolyer Fine Art

I am a New York City-based landscape artist.
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