Story by Maria Colletti, author of Terrariums: Gardens Under Glass
Photo by Lori Adams Photographer, Hopewell Junction
A Story of Foraging, Creative Solitude and Inspiration
The sun rises while I sit in a cabin in the country, watching quiet resolution. What shall I do today? Shall I read, sleep, create? All sound inviting and wonderful in front of a roaring fireplace; there is something so magical in the flickering of a flame.
Crafting and creating can be relaxing when we let our imaginations float free. So I take a walk in the woods and pick up loose bark pieces, logs and pinecones. I find a few sections of moss peeking up through the leaves. I tuck them into my pocket gently. I carry fallen white pine bough branches back to the cabin and lay out my loot on a table.
I rummage for small glass globe votive holders to fill, not only with candles, but plants. I find two fishbowls in various shapes from past floral arrangements stored under the kitchen sink. Everything is out, ready to form some woodland creation to admire and hold dear.
Arranging the wood over the pine boughs with crevices and pockets upward that will fit a small votive holder, I nestle the tiny glass in the natural holders. The fishbowls are going to take a bit more ingenuity. What houseplants can I steal from the book shelves? Common green Swedish ivy? A pothos vine? Fern?
The fishbowls need cleaning with dish soap and a sponge. I wipe them dry and clear. Where is that bag of potting mix? Oh, and the gravel in the saucer under the orchid plant. I borrow and steal my terrarium ingredients from all over the home. I refuse to leave the refuge of the fire. But I know I can make this work because creating terrariums is like folding in baking ingredients.
I wash the gravel clean, drain it in a colander and pat it dry with paper towels. I pour a layer in the bottom of each fishbowl. Then I cut a circle from the dry paper towels to place on top as a divider before adding scoops of soil. I then spoon small amounts of potting soil over the paper-towel divider as a ground foundation.
I pull the ivy, fern and vine out of their pots, then clip and trim the roots with scissors to loosen the tangles. I dip each one in a bowl of water for a bit of a drink before placing them into the fishbowl. Maybe I should trim the ivy and vines some, too. I arrange and turn each plant till they cuddle up to one another like cats on a leather chair.
Fresh, moist woodland moss can carry a living beetle or two, so I poke at the section with a knife, but none shows its face. So I place the three small moss pieces in the bowl around the stems of the plants, pushing into the outer glass walls. The terrarium starts to take shape and form like a snapshot of my woodland walk. I find the small hemlock pinecones and sprinkle a few atop the live moss. And right in the center goes my brand-new terrarium! I love it! I feel brilliant and happy.
How divine is my new Woodland Terrarium & Votive Tablescape, nature-made with my own hands and what I had available. I light the votives, take photos with my cell, post, gram, Tweet! Whew…Now it’s time to nap!
For more information about Maria Colletti and her terrariums, visit www.green-terrariums.com.