It’s been a while since we thought of terrariums as something other than a third grade science project. But at the Brooklyn Flea the other week, Tanesha Smith-Wattley reminded us of how cool it is to pot plants in glass. The stylist for Bluefly began exploring her inner horticulturalist this summer, while planning her wedding at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Japanese Garden. She searched for centerpieces that looked “authentic and organic” to her, until she realized she could design her own. Using a how-to video on Design*Sponge as a starting point, and her fashion background as her guide, she mixed flowers, succulents and hardy plants like ivy to create open air terrariums focused more on beauty than the laws of botany. Now she’s creating terrariums for other people’s events (in fact, she’ll be at Brooklyn Based’s wedding fair in January!) and selling them intermittently at the Brooklyn Flea. You find her small terrariums for $20-$30, and larger ones for $50-$70, this Saturday in Fort Greene. She can also be contacted directly.
Her prices are pretty hard to beat, unless you’re motivated to make your own. This guide from Sprout Home (who also did the video) is a great primer and shopping list for an open terrarium–best for arid plants like succulents–or a closed one, where plants like ferns thrive in the humid environment. The Williamsburg garden store sells everything you need to create either one (they’ll even pot it for roughly $15), but you can also piece together the ingredients at other local garden supply stores like Clinton Hill’s Root, Stock and Quade, which has small ferns, succulents, orchid chips, and misters, or the Chelsea Garden Center in Red Hook, which sells vermiculite and charcoal.
Finding the containers themselves requires more legwork. Smith-Wattley finds hers everywhere from the flower district to TJ Maxx to Target. On the higher end of the spectrum, Sprout sells recycled glass terrariums like the one above that range between $100-$200. And if money is no object, Noel Rose can have one custom built in the price range of $200 and up.
The musician and owner of the biological installation company Anchor Aquarium Service grew up making terrariums for his eight-legged pets. “My friend and I became very competitive about who would have the lushest, coolest spider tank, and it just grew from there,” he says. He then minored in biology, worked at the National Zoo in Tennessee, and now regularly designs custom terrariums and aquariums, and even a combination of the two called a paludarium for private clients, schools and artists. Together with artist Andrea Blum, for instance, he built terrariums into her furniture. (Answering phones all day wouldn’t be so bad at this receptionist’s desk!) Soon, he’s planning on teaching others his terrarium tips via classes. RSVP if you’re interested.
—————BB Partner Link—————
Hey artists and crafters! The 3rd Ward is looking for vendors for their Holiday Craft Fair on December 12. Apply here!
Sent by Nicole. Top two photos courtesy of Tanesha Smith-Wattley, following from Sprout Home and Noel Rose.