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My Terrarium Building Story

Recently I had the opportunity to build my own terrarium along with my other colleagues. If i had somehow lured you in here with my nice terrarium cover shot, its more because I have a good DSLR than did a good terrarium. First before I go into any specifics, I must share a personal characteristic about myself. I don’t consider myself in any way a hands-on person, I am just bad at stuff like hammering a nail or changing a light bulb, my friends would agree with me. So with that clarified, I will now share my very own terrarium building experience.

The terrarium world can be quite intense if you are thrown into it. So what happened was we were given a brief introduction of plants and terrariums, just the essentials so that we have the knowledge of how to build a terrarium and how to keep the plant alive. I must say while it was informational, the content was delivered well, making me develop a temporal interest in plants, like why are leaves typically green? Well now I know, and if you want to know the answer you can always sign up for a terrarium class with us.

Next, we moved on to actually building the foundation of our terrarium. As we were taught 5minutes ago, we placed a layer of small rocks to provide drainage for the water to collect below. Then we put a layer of dried moss on top of the rocks. This layer is to give the soil that will be placed soon after a solid platform to rest on. This part is easy – just dumping the right amount of rocks and moss into the jar.

After the two layers, we have to put the roots somewhere, so we threw in the soil. And it is from here on you start to get your hands dirty. We had to uproot the succulent from its potted environment and root it into the terrarium we just built. So what happens here is you are supposed to squeeze the plant and the soil out of the pot. Once that is done, you have to brush off most of the soil on the roots. While doing so, I felt like I was killing the plant. The roots are so fine it was really hard to identify and I may have ended up plucking more than just a few. At the end of the whole process, I was relieved to still see some hair-like structure sticking out from the plant; there was hope yet for my terrarium plant.

Continuing, I dug a hole in the soil and buried its roots into the soil. Probably due to my plant’s long stem, it was a tad difficult to ensure it was rooted, or maybe it was just me. Brushing the issue aside, I scattered the colourful rocks inside to decorate the terrarium, though it was hard to colour the area under the leaves. This lack of room to manoeuvre turns out to be an even bigger problem when I was trying to fit in my figurines. I barely had any space for my 3 cute figurines. Soon I came to the realization that my plant leave was arranged facing outwards instead of upwards, thus occupying a lot of my jar space. And as I was delicately adjusting the figurine and pouring more colour into my jar, one leaf from off from the stem. While I gained a lot of space to do my decorating, my plant lost its symmetrical appearance and it looked hideous. But still I was actually happy the leaf broke off, I could finally do the things I wanted to do. Some things you just got to cut out. Life lesson- period.

Ultimately, it was a good first try, the overall product was passable. Getting the time to talk with my colleagues over the process made the experience fun. We even shared with each other the inspirations behind our terrarium, what made our terrarium unique to us. While I am sure next time I can do a way better job, this team building session had served its purpose well.