TERRA’ OF THE TOWN

A mixture of cute, kitsch and green wins a wide range of hearts.

A mixture of cute, kitsch and green wins a wide range of hearts.

Inner city living doesn’t leave a lot of space for grand landscape gardens, but  this is no obstacle for local botanist and terrarium expert Christopher Beavon.  I had the honor of speaking with him about these amazing ecosystems.

What is a Terrarium?

CB: A terrarium is a mini ecosystem inside a glass container. The best ones should be mostly self-sustaining, but this can take some time to get right.

How did you come to be a grower of these self-sustaining ecosystems?
CB: I made my first terrarium just out of interest. I am a plant-nerd, i.e.
botanist, by trade. So, anything green tends to pique my interest. Now I make and sell custom terrariums and run workshops.

What kind of plants can you grow in a terrarium?
CB: The best plants for enclosed terrariums are moss, ferns and certaingroundcovers or creepers. Succulents and cacti tends to like a bit more air movement, so they tend to struggle in the closed systems but are great in open top containers.

Have you always had a green thumb?

CB: Kind of. My earliest memory of any kind of gardening is following my great-grandmother, Nonna, around her award-winning vegetable patch. I would help with the weeding, but mainly the harvesting. My interest in botany really took off when I was about eighteen, and ever since I’ve always had plants growing at home; whether that be a veggie patch, herbs, flowers, cacti or terrariums.

If someone would like to learn about how to grow terrariums, where could they go?

CB: Honestly, the Internet is a great source of information and there are plenty of DIY guides out there. The hardest part is getting all the bits and pieces and using the correct method. I run workshops about once a month, everything is supplied and we go through each stage and I explain all the different layers and why they are important. You can find me on Facebook as
MossyAntlers.

What would be your advice for people wanting to grow terrariums?

CB: Make sure you follow a method that includes layers to control water movement and retention in the system. And don’t worry if your plants are struggling a little bit at first. One big thing is to find the best place for your terrarium – a bright place with relatively steady temperature and no direct sunlight. I’m happy to answer any questions on my Facebook page.

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