Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Truth About Terrariums

So, I was flitting around the internet last night, seeking inspiration for planting my new terrarium, and I stumbled across a tutorial video made by none other than the queen of DIY, Martha Stewart.

Dressed in pristine pink and gaily chatting with a gardening gal pal about her deep and abiding love for begonias, Martha made the whole operation look painless and easy. 

That, my friends, is both her blessing and her curse. 

Because when I had confidently gathered up my supplies and settled down to compose my own little garden in glass, I found that the process tried my soul.

Okay, putting in a handful of stones for the bottom layer was pretty easy.

But even the straightforward process of pouring soil in through the tiny triangular opening at the top of my geometric globe transformed my kitchen counter into a peat bog. 

Martha's chic stainless steel potting table did not show a single speck of stray soil.

And squeezing the plants, one at a time, in through the top hatch was a bit of a ship-in-a-bottle operation. I might have cussed. I definitely pinched my hand. 

Martha smiled gaily as she guided her plants perfectly into place.

Gently settling the roots into the soil and filling in the spaces between the plants? Sheer and utter frustration.

Imagine my annoyance as I recalled watching Martha daintily slip slender tools between the plants and tamp each root ball firmly into place, all the while enthusing about her fondness for footed ferns. 

I didn't have dainty little terrarium tools. 

But I tried a chopstick. 
And a table knife. 
A paintbrush.
And then my fingers.

In the end, what worked best was to pick up the whole terrarium in both hands and shake it, first firmly and then somewhat aggressively, until all the elements yielded to my dominion.

That is definitely not the way Martha did it. 

But in the end, I have to say, I'm pretty darn pleased with how the project turned out. 

My happy little plants look adorable in their new home, and I'm glowing with that sweet sense of success that comes when I just take matters into my own hands and improvise. 

So carry on, Martha, with your inhuman and unattainable levels of perfection. You are the high priestess of the domestic arts, and we mere mortals cannot compare. 

As for me, I'm content to live here in the real world, where building a terrarium is a bit more challenging than you make it look, but oh, so much sweeter in the end. 

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