Guest reviewer Kevin Tipple is back with his review of a book on terrarium gardening. Check out his blog Kevin's Corner for more book reviews and book news, as well as links to topics of interest.
Reviewed by Kevin Tipple
While any author creating a fictional story is, in a sense, “world building,” authors in the fantasy and science fiction genres refer to the term all the time and claim great credit for doing so. When one is doing it right, one is bringing a fictional world to life in a reader’s mind by way of dialogue, descriptive scenes and setting, and more. In a very physical way, you are doing the same thing when you put a terrarium together as you are most assuredly world building. You are creating an environment that--if you choose wisely-- will thrive. Choose incorrectly and you may create a dystopia for your plants or worse.
Miniature Terrariums: Tiny Glass Container Gardens Using Easy-to-Grow Plants and Inexpensive Glassware seeks to guide you in creating a beautiful and thriving world. Published by Tuttle Publishing in May 2018, the book is primarily broken into 4 chapters full of information by text and picture.
The book opens with a short introduction that explains what a terrarium is, what kind of containers or glassware is best suited for what types of plants, and how the various chapter categories for the plants are determined. Along with plenty of informative text, there are numerous pictures making it very clear what the text is covering A nice touch is the fact that many of the smaller plant pictures have handy page number citations. Also included in this section are tips as to what tools you may or may not want/need, how to basically create a terrarium, watering, the various types of ornamental gravel, and caring for the plants as the seasons change. Some of this information varies by type of plant and those differences are explored here.
Then, it is on the chapters with “Chapter 1: Wetland Plants” starting things off on page 15. Plants that fit this situation will need to be placed in a sealable container. Most of the plants that are in this section are various types of moss. Surprisingly, at least to me, moss can come in all shapes and sizes and not just as a sort of ground cover. It isn’t just moss in this section as there is also some information devoted to carnivorous plants and African Violets. The chapter winds up with some advice on the various places to gather your moss. Apparently, a rolling stone gathers no moss, so you may have to consider nonmoving rocks or areas under trees in parks and other places should you seek to be a moss gatherer.
Page 31, begins “Chapter 2: Air Plants.” These are plants that normally are usually found living in trees and thus will need to be placed in open hanging containers so that the air in your home or office moves around them. While you could create a terrarium in a vase with such plants, you could also construct hanging terrariums of various types. Ways of doing so are depicted in this section. Hanging Terrariums are not only a great space saver; they serve as a way to get plants away from pets or children that may be tempted by their presence.
“Chapter 3: Arid Zone Plants” begins on page 53 and this is where you find succulents. Such plants come in all types and this allows you to create a desert like environment or a very low water type one. As in the other chapters of a book, various types of containers are used here and there are numerous plant suggestions as well as instructions on how to create the terrarium shown. One of the neat things in this book can be found at the end of this chapter with “Practical Tip 3: Finding The Perfect Container.”
This book repeatedly stresses thinking beyond the classic terrarium style container. Terrarium light bulbs which are lightbulbs specifically designed to house plants, candle holders, beakers for a science project, and more are suggested here. This page details numerous options and possibilities beyond the usual terrarium shape.
Of course, sometimes you can combine the three types of plants into one container and mix them up. That idea drives “Chapter 4: Mixed Terrariums.” Starting on page 79, four distinctive possibilities that combine multiple plants from multiple environments are depicted. Each suggested combination has tips to be successful. Because you are putting different environments together you are going to need some skill in maintaining the world so that everything survives and thrives.
Next is followed by a couple of pages devoted to cataloging succulents by type. The same is done for air plants as well as moss and other wetland plants. Those pages are followed by a page devoted to details about the publication of the book, information about the publisher, Tuttle Publishing, and their mission statement.
Miniature Terrariums: Tiny Glass Container Gardens Using Easy-to-Grow Plants and Inexpensive Glassware is a colorful and informative book that works for both the novice as well as the experienced world builder. It serves as a repository of creative ideas as well as a spring board for your own creativity. Filled with plenty of information and pictures, Miniature Terrariums: Tiny Glass Container Gardens Using Easy-to-Grow Plants and Inexpensive Glassware is going to be a winner for those interested in creating a magical world.
Miniature Terrariums: Tiny Glass Container Gardens Using Easy-to-Grow Plants and Inexpensive Glassware
Fourwords (division of Actus Interiors)
Hardback (also available in eBook format)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2019