Each terrarium consists of a variety of succulents and other plants, soil and decorative miniatures.
Workshops in the city have been teaching urbanites to create miniature gardens in a bowl. Terrariums, they say, are a great solution to those who want to garden but don’t have the time or space.
With the fast-paced urban life in Mumbai, few have the time to garden. As a solution for those who want a bit of greenery in their space, nature-lovers and artistes with a green thumb are offering terrarium workshops. Terrariums are mini-ecosystems made in glass bowls or jars, which take only a minimal amount of maintenance once they are made and are becoming more and more popular as a form of urban gardening.
Each terrarium consists of a variety of succulents and other plants that need little watering, layers of soil that resembles the earth’s crust and whatever miniature décor one wishes to use. “It’s like a micro-ecosystem in a glass bowl. People usually use goldfish bowls to create the terrariums and can last you at least a couple of years and are like miniature gardens that you can place all over your apartment,” explains Sarita Bhutre, who takes regular workshops both in Mumbai and Bangalore, where she is based. “Mumbai is a compact city, with little space for gardening. So people look for alternative ways to garden and terrariums are take up the least amount of space and are still bring greenery into your home,” she adds.
Priya Kamble from Earthoholics further adds that terrariums also make for great gifts. “Buying a terrarium is a much more expensive affair than if you were to simply make your own. A basic terrarium costs around Rs 2,000 whereas making one takes about Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200. A lot of people gift terrariums because they last much longer than flowers and are a great showpiece for the house,” she explains.
Earthoholics not only hosts terrarium workshops, but also teach various other forms of indoor gardening. “Terrariums are typically made in goldfish bowls with a small opening. But they can also be made in other glass containers, so we teach people how to do that, and how to maintain the plants. Our founder, Smrita Shirodkar, who takes the workshops, also teaches them how to make fairy gardens from broken bits of pottery that are often tossed away as trash,” she explains.
While it is true that terrariums take up only a minimal amount of time to maintain once they are built, there are certain things that one must keep in mind, cautions Sarita. “You need to water them just right. You only have to water the plants once a week, but you need to be careful that you don’t over-water them, because that will cause too much humidity inside the terrarium. The first week is the most crucial. Once you get through that, it really doesn’t need much fuss,” she elaborates.
An avid gardener, who inherited her green thumb from her father, Sarita laments that the greenery in the city has to be limited to bowls and glassware. “I’m originally from Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, which is filled with trees. Though Bangalore has its share of trees, it’s not the same but there are still bungalow houses here. Mumbai, with its apartment lifestyle is the worst since some houses don’t even have space enough for a vertical garden or a fairy garden. In such situations, though terrariums come as a much-needed bit of greenery to brighten up the home,” she sighs.