Spring Is Here! At Least Indoors...

As a Canadian, and more specifically a Calgarian, I am anxiously awaiting the promise of Spring. I was at the Home and Garden show over the past weekend and happily noted the increasing popularity of container gardens.

I have especially enjoyed the life and greenery that terrariums provide to home spaces. It seems like many others also like this "mini -garden" feature that initially became popular in the Victorian era.

As I look around my yard and I see little indications of bright green perennials trying desperately to poke through frozen ground, I start thinking about planting and gardening. Certainly after being at the Home and Garden Show, it's easy to be inspired to want to put the snow shovel down, and exchange it for a trowel.

In Calgary if you have a garden, you know that rule of "green-thumb", (sorry), that states "wait until after May long-weekend to plant anything."

This is due to our common frosts that can occur overnight, until the end of May.

As temperatures eventually warm up, and consistently creep higher, I tend to get impatient waiting on the gardening season.

My solution: A terrarium.

It's a fun solution to the waiting game, and fills my need to get my hands into the soil. We can always introduce a little bit of green into our lives indoors before we exit the winter hibernation stage.

Maybe it's because I can remember as a kid, terrariums were quite popular in the 70s and 80s. But I think there is something so refreshing about a little piece of paradise that seems untouched by the typical stressors that fill my day. It's somewhat peaceful and relaxing. Some of the garden centers that I have visited call them fairy gardens and can get quite elaborate with fairy sized furniture and props. Hey, if that's how you envision your happy place, then I say "go for it".

I have noticed these little micro-climates making a come-back steadily over the past 2 years. You can often see them in various displays in home décor magazines and show homes.

There are all types of variations using glass vases, antique bell jars, sand with cacti, and ceramic bowls.

Several nurseries and greenhouses in the local area are either offering workshops on how to build terrariums, or have staff that can consult on this easy project.

Blue Grass nursery is one of those companies that I saw at the Home and Garden Show. They even had on-site workshops at the trade show.

One thing that is great about this concept is that you can customize for you individual space and use almost any container. It doesn't have to be a massive project or take up a huge amount of space.


This is the type of project that appeals to a wide demographic because the possibilities are really endless. Kids will love getting involved in the planning and creation if they are creating a fairy garden. Or perhaps creating a mini Endor where any Ewok would be proud to call home.

All you have to really watch is that you have the appropriate drainage and nutrition for the particular plants you choose. I highly recommend getting advice on your specific project. If you decided to choose cacti for example, you're not going to plant it in extremely moist soil. On the other extreme, you could even have a small table top water garden complete with live fish.

I would certainly get advice on which plants to use based on sun exposure and how involved you want to be in aftercare.

Happy planting!

See below links for how to's and Greenhouse workshops.