Garden in a glass

Garden in a glass

The world is fast becoming a grey place. No, literally! This is not a comment on the gloom and doom that seems to be seeping into our psyche like a maleficent dementor but rather a reflection on the fast-disappearing green cover of the planet. With kitchen gardens and backyards fast becoming a luxury, innovative ways are being adopted to bring in some leafy cheer into homes.

Enter terrariums — glass containers containing soiland plants and touted as the city-dweller’s quick-fix of nature. Bengalureans are increasingly taking to this
concept, that was developed by botanist Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward in 1842.
Says Vrinda Keshav of ‘Mudfingers’, “My passion in this field grew from watching my father, Vishwanath. He is a pioneer in the field of terrariums and has almost 40 years of experience. I recently quit an IT job to take to this family business.”

About why terrariums are important in a city like Bengaluru, Vrinda says, “There
is a gap in urban gardening nowadays. While most houses had space earlier,
today we have to be content with balconies and maybe terraces, if one is lucky. So walls and railings have to be utilised to give your house a verdant feel.”

Sarita Bhutra of ‘Terrario’ agrees. “I have been in this field for almost 17 years now. Plants were my interest from my childhood, something that was nurtured by my father. I have been making terrariums for the past 3-4 years; however, I picked this up entirely through trial-and-error and experimentation.”

Sarita, who also takes workshops on terrarium-making every second Saturday, talks about how increasing environmental awareness is drawing more people
towards this art.

“A plant always completes your interiors and adds to the aesthetics. Terrariums are compact and low-maintenance and can be placed on kitchen counters, study tables, workstations and so on. A wide range of people, from doctors and students to graphic designers and homemakers attend the workshops now; it is no more restricted to people who love plants.”

A kin of the aquarium, terrariums have long been a fixture in school classrooms. But today’s designs look nothing like nothing like the fish tank structures and kitschy miniature greenhouses that were popular earlier. From wine glasses to conical shapes, unique structures are fast becoming an added attraction of these self-sustaining miniature gardens that do not require any gardening knowledge.

“There are two types of terrariums — open and closed. In Bengaluru, the open ones are preferred. The shape and size of the glass depends on what you are
willing to spend,” adds Sarita.

“It is a world by itself,” says Vrinda and goes on to explain the working of these baby greenhouses.“In the closed ones, water condenses and drops down as the day progresses, like rain. In the open ones, you need to water them infrequently, maybe once a week or so. The plants selected are slow-growing ones, ranging from rainforest varieties to succulents.


Keeping them near a window or under a warm yellow or white light provides the required light.”

These low-maintenence and nearly self-sustaining terrariums are also becoming a preferred gifting option, both among individuals as well as corporates and are fast replacing bouquets.

“People are tired of regular gifts and want to give something that is unique yet
helpful and will last for a long time. Many people are giving these for housewarming
ceremonies or as return gifts at parties,” says Vrinda.

One such proponent of these gifts is Jayanthi Ravi, a businesswoman. “Terrariums make for lovely gifts. They are most ideal for today’s
busy lifestyle and bring in a much needed dash of cheer and colour to interiors,” she says.

“The plants are hardy and look very pretty, so much so that most people who see them feel they are artificial. My friends or relatives couldn’t believe the ornamental beautiesin my house were real,” Jayanthi adds.

 Eye-candy that brings in positive energy — need one say more?

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