Country Gardens apprentice, Bailey McGrath, provides a guest post:
My adventure as an editorial apprentice for Meredith Corporation Special Interest Media began just over a month ago. With a working background in plant pathology, I am excited to continue to work with the beauty of nature, while fulfilling my true passion of writing. I have the privilege of going to school at Iowa State University full-time and coming down to Des Moines three days a week to learn from an incredible group of people.
As a new member of the gardens team, I have already learned so much about the gardening world. As a true test of my green thumb, I was given my first hands-on gardening project. I got to bring a tropical feel to my desk with the biOrbAIR terrarium.
I started by going to our local Earl May Nursery and Garden Center and searching for some tropical plants with our assistant editor, Risa Quade. There are slim pickings this time of year, but we managed to walk out with a few pretty plants, including goldfish plant, which bring orange blooms in the shape of goldfish.
When I got back to the office, it was time to put the biObAIR together. It was a pretty simple process. The kit comes with its own compost and special formulated water for the misting system. All I had to supply were plants and decorative rocks, which were easy to pick with the help of the planting guide.
The total process took me around two hours. I made quite the mess—spilling water and compost all over my cubicle—but I enjoyed every minute of it.
After assembling the base, scooping in compost, arranging tiny tropical plants, and filling the misting reservoir, the time finally came to plug the miniature rainforest in. The LED lights kicked on, and the mist began to swirl down upon the plants. It was kind of mesmerizing. I wasn’t the only one fascinated by the rainforest-in-a-bubble. It has been quite a hit around the office.
The biObAIR goes through a 24-hour cycle, simulating a sunrise, 12 hours of daylight followed by dusk and 11 hours of night. It’s a perfect way to host a taste of summer throughout winter and allows tropical plant species to thrive. It runs at $599.99 and can be purchased via the biOrb website: http://biorb-store.com.
With little maintenance, the terrarium should bring me warmth during the freezing winter season.
The following is a guest blog post from Katie McCoy Dubow.
The winter blues affects us all differently, but surrounding yourself with fresh, colorful plants all winter is sure to be the cure for what ails you.
With color, texture, drama and a touch of whimsy, indoor plants instantly liven up any room with their individual personalities and will help you beat the winter blues this year. Whether it’s a terrarium full of succulents or the bold colors of an amaryllis, there is an indoor garden that will fit your style, mood and taste.
Besides what they give back in aesthetics, one of the greatest things indoor plants do is provide much needed humidity in the winter months and freshen the air year round.
Here are four, easy indoor garden styles to brighten up your home this winter:
Craft a mini garden with maximum impact.
Terrariums are a popular garden style because they require little maintenance to flourish, yet have an endlessly elegant look. The key to success is choosing the right plants. A great variety to start with is Golden Club Moss because it thrives in a low light, high moisture environment. Other great starter plants include water-retaining, light-loving succulents and cacti. They’re virtually indestructible and come in many colors, shapes and varieties.
Create inner peace.
Creating this indoor garden will help calm and relax your mind. Every aspect of a Zen garden — its nature, construction and upkeep — is designed for contemplation and reflection. Rocks and sand make up the basic elements, but beyond that it’s up to you. NativeCast’s dish containers work perfectly as a base for your Zen garden because of their size and shape. Have fun with it and think of it as an ever changing work of art.
Make your room come alive.
Greenery is growing in surprising places. Just look up and around. Now you can get your nature fix inside with your very own living walls or vertical gardens. If you have the time and resources, or want a visually dramatic look for a room, living walls are the ticket.
Garden expert at Costa Farms, Justin Hancock, says that living green walls are a great way to maximize the benefits of houseplants by purifying the air and beautifying spaces. Try hanging one in the kitchen planted with herbs for fresh kitchen flavors all year long.
Pop a color that will last all winter.
Growing bulbs indoors in the winter lets you enjoy the colors and fragrance of spring even though it’s still months away. But now’s the time to get started.
First, choose your bulbs. Amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus from Longfield Gardens are perfect for indoor gardening because they don’t require any chill time. I like to plant bulbs every week in the winter, so I can have blooming flowers all winter long. Paperwhites will bloom in four to six weeks, amaryllis in six to eight.
Katie McCoy Dubow is creative officer at Garden Media, a PR firm specializing in the horticulture industry.
Better Gardener, Gardening, Plants | Tags:
Amaryllis, Garden Media Group, indoor gardening, Indoor Plants, Katie McCoy Dubow, Longfield Gardens, NativeCast, paperwhites, succulent wall frame, succulents, terrarium, vertical gardening
Cloche’s have been a mystery to me most of my life; it was a mystery that was half terrarium and half cake cover. When I was a little girl I remember my grandmother having a few bell shaped glass covers she would set out in the garden, but I never knew their proper use until I became a gardener myself. The word “cloche” is French and means “bell”. Garden cloches are used for a number of reasons; from building a terrarium-like container to starting plants to protecting plants from pests to using it as a decorative element in the home or garden. Above you see my little petunia amongst my seashells getting some extra protection from a hungry rabbit with a cloche.
How To Grow A Begonia Bulb With a Cloche Cover
1. Plant the bulb in the soil with its rounded side down and hollow side up, covering with one inch of soil. Here (to the right) you see the plant has already started and is displaying a pale pink stem. This particular variety is Begonia ‘Golden Balcony’ although I’m calling him Brad the Begonia, because every begonia needs a name, right?
2. Water well and then cover with the cloche or terrarium until you begin to see stronger leaf growth.
3. Wipe the inside of the cloche if moisture develops on the glass, lifting the cloche if moisture becomes too heavy and causes the plant to rot.
4. When plant is ready to transplant, remove from under the glass and transplant.
When using a cloche, the most important concern is moisture. If not watched carefully it can form a high humidity environment where there will be too much moisture inside the bell. If this is the case, simply prop the lid up on one side so air can circulate. Additionally, a cloche can protect against a pest invasion, but if you leave seedlings under a cloche too long without water, it can also become an inhospitable environment for the seedlings. Watch your cloche projects carefully and the cloche becomes a fantastic garden tool to help you grow.
Cloche’s can be used to extend the growing season and protect young plants from frost. Seed starting using a cloche is a great way to protect the in-ground seedlings from being eaten by pests or stepped on by your pet. While cloche’s can be quite decorative and expensive, they typically range in size and price from the low to the high. Cloche’s can be found at your local independent garden center, online, and of course you can make your own cloche by cutting the top off of a clear 2 Liter bottle and turning it upside down.
Happily, my experiment worked. In the photo above you see Brad the Begonia sitting on my desk early in the season growing like the little champ he is. In the bottom photo you see him as he looks today – all handsome and ready for the garden bed.
According the FTC, I need to let you know that I received several products in this story at no cost in exchange for reviewing them.
Garden Obsession, Gardening, Products | Tags:
begonia, brad, Bulb, cloche, garden, Gardening, grow, growing, humidity, product, review, seashell, Shawna Coronado, terrarium, water
If you’re ready for spring to arrive, but the weather isn’t quite cooperating, why not plan and plant an indoor garden project? During a photo shoot last week for an upcoming book on indoor gardening, I completed several projects featuring bromeliads and a couple involving converted indoor fountains. Use your imagination to come up with unique containers for terrariums and dish gardens. The results will enliven your indoor living spaces and help bridge the time until you can dig in the garden outdoors.
The Tropical Plant Industry Expo is the place to go to see what’s hot in indoor gardening. The fact that it’s held in southern Florida in mid-January, is another incentive to attend! Trends that I saw this year include a resurgence in the popularity of terrariums and dish gardens. But these aren’t simply a return to mass-produced fad gardens from the 1970s. Modern mini-landscapes have more style and individuality. Often they’re displayed in unique containers or feature sculptural plants. The emphasis is on tough, easy-care plants such as succulents and bromeliads. Here are some examples that I saw at this year’s Expo.