Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How to build a Terrarium with Expert Tovah Martin

Working as a stylist for magazines and catalogs, I get the most fantastic opportunities to work with many specialists in many fields.

Creating your very own terrarium
photo by Michael Partenio

In September 2011, I was hired to work with Garden writer, Tovah Martin, on a Better Homes and Gardens terrarium feature producing a How -to video and magazine feature. Tovah Martin is the author of The New Terrarium,  the focus of our project together.

 Creating the setting that is needed to produce a successful photo shoot contains many variables. My first task was to find the ideal location to produce the shoot and then gather all of the props that set the mood and backdrop.

I took an empty space and designed a small set to feel like a gardener's studio.  For the terrariums, Tovah and I worked closely gathering containers of all shapes and sizes. Together, and with Tovah's expert instruction, we planted miniature landscaped 'green worlds'. Two days of shooting resulted in a fun and instructional video on terrariums! 

Want to plant your own terrarium?. 


A Bit of Terrarium History 

The terrarium that we know and appreciate today was invented quite by accident in 1827 by Dr. Nathaniel Ward, a London physician. Dr. Ward had planted a fern rockery on his property, only to find his plantings weren't doing well. However, one fern that had been bottled was thriving. 

Dr. Ward concluded his Wardian case was protecting the delicate ferns from London's polluted air.
Indoor Wardian Case (from Ward's 1852)
By the 1860's, every Victorian home had a 'greenhouse' housing plants here in the United States. Today, the terrarium is still popular and in many homes today, including mine.

For more historical background, click here

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