10.01.2010

TERRARIUM


Careful readers will recall that my phone pole was pulled down recently, taking with it a tree, some fencing, and power, phone, cable and Internet. Well, the truck happened to be on the way to my neighbors' house; they were horrified by the turn of events. And the next day, they arrived bearing a gorgeous terrarium, similar to one I had recently ogled at their house. It was a lovely gesture, and I kept saying, Oh, you shouldn't have, but what I was really thinking was, Oh, I'm so very lucky that my phone pole came crashing down! Truly the best kind of gift is an unexpected one. The terrarium came from Winston Flowers, which has been in business since 1944 and has a gracious, old-fashioned elegance about it.

Terraria are very easy to create. I used to make them in high school, and still think of them as sort of a signature of the seventies, along with macrame. (Is that far behind?) If you become obsessed with them you'll be joining a world of terrarium nuts, like my friend Grace Bonney, who runs Design*Sponge. One of my favorite gardeners, and a colleague from House and Garden, has a beautiful blog called What Were The Skies Like, and he posts, from time to time, on what's happening under the lid of his glass jar. The thing about a terrarium is that it eventually takes on a life of its own--it, too, will yield unexpected gifts.

15 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I have always felt a bit like Gulliver when I peer into one of these tiny, perfect worlds.

david terry said...

Oh... Ms. Browning.....

As a very constant rule over the years?... I've admired your writing, sense of "style", tastes, etcetera, BUT?.....

I've just learned from your post that you once began with and have maintained some sort of completely under-informed (and, quite franky, parochial) distinction between the arts of Macrame and terrariums.

I have no idea what you were doing during the seventies....but, when I was busy pubescing in East Tennessee during the Carter adminstration, I spent a lot of Saturdays sitting around with my cousin Hope... listening to the Carpenters (or Carole King) and making terrariums (we lived in the mountains and could steal ferns from the neighboring national forest in a flash)inside Walgreen's fishbowls, which we then suspended in macrame "plant holders" of our own design, Thank you.

For better or worse, we're not related...but, if we were?....you would have gotten one of those things as your Christmas present back in 1978 or so.....

In any case, the arts of macrame and terrarium-making are NOT unrelated. Please apologize (publicly & immediately) for this truly grotesque, underinformed, and genuinely upsetting implication you have published on the worldwide web and internet.


yours with Deeply Hurt Feelings,

David Terry
www.davidterryart.com

P.S. Perhaps I should emphasize that I'm JOKING? One thing I CAN tell you is that I recently came across a photograph of my poor father...taken on christmas morning in 1976 or so. He's gamefully sporting the macrame belt I'd made for him....and I'd made one for everyone in my family. I saw that photograph and wondered how/why they ever put up with me back then.....

Anonymous said...

Given the current resurgence of the desert boot (!), macrame is indeed due for a revival.

Sally@DivineDistractions said...

I was in college in the early 70's and there wasn't a dorm room around without a terrarium. They were easy to grow and didn't take up much space. You've inspired me to make one for my coffee table. It will be in the perfect place for me to enjoy and be so ever grateful that I won't kill it!
Thanks for the memory.

Karena said...

I remember making wonderful terraria and also macrameing (?)a window shade for my kitchen!!

A truly beautiful gift Dominique!

Karena
Art by Karena

SweetRetreat said...

My macrame sampler still hangs on a cottage wall. Looks like something from another age.

I had forgotten how lovely terrariums look. Thanks for the memories.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I love the look of terrariums--like a little magical forest. Our local boy done good, P.Allen Smith, has some wonderful tutorials on his website for making a terrarium. I am also intriqued by antique aquariums (not the electric kind) with lovely little windmills, openings for fish to swim through, sandcastles and treasure chests.
V.

mary said...

The orchid looks very happy sitting with her shorter friends. Great photo.

EllenD said...

A very beautifully-done photo. Thanks for sharing your gift.

Reggie Darling said...

I have not considered putting together a terrarium since I was a boy. And now I shall, thanks to the divine Ms. Browning. Thank you.

kenju said...

Thanks for the link to Winston Flowers; their slide shows are fabulous!

david terry said...

Dear Mister "Reggie Darling"...

What's with this business of the "Divine Ms. Browning"?

I've always thought(assumed,for that matter)of D. Browning as an extremely practical and no-nonsense woman. "The Divine Miss 'B'".....? What?

I've always considered her to be a sort of a late-90's, fortunate and happy cross between GertrudeJekyll-meets-MurielSpark via some hybridization of MarthaStewart&Wm.Randolph Hearst....with a winsome bit of Beatrice Potter and a heavy dose of "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" thrown in.

All of that would be a compliment, of course.

In any case, I've just gathered that I'm not the ONLY Episcopalian homosexualist who's made a recent point of trolling Ms. Browning's cyber-waters.

Interestedly yours (if already "taken")

David Terry
www.whystartablogofoyourownwhenyoucanwriteanysortofstuffonotherfolks'blogs?.org

P.S. I do think Browning is fantastic and always-interesting writer. I gather that you do, also.

yoga teacher said...

I'm so sorry I missed the terrarium craze of the 70's since I really like them. I do remember checking out a book from the Southwest Texas State U library 4 days before Mother's Day and frantically making mine a hanging macrame plant holder. Now I know it wasn't really her style, but it hung on her porch for years -- guess the "gift" was to me:)

Cristina said...

Gorgeous!!
even if I'm always afraid that so many different varieties all together, can't go on forever "living peacefully with one another".
what with one being more thirsty, the other wanting less light, an other more air, etc: it would be a pity to be forced to witness their slow perishing.

Anonymous said...

Inspiration!
Today is 10/13 and I have finished creating terrariums from my outdoor succulants using various glass and acrylic containers. Not only hens and chick but plants that I discovered are not going to be snow tolerant here in the middle of NY state.
They look magical and so thanks again for your inspiring blog/magazine.
fxfairy@frontier.com