Tabletop Garden

In the darkest days of this past winter when it was endlessly cold and rainy I decided I needed a project to bring me out of the creeping dreary doldrums. I recalled my mother must have felt the same way at times too, because when I was a teenager we regularly had a mini-indoor garden. We were big on terrariums – my mother preferred a giant brandy snifter in which she would artfully arrange her pint-sized plants. We were into the bonsai movement for a while, too – then she would patiently clip and mold tiny trees into elegant works of art.

It took a full week to locate and gather up all the necessary elements for my planned terrarium – which, in itself was an injection of pure entertainment. In the clearance aisle at TJ Maxx a tall hand blown speckled vase caught my eye.

One rainy afternoon looking for herb candidates I stopped by Gray’s, my local nursery. Too early, I was told, and instead was ushered to their dwindling indoor plant section where I prodded and debated until I narrowed it to three: a curly grass that apparently loves moisture, a charming purple-tinged shamrock plant, and a small sturdy fern. I even found a bag of activated charcoal to keep the soil sweet.

Back at home, I rooted through my arts and crafts box and came up with a bag of colorful glass baubles that would work for drainage on the bottom – instead of pebbles. Outside in my storage locker I discovered an old bag of potting soil and set it aside, too.
By the following weekend I was ready to assemble my terrarium. In short order I had my hands deep in the soft, moist dirt and was puttering and fussing – and before I knew it, I felt my spirits shift. I hummed as I gently nestled my charges into their new digs. In no time I had created my own tiny serenity garden – pretty enough to deserve a place of honor in my kitchen.
Through those long dark winter days my terrarium became a constant source of revelation and entertainment. There were times I would move it about the house – and wherever it landed it graced the space with added life and color. Mostly though, my winter garden has stayed in the kitchen – where it shoots out brilliant flashes of green that sparkle and dance as the light shifts from drab and dull to crisp and bright.

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