The deep and mossy forests Linda Barnett frequented while in California, Oregon, and Washington state eventually led to her starting Exceptional Terrarium. With a background in the plant industry and part owner of a plant store, Barnett realized that others might enjoy terrariums as much as she. With no formal education other than community college courses, she learned the plant trade through perseverance and genuine passion. I realized I was meant to do this work because it came so naturally to me, to nurture and see plants in an optimal setting. Plants in interior surroundings bring people great ambiance and improved health.
Building terrariums is like layering lasagna. Barnett starts with drainage pebbles, dried sphagnum moss, special soil, and a layer of charcoal. In go the plants and stones. Using a variety of color and texture, she loves the fern, but other favorite plants Barnett uses are peperomia, selaginella, parlor palm, and helix for color. She grows about 1/3 of the plants used and all of the moss, but Barnett relies on Florida growers for the rest. When building the terrariums, she uses a vast array of tools but chop sticks inserted into wine corks, large and small spoons, small painters brush, surgeons clamps, and hemostats are her favorite.
Keeping a terrarium is not difficult; however, you must have a good source of light. If you have light enough to read and write by you probably have enough photosynthesis. Bright light is preferable, but never in a beam of direct sunlight as it will heat the interior of the terrarium to the point of cooking the plants. Since the terrarium is a closed ecosystem, it retains moisture to the degree that adding additional water is at a minimal. Usually, moss needs to be watered every two months while the rest of the plants about every six months or so. You will also need to prune the plants in order to keep them the proper size for the container.
With her business growing, the greatest gift for Barnett is witnessing the pleasure it gives her clients and people in general. People become very attached to their plant, says Barnett, just like a pet, and as more and more people come to realize the beauty and ease of maintaining a terrarium, the greater the benefit for mankind.
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