Monday, August 31, 2015

A trip to Terrain

A trip to Terrain is always a treat, though I rarely buy anything. If I do, it's usually a gift. But guess what. They have great workshops. I attended one last night on terrariums, which is the most popular topic they offer.

A trip to Terrain

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A trip to Terrain is always a treat, though I rarely buy anything. If I do, it's usually a gift. But guess what. They have great workshops. I attended one last night on terrariums, which is the most popular topic they offer.

Last night's was the 50th terrarium workshop since Terrain opened in April of 2008. They go all year long, with the most heavily attended, naturally, falling in spring, autumn and winter. But assistant manager Diane Maguire does make summer terrariums, open ones using sand rather than soil. And lots of succulents.

The "gardens under glass" put together last night were pretty interesting. Students used one to five plants, opting for succulents and miniature palms, a lot of ferns and in one case, a small plant with tiny lavender blooms that looked like a mini-rose. Many of the plants suitable for use in a terrarium bore no names.

Diane brought accents to be added at the end: tiny pinecones, branches, stones, pebbles, gravel, moss. And she assured everyone that 99 percent of the time, the workshop terrariums are beautiful. You can just hear the 1 percent jokes. There were plenty.

The terrarium in this photo, one of Terrain's, is a variation on the old Wardian cases that were used to transport orchids and other tropicals to Europe or America in the 1800s. These enclosed systems protected the plants from temperature changes and kept moisture in so they didn't arrived dried out and useless. "It's its own little environment in there," Diane says.

Inquirer Staff Writer
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About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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