Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Kristine Kennedy

A graduate of the University of Southern California, Kennedy began her career as a hard news newspaper reporter, covering events such as the LA riots and California’s wildfires. After a few years she discovered she could combine her hidden interior design talents with journalism. In addition to her work for Better Homes and Gardens, Kennedy co-wrote New York Times bestseller “Trading Spaces: Behind the Scenes” and has written for publications such as Traditional Home, Decorating, Quick & Easy Decorating, Window & Wall Ideas, Bedroom & Bath Ideas and Do It Yourself. A native of Portland, Oregon, Kennedy recently moved from New York’s Hudson Valley to suburban Boston with her husband, two children, Great Dane, two cats, sewing machine, pile of paint decks and about 340 linear feet of books.

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  • Photo Credit: Kristine Kennedy
  • The Easter Bunny gets burned out delivering those big, candy-laden baskets. The candy is heavy. It's too much sugar for the kids. So this year The Bunny decided to give out small baskets accompanied by all the supplies a kid would need to make a DIY terrarium. For that, he needed my help. But I've never made a terrarium before..
  • Photo Credit: Kristine Kennedy
    To make something that looks decent and won't die, I needed help. So I turned to Wayfair's Kate Karam, who happens to be a Master Gardener. According to Kate, terrariums are simply a collection of plants grown together in a clear container, such as an aquarium, cloche, jar, or bottle. There are two types of terrariums: open and closed. The closed version is like a little rain forest -- moisture evaporates from the soil and plant leaves, it condenses on the roof and walls, then it drops down and re-moistens the soil. Low to no-maintenance -- a perfect plant for kids.

  • Photo Credit: Kristine Kennedy
  • This project was an excuse to go to one of my favorite discoveries in the Boston area—Mahoney's Garden Center in Winchester, MA. If I didn't work at Wayfair, I might work at Mahoney's. It's huge and everything is stunningly beautiful. On my shopping list: glass container, potting soil, activated charcoal, pea gravel, adorable little plants.
  • Photo Credit: Kristine Kennedy
  • In addition to terrarium supplies, I also grabbed a few "air plants" and a hanging glass ball; my son had seen these before and loved them. On Easter morning, my daughter could not wait to get started on the terrarium. I lined the table with brown kraft paper and thought it would be easier for her if I drew out the planting steps as Kate had explained:
  • Photo Credit: Kristine Kennedy
  • The pea gravel allows for drainage, the charcoal keeps the closed environment clean, and the moss keeps the soil from falling down to the gravel.
  • Photo Credit: Kristine Kennedy
    Kate also gave me some examples of plants that would work well in a closed terrarium. The cats were a little quicker than we were to get to the plants. We just "pruned" the chewed parts. Claire planted the entire terrarium herself. It couldn't have been easier. After planting, you just water lightly once then cover. Place in a bright room out of direct sun.

  • Photo Credit: Kristine Kennedy
  • The finished product:
  • Photo Credit: Kristine Kennedy
  • We bought an open container but plan to use a piece of round glass to seal the top (for now, the top is just a salad plate).Claire personalized it with some accessories: a rock from a Maine vacation and a fossil from a Florida vacation.  The terrarium was such a hit that my son and I also want to make them. I can see them being addictive. I'm imagining a tableau... 

    What have been your experiences with terrariums? Advice is welcome. I can use any help I can get!

    Best,

    Kris
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