I would like to have one or the other plant in the apartment, some green would make the little space more pleasant. But I have to admit: even cacti live dangerously in my house. That’s why I was as curious as I was attracted when I came across Tiny Gardens – bottle gardens or small biotopes in glass that not only look classy, but are also supposed to be very low-maintenance, according to the founders. The founders are Kimberly Frost (agronomist) and Rasmus Bürder (plant artist). Both met in a Berlin plant center and share a passion for nature. And: the experience of acquaintances whose houseplants, because of the problem of constant watering due to over- or underfeeding with water, at some point descended into the sacred plant grounds.
Already impressive: a miniature garden in a glass.
The creators behind the fancy mini-glass gardens: founders Rasmus Bürder (plant artist) and Kimberly Frost (agronomist) .
This led the two of them to the model of bottle gardens in sealed glass containers, which only need to be watered a few times a year under optimal conditions, and in best McGyver fashion they got to work. They quickly realized the complex structure of a biotope. Not only was it complicated to find the right plant – soil – glass – mix that would make the biotopes robust against mold, but also to figure out the optimal conditions for the biotope to survive. They succeeded, and in 2019 the first store opened in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg. Since one would not like to expose such a finished biotope to the not always loving transport, the bottle gardens are available for non-Berliners like me as do-it-yourself kits with everything needed. The materials, which can be ordered at www.plantaria-diy.com, are delivered to your home with instructions.
With just a little water, Tiny Gardens is virtually an outdoor aquarium experience, even without a green thumb
How the Tiny Gardens work
A terrarium (or biotope) is a closed natural system surrounded by glass. In it can thrive not only selected tropical plants, but also those that are difficult to grow in our temperature, humidity and light conditions. The special feature of these systems is, on the one hand, the low water supply in contrast to ordinary houseplants. On the other hand the learning aspect, which is provided by these biotopes. Plants are sensitive organisms, which react to various changes even within an existing ecosystem. The kit consists of primer, charcoal, soil mixture, moss pieces and the respective plant.
How such a mini-garden artwork can look like? Idyllic or?
Natural beauty? In any case, a real eye-catcher.
The water cycle
The tropical plants in the terrarium, like all plants, require adequate watering to live. This does not mean that they need to be watered often. Once their own biotope is created and water is added, it will permanently provide itself. After the water has moistened the soil and the plants have absorbed the water, it is used for photosynthesis. Photosynthesis uses light energy, carbon dioxide and water to form important components, oxygen and glucose. In addition, water is released to the outside through the leaves (transpiration). This water provides increased humidity and settles visibly on the inside of the glass. The condensed water remains in the glass, then moistens the soil and the cycle begins again. Since a natural cork closure is used for some of the biotopes, the water in these does not remain completely in the jar. Some of it can escape and should therefore be watered more often as needed.
The team attaches great importance to sustainability and also places this claim on the products. Glasses are made from recycled glass, coal from biologically managed forests and the cork comes from the renewable cork oak.
Bottle gardens do not take up much space, but give the room an individual green touch.
Moss or stones you can decorate yourself as desired. It doesn’t have to be a Game of Thrones movie set.
The natural room and apartment beautification starts from 55 euros (there is still a Kids Special for 35 euros), you can put on among others Fittonia, peace lily, bonsai, coffee plant or palm. I think it’s a really nice and stylish idea that even I, as an actually talentless plant sitter, am tempted to try out as soon as deliveries are possible again in the current situation. Would that also be something for you?