Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New design Terrariums

I seem to make lots of terrariums during winter. It's not too odd though, as mosses can be found everywhere with the cool temperature and copious amounts of rain we get in the season; I get lots of inspiration from just that. I had some left over mosses in my fridge, along with a few new clumps of harvested moss from when I went on a short hike. I am also very happy to be planting my own grown clumps of moss which have gotten large enough to divide!

I decided to experiment with different designs this year. Most of the terrariums were made with op shop finds, but some were sourced after painstakingly measuring various crockery/serveware/ash tray, new and old alike to get the right sizes. This is a photo-heavy post, enjoy!

Upside down salad bowl filled with beautiful forest moss

Upside down TRYGG bowl from IKEA with a lid from a ceramic pot as the base

Tasmanian oak timber base to stop the glass from slipping

Mosses on a slope! Inspired by terrariums by Jose Agatep from The Slug and The Squirrel

Op shop finds: Lid was a perfect fit!

Mossy jar with sea shells from St Kilda beach

Arid landscape globe terrarium with Haworthia sp.

Teeny pups emerging under the succulent in the bottom left!

Terrarium made from a giant glass vase from a friend

 The right sized white base took a while to find!

 Beautiful salvaged rose knob screwed on top after drilling the vase with a diamond bit

The arrangement looks equally stunning without the glass: Hare's foot fern with mosses

 More op shop finds: crystal ash tray with brass knob forms the perfect lid

Mosses and lichen fill this petite terrarium

An oldie: Filled with Baby's tears, moss, and spider plants growing for almost a year

Comes with a glass plate and a succulent bird planter perched on top

Should continue to grow well for years to come!

Simple apocathery jar terrarium

Problem bug: It's been fighting mould for 2 weeks now

White, web-like growth around the pebbles and moss; needs to be monitored!

Blast from the past 1: Hare's foot fern and moss terrarium still going strong after 1.5 years!

Blast from the past 2: Moss and lichen terrarium after more than 2 years

The sphagnum moss has taken a life of its own

Some moss sp. are doing better than the others and have claimed more territory

I'm gonna leave the post with this last terrarium, which is an experiment to see which moss sp. will win out. The mosses were taken from an older, overcrowded terrarium in which they were growing down the sides of the glass and getting squished. I pulled them out, gave them a good clean, and placed them on clean soil in a small jar. The clump has grown by about 30% of its initial size since planting 3 months ago. Let's see what this one gives me!

Experimental terrarium: Mosses from a much older terrarium that wasn't doing well

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Garden Bench No. 2

I have been badly bitten by the DIY bug. I find myself constantly scribbling furniture plans and designs in my notebook, sometimes drawing up 4 designs in a day! After building my first garden bench (let's forget my first first garden bench that was super crap), I started drawing up plans for a larger bench with back and arm rests.

It was mainly inspired by a bench I saw being built on Better Homes and Gardens by Rob using railway sleepers BUT I could not find the plans on their website or the magazine. So I had to design it from memory.

The plans were sketchy at first...
Very very rough sketch

Then I started putting things in place:
 Bench looks good against the house facing the backyard

Then full out dimensions and layout plans!

For the seat and back rest, I was thinking of using reclaimed timber. After scouring through the local salvage yard, I found that they did not have any suitable exterior timber apart from Merbau, which is beautiful, but tannin in the wood is really dark and leaches quite a bit when wet. Hmm, not too practical for seating unless I get a good seal on it. I decided to go with Spotted Gum for this project. Beautiful pattern and colour, and most importantly, all sources I've read mentioned that Spotted Gum is one of the few sustainably logged timbers in Australia.

 Oh look! It's on SALE!!

 All the timbers laid out in the back yard

Treated pine frames for the seat and back rest

Spotted Gum decking goes on the back rest, same method with the seat

For the main frame of the bench, I was very lucky to already have high quality hardwood, possibly red gum. Hann and I found a 4 x 3 beam about 5m long (!) above the ceiling of our house when we were replacing the insulation. It was just sitting there, not anchored to anything! Our guess is that the builders of the house some 30 years ago had left-over timber after building the roof and didn't bother bringing it back down. Hann was going to chop it up and throw it away. How absurd... NO DON'T YOU DARE THROW SUCH PRECIOUS TIMBER AWAY!!

I kept it in the shed for about a year before finally getting this project under way. So here is one side of the bench frame:
 Main frame of the bench

 Held together with massive galvanised screws

Progress after day 1

Aaaand ... everything magically came together minus the arm rests

View of the back

Arm rests screwed down

So pretty

Sealed the bench with exterior decking oil

The overall dimensions of the bench is 1500mm long, 600mm deep, and 900mm high. It is very spacious, and I love sitting on the bench with a coffee while my bunnies are running around in the backyard. Now I just need a landscaped backyard and a veggie patch to fully enjoy the view!

In the meantime I have this to enjoy. Taja is getting fat!