One of the problems of living in a city, as culturally rich and creatively diverting as it may be, is that we’re seldom granted a patch of green to call our own. Sure, we’ve got parks and some high streets go in for hanging baskets, but the dense tropical flora we usually crave is always out of reach.
If you’re anything like me, you really go in for greenery in your workspace, home or studio. Plantlife is a friend to us all and boosts our wellbeing and creativity, but we don’t all have the privilege of a private garden to lose ourselves in, nor the skill to keep a whole bunch of houseplants alive.
London Terrariums founders, Emma and Tom, far from suffering from the lack of personal green areas to be found in London’s grey sprawl, sought to remedy the lack of garden space in the city. Having always been fascinated with plants, the pair began to source materials for and create tiny self-sustaining ecosystems that can be taken just about anywhere.
Now, terrariums are tricky, but once Emma and Tom had mastered the art of crafting and cultivating an original selection, their collections quickly began to grow. Their houses began to overflow and word about their work quickly spread. After gifting a few of the beautiful glass gardens and a subsequent stream of requests, the London Terrariums business was born.
Emma tells me, “We started off filling any glass container we could find but soon settled on four signature styles: Hanging Balls, Kilner Jars, Demijohns and Carboys. Each vessel posed it’s own set of difficulties when it came to building the eco-systems but we managed to solve these with an array of homemade tools. From giant tweezers to a cotton real taped to the end of a stick!”
All of London Terrarium’s plants and materials are sourced from around South London, creating a green business model and ensuring that the creative operation stays close to its local roots. Emma and Tom source moss from Peckham Rye and Nunhead Cemetery, propagate their plants at home, and take cuttings from memorable places and snippings from friends’ plants.
I think the beauty of a garden lies in its stories; the unique aspects brought to it by the person that tends it, and their experiences and memories of that place. A terrarium presents a miniature, low-maintenance opportunity to connect with these emotive aspects of nature no matter where you are.
London Terrariums’ bottle gardens are built up to flourish independently; the plants contained within the glass will eventually dominate their environment and according to Tom and Emma, this is the most exciting part of owning a terrarium.
The green-fingered duo work from a studio in Bermondsey, watching a stunning medley of varied species thrive and running workshops to teach others about crafting and caring for these miniature gardens in London. Peckham workshops can be booked here and workshops in Tottenham Court Road can be booked here. If secret gardens and exotic, fecund workspaces buzzing with ideas are your sort of thing, I suggest you head over to a session and pay Emma and Tom a visit.
Find more here
Words: Emily Beeson | @boogiemargaret