Are terrariums back? I miss those groovy, flying saucer-shaped Eames plastic terrariums of my youth. Maidenhair ferns spilled out of them, Spanish moss concealed the potting soil and gave a vaguely Southern Gothic air to the arrangement, and wisps of patchouli drifted from an incense cone tucked between the fronds. Then somehow terrariums just faded away, along with macrame and Starsky and Hutch.
But if a seventies TV show can be revived as a mediocre summer blockbuster, terrariums might have a second act, too. Consider the following–and yes, I am seriously contemplating an all-terrarium Christmas this year. Who needs an iPhone when you can have a Venus fly trap in a plastic globe?
For cubicle dwellers, I like the Desktop Carnivorous Plant Set from ThinkGeek. "Perfect for the casual office worker who delights in watching
insects slowly meet their makers as they are painfully digested
engaging variety of meat-sucking flora. Nothing quite like it." The only drawback to this little toy is that it comes with seeds, not plants. I can see middle managers everywhere working themselves into a frenzy over their inability to get their pitcher plants to germinate. Do them a favor and buy a few live plants to get them started. $22.99
The Plantarium Garden Lab from Fat Brain Toys is marketed as a kid’s toy, and perhaps the brightly-colored gel will get kids interested in the otherwise mundane (ahem) process of watching plants grow, but I think these would also be totally cool in that hip urban loft you just redecorated. Just don’t let your guests mistake them for jello shots. Comes with basil, cucumber, and tomato seeds, but I’d try rooting a psychedelic coleus cutting or a giant purple and black-spotted scarlet runner been seed. For ages 5 and up, $23.95.
Finally, if you’ve got the budget, you’re definitely going to want to check out the custom-made creations at the Terrarium Museum. You can get miniature Victorian conservatories, sleek contemporary sculptures, and
even these totally groovy terrarium lamps. (here’s your attractive grow light solution, Elizabeth)
Ah, the return of the terrarium. Those were simpler times. Even Nixon and Ford don’t seem so bad, looking back on it. Perhaps the terrarium deserves a second chance after all.