The plants in my terrarium do not look right. The glass jar curves up at a nice angle. I tried to balance vertical grasses with the delicate spread of the baby tears, the sharp flat leaves of the one that’s like a tiny yucca. But from a distance, it just looks like… Some plants. In a glass pot.
Too much dirt shows, like too much underwear. Not enough green. Maybe I need sphagnum moss. You have to wear gloves when you handle it, or you can get a disease with the word sphagnum in it.
I revisited the New York Times article Terrariums Make a Comeback. I wanted a terrarium before that article was published, so I am still allowed to have one. If you hear about it from the Times Styles section, you are behind the curve, and you are not allowed to buy. Those are the rules.
Terrarria are really just a way of keeping plants. The fad is for a certain nostalgic pose, the Victoriana of it all. Cabinets of wonder. Feathers and horns and cuttings collected to prove the existence of other worlds, places it took long hours on ships and wagons to find. I feel that nostalgia. I want a miniaturized, fetishized sense-of-discovery on my shelf. I long for a slower planet. I wish it were impossible for me to see how the Kardashians live (she writes… on the Internet).
But terraria are also just a pretty planty fad, and I want mine to be pretty. I’m deeply annoyed that I didn’t get it right. How flexible are terraria? How much can I add and subtract plants?
The project — a glass jar, plants, charcoal — was a gift from P. When buying me gifts, it’s often a good idea to get me a project. But now I want one of the perfect little “verdant worlds” that photographed so nicely in the Times, designed by someone else. A beautiful, orderly little world, inside my own, where the laundry needs doing and I have not cleaned up the breakfast dishes.
I ordered a very small, diecast, German-made model Airstream trailer online.