"Everything should be made as simple as possible..but not simpler." Albert Einstein

developing an indoor garden

This is how it goes:

We have two cats.  They are indoor cats that want to be outdoor cats.  We have no houseplants because the indoor cats, upon seeing a houseplant, pretend that they are in the great outdoors and proceed to sit on, dig up and eat the plants.  I really like plants and since our winters are about 9 months long in Minnesota it gets to be a bit long to go without anything green.

In the last few years the resurgence of terrariums that are minimal and well designed (as opposed to the kind of cluttered, creepy ones I remember from the 70’s) had me thinking that that might be the answer to the cat/plant issue.  These terrariums designed by Paula Hayes pretty much blew my mind when I saw them.  So I started searching for a beautiful and interesting glass vessel.  And I found a few.  This one is perfect.  Except that it is $200.

Then I saw a glass cylinder planted with a single Sempervivum tectorum (hens and chicks) plant and it was so beautiful, simply showcased in the glass, that my terrarium idea got side tracked.  I’m not sure why I didn’t think about the fact that the glass cylinder was open on the top, but all of a sudden I was on a mission to find some similar glass containers and plants.  I easily found an inexpensive set of three at ikea.  Then a quick trip to the garden center for rocks, charcoal and cactus mix, and my favorite local flower shop, Spruce for cute little succulents (and a maidenhair fern), and I had a mini indoor garden.  Only after I finished planting them did I realize that this would be no deterrent at all for the cats.

Within the space of 5 minutes there was dirt and succulents strewn from one end of the house to the other.  I swept it all up, replanted, and now the plants and cats are under strict surveillance.  It’s kind of a lot of work and stress keeping watch, but damn if the garden doesn’t look pretty.  The chubbiness of the leaves are killing me.  The things we do for design….

One other geeky design thing – check out the cut glass edge on the container below.  I got this one at Spruce and it’s soooo much nicer than the ones from Ikea.  And it was only $7.95.


10 Responses to “developing an indoor garden”

  1. Jess on March 10th, 2011

    I have been thinking about some indoor plants too.
    This winter is getting me down!
    I have a big glass container that I found at a thrift store and have been keeping in the china cabinet for years, it may be time for some succulents.
    Thanks for the great inspiration, Martha!

  2. lisa s on March 10th, 2011

    adorable !

  3. beth billups on March 10th, 2011

    gorgeous! i just picked up a few succulents and some cherry blossom branches yesterday. i think spring fever is in full swing in the midwest : )

  4. emily on March 10th, 2011

    i have the ikea ones too. and some others, and i see the difference – though i appreciate both. i have a collection of glass cylinders in the living room, and i love succulents. maybe this is just what i need! so pretty, martha.

  5. jen : painted fish studio on March 10th, 2011

    love your indoor garden! i’ve got the same problem with my kitty: she loves to eat greens. i can’t have floral bouquets around… and she did chew on some of my succulents, leaving them looking pretty mangled. but maybe if i did a tall cylinder and plant deep so she can’t get her paws in… then i could have some much needed indoor green! thank you, m!

  6. Sally on March 11th, 2011

    LOVE your new indoor garden. I somehow managed to let our terrariums from last year wither away. I think it is time to make our own little indoor garden.

  7. Anna on March 12th, 2011

    Good luck!!!! They look lovely. But I know your cats. I’ve always loved terrariums of all shapes and sizes – from victorian to modern. Maybe you can install some sort of alarm system.

  8. Michelle on March 14th, 2011

    They are very beautiful! I love succulents.

  9. Belinda on March 18th, 2011

    I have the same problem with my cats (and they have a little garden to play in!). So I built a succulent and cacti terrarium in a teeny little fish tank (with a lid) that I found in a second hand store. I love it! And importantly, the cats can’t get in there.


  10. April color inspiration : mwmBLOG on March 31st, 2011

    […] up empty.  It is still full on winter here in Minnesota.  And then one day as I was watering my new indoor garden, admiring the subtle blush color on the edge of this succulent, I realized that would be the […]

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