Sanctuaries, Terrariums and Planters in your home
Over the past 10 years plants have been making a major come back into our homes and there are many good reasons why. To get all the latest tips and tricks we sat down (virtually) with our friend Lesley Williams of Botanica Boutique.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how your business came about?
I’m an industrial designer, musician and mother. The business came about around the same time I had moved house to a larger property with a lot of natural scrub. It became a common pass time of mine to collect moss and small plants, mainly the pieces my toddler would notice on the ground during our walks together. I would tip a cup upside down and place it over the moss to keep the moisture in and the moss alive.
After 6 months of playing and watching the condensation patterns my business partner and I turned it into our first product, Sanctuary. We patented the teardrop design that you see today, which funnels condensation back onto the moss foliage. After a successful kickstarter campaign and manufacturing Sanctuary in South Australia, we thought it would be worth expanding the range. It seemed that people globally loved the idea of a miniature moss garden to have indoors.
What are the types of indoor planters you provide and what do you love about them?
Aside form the original Sanctuary, we have designed medium sized, open and closed terrariums (called Temperate and Rainforest), a domed vivarium (Biodome) and a mini terrarium made of recycled materials. We like our designs to be as modular as possible so you can interchange parts as your aesthetic changes or the needs of your plants grow.
Our pots started with Lantern. Inspired by the Chinese lantern and the process of spun aluminium. Now we have smaller spun aluminium designs under the Skye range.
I love the Skye range because it solves the problem of indoor hanging pots dripping water inside. The smooth, concave aesthetic of the base acts as a discrete water reservoir and self watering system. My absolute favourite part of the design though is how the freestanding pot sits. Depending how it is planted, the leaves cascade over the top as the pot rests to one side or the other.
What plant species do you like to use in your terrariums, sanctuaries and planters and why?
I’ve always chosen to focus on moisture loving, indoor plants for the Botanica range. Plants such as ferns, venus fly traps, orchids, monstera, and of course any bryophyte I can get my hands on from the garden. I love adding foraged elements such lichen and rock. I’m not a big fan of succulents in terrariums, although on a larger scale, in architecture for example, I love succulents.
I take inspiration from Japanese methods of balance and thirds. My preference is usually a minimal arrangement when I’m making terrariums for myself but the lush, mini rainforest scape tends to be the preference for Botanica fans. I can go crazy building up layers into a mini tropical rainforest under glass.
More recently the aquascaping community has taken a liking to our Botanica vessels creating beautiful semi-aquatic landscapes in the Rainforest Mossarium. Take a look at this aquascaping clip for your own inspo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PIUsROmAi4
You can also find our Botanica Boutique Tutorials on YouTube which highlight some amazing designs.
How do you get started with planting out your own terrarium, Sanctuary or planter?
It varies depending on what you are looking to create. There is no set way to do it but I always start with the look you want to create and where you hope to position it. Sometimes a rocky scape without any plants at all can be a beautiful addition to an interior, where the design of the vessel becomes more of a focus. If you hope to pop your terrarium on a shelf that is near heating for example you will also need to consider how that may impact your plants or mosses in winter. So I always look at the position and work backwards.
As a general guide though, a light layer of stones and activated charcoal acts as a good drainage base for planting. For the plants, the smaller the better to allow room to grow. I work in clusters of three plants usually or 2 plants and a feature element. But honestly, anything goes! Monitor any over or under-watering by paying attention to your plants leaves, the direction the leaves are facing and colour changes. Things happen quite quickly for plants under glass and its meditative for me to take time out to pay attention to it all.
Are terrariums and sanctuaries hard to maintain?
Once semi established they are super easy to maintain, I think the first few weeks require attention to detail, picking the best spot if you have purchased one made up from a store, and getting a water schedule that suits the environment. Once established, closed terrariums require less watering and I check in monthly to trim any leaves etc.
What are the benefits of indoor plants?
If you google Nasa’s guide to clean air you can learn of many plants that are scientifically proven to contribute to better air quality. For me, the benefits are predominately relaxation and mental health. I get a lot of joy from not only designing the products but watching the plants thriving in them, manipulating themselves within the small vessels we create. I think plants in general add a lot of beauty to a space. I learn about myself as I care for them, I enjoy the satisfaction of seeing them thrive. On the contrary, if they aren't doing well, am I too busy to pay enough attention to them? Perhaps its time to slow down….
To learn more about our friends at Botanica Boutique and their versatile product range head on over to https://botanica.boutique and follow their journey on Instagram @botanica.boutique