Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Make Your Own Terrarium With Geo-Fleur @ West Elm London
So, I'm a plant killer - that's a fact. John presented me with a lovely Peace Lily on my first day of graduate studies at York and within a week, it had drooping, brown leaves and a rash of white insects that made me shriek with horror and throw it across the room after I inspected it a little too closely.
But you know what kind of plant can't be killed (or at least, not very easily)? Cacti. And succulents. Because they're desert-dwellers (duh), they hardly need any watering!
When we moved to Walthamstow, I discovered Geo-Fleur's gorgeous "urban garden" and homeware shop in Wood Street's Indoor Market, where John and I bought this beautiful bespoke terrarium and planter.
Then, I found out that Sophie, Geo-Fleur's founder, runs regular terrarium-making workshops at one of my favorite interior stores, West Elm. When she invited me to come along last week, I couldn't wait!
First, I chose my selection of cacti:
I loved this little trio as soon as I saw it across the room: not too spiky and very, very cute.
Then, after a short demonstration from Sophie (who made it look SO deceptively easy!) we got our hands dirty.
Under Sophie's watchful eye, we bent over our terraria (seriously, I looked up the plural - "terrariums" is acceptable too) in silent concentration. I think we were all very grateful for her professional opinion when things went a bit pear-shaped i.e. when I accidentally tore like, three or four fleshy leaves off my impossibly small succulent and wanted to cry. Or when I wasn't sure about my arrangement: "That's gorgeous!" Sophie said in reply when I asked what she thought.
I loved sneaking glances at other attendees' handiwork and (unsurprisingly) got terrarium envy almost immediately! Everyone offered each other support though, with the girl on my left saying encouragingly, "That looks super stable to me!" and the one to my right exclaiming, "Your's looks amazing!" as I skeptically planted my loose cacti into place. I found it to be super therapeutic, pressing down the soil and adjusting it so that my cacti would be firmly rooted and stable (there's a life metaphor in there somewhere!).
This repurposed fishbowl was one of my favorites from the evening:
Did you know? Terrariums were super trendy in the Victorian Era, when people didn't have room for outdoor gardens and decided to bring the "outside in" instead. I had no idea, until Sophie told us (afterward, I totally Wiki'd it on my way home to find out more).
Before long, I had my finished product:
And I was like a proud parent.
In the run-up to Christmas, Sophie will be holding Christmas air plant wreath workshops (plants that only need air to survive ... plus the occasional quick bath!) and more terrarium making workshops at West Elm on Tottenham Court Road. She also teaches kokedama (a Japanese moss-ball type version of bonsai) workshops at Town Hall Hotel in East London. Any of these workshops would make the ultimate Christmas or birthday present!
Visit Geo-Fleur at No. 6, Wood Street Indoor Market, 102a Wood Street, London, E17 3HX or shop online here. Find Geo-Fleur on Instagram here and Twitter here. Special thanks to Sophie for hosting me at this fabulous terrarium workshop - all prickly opinions are my own!