Well, it’s probably no secret that I love Studio Ghibli animes and their magical worlds and being. And I wanted to do a bottle garden for a while, the jar has been standing in the cellar for ages. A bottle garden is a close eco system, where the plants produce oxygen and carbohydrates that then gets consumed by the microorganisms that feed on the decaying plant matter. They’re an invention of 19th century botanists that needed to transport their precious plant samples by boat. The closed boxes don’t need water or fertilizer and there are some that are decades old.
I finally decided what I wanted to do with it and got some supplies, only to be foiled by transport damage. I love the kodama, the little tree spirits from Princess Mononoke and happily ordered some on Etsy, only this is how they arrived:
The seller promised quick replacement, but I didn’t want to wait because who could tell if I had time then, so I glued them back together. They’re extremely detailed gypsum casts, so I covered them with clear nail polish because I was afraid that otherwise they’d melt inside the bottle garden. Then I wanted a small dead twig from our old apple tree and ended up tearing off a big branch…
Next: assembling the garden. First layer: pebbles for drainage.
I actually wanted to add a layer of clay substrate, but I couldn’t find it anymore. I won’t claim to have a photographic memory, but I have a very good memory for “where did I see this last”, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to deal with my chaos. Mr, not so much, and while I don’t blame him, it’s endlessly frustrating to know that he put something somewhere and him not even remembering that the thing exists. Well, the pebbles do the job anyway. You could now add some charcoal, which I’m probably going to do retroactively.
Next: potting soil and plants.
This is pretty moist and probably a thriving ecosystem already. I planted an offspring of one of my succulents and a semper vivum (next pic). those are not ideal plants for a bottle garden. We will see how they do. If they don’t thrive I need to remove the lid and keep watering them like ordinary plants (I only keep orchids and succulents indoors because I suck at watering them).
Next step: Moss and decoration
I collected the moss from a tree stump in the garden. Did you know that by now you can by “moss for decorating” in the garden centre? Like, what?
Sadly, taking the pics through the glass is, well. The light just refracts too much.
I added some fairy lights by drilling through the lid and then sealing the hole with hot glue. Pics are even worse like this.
They do look happy in their new home, don’t they? Now I got to balance the water and hope that they like it in there.