Now I'm sure you'll agree, it is rather odd for a (mostly) food blog to offer a non-food alternative for your Easter gift giving. As I get older, more of us are on diets, or simply have enough chocolate in our lives that we don't need to participate in the charade. I am a self confessed chocoholic but come Easter, I have a strictly no chocolate policy. I'm too old to binge like a seven year old and quite frankly, I don't think I have the will power to resist chocolatey temptations. Plus it's damn expensive.
Something that continues to bring much joy into my life is indoor plants. I'm quite proud of my collection of greenery. It's a nice, cheap alternative to buying cut flowers all year round (although I do love fresh flowers). And I'm a real sucker for an orchid.
Since moving house (again), I've been meaning to spruce up the new place with a big, dramatic terrarium. I always love walking into a hotel lobby awash with gloriously planted foliage when traveling overseas. If I'm in south-east Asia, it's always a stunning selection of orchids and I've been wanting to replicate that feel for some time.
So here's what you'll need to get started on your Orchid Terrarium.
- A selection of living orchids - preferably with buds, not yet flowering for longevity. I've picked up some cheap ones from Ikea, but my favorite supplier you can find here. Be sure to look for lush green leaves and full buds and if you can get a single plant with two stems - you're on to a winner!
- 1 large glass bowl - I'm using a glass trifle bowl from Kmart ($10au), but you could use this.
- Horticultural charcoal - be sure to use correct charcoal, BBQ charcoal has lighter fluid which will kill off your plants.
- Orchid potting mix
- Sphagnum moss
- Gravel and/or wood chips
- River stones
- Soak your sphagnum moss in filtered water. You will only need a fistful. Once it's been soaking for a little while, break up into little chunks and stick to the inside of your bowl. This will eventually turn green and is a good indicator of the health of the plants, helping to create a humid environment for the orchids to flourish.
- Gently remove your orchids from their pots. Loosen the roots and gentle arrange in the bowl. Be careful not to knock the sphagnum moss from the sides.
- Fill in the remaining spaces with orchid potting mix. Ensure that the soil is loose - orchids like plenty of drainage and don't like to be tightly planted.
- Top your soil with a little more sphagnum moss and finish with a scattering of river pebbles.
- Spray your orchids, foliage and flowers with filtered water daily - they like a good soaking. Be careful not to over water - the level shouldn't exceed the drainage layer. Once a month water with a little liquid fertilizer.