I'll just say this right away, so that you know there's an obvious bias in this article: I love terrariums.
There's something about them that is so beautiful. It's like a tiny little slice of nature that sits on your table for the sole purpose of being looked at, and then making you feel better for spending the time looking at it.
Apparently, Patti Staley, head grower at the Oak Park Conservatory feels the same way.
"It's nice, so many visitors spend time here [in the winter], and this way you get to take home a little part of the conservatory with you," Staley said.
On Feb. 9, Staley is running a workshop at the conservatory that lets you create your own from clippings of the beautiful variety of plants that grow there.
In these cold, winter months, it's refreshing to see some green growing, even if it's on your coffee table.
The workshop costs $30 for Oak Park residents and $45 for non-residents. Staley will provide the glass housing, soil and your choice of what to grow, as well as information on how to build and care for your creation. Plant choices run from ferns to tropical to desert plants—there are currently eight types for you to choose from.
You don't have to be gardening expert to create a terrarium either—it's actually fine if you're lacking a green thumb at all.
"Terrariums are great for people that don't have a green thumb," Staley said. "They're really easy to take care of. You can pretty much neglect them—they're self sustaining."
That's great for people like me that love growing things in the house, but can be... um, forgetful.
Those interested in participating in the workshop can register on the park district's website here.
The class starts at 9:30 a.m. and runs for two hours.
"There's a lot you can do to get creative with them and make them your own," Staley said.
To see just how creative you can get creating these living room ecosystems, check out this Pinterst page featuring some really neat designs.
For more information, contact the Oak Park Conservatory at (708) 725-2450.