Workshop on Art with Plants
Botanical art is an artist whose goal is to depict whole plants or parts of plants in a manner that is both aesthetically pleasing and scientifically accurate. Growing and taking care of plants is an art in itself. But we can get creative and style our beloved plants in different ways that make them more attractive and pleasing to the eyes. If you are an artist by nature and a plant lover too then get creative with us and show your talent with plants.
Watch our workshop on “Art with Plants” with our speaker Neenu Patel.
She is a homemaker and a proud mom of 2 and a mother-in-law. She is very passionate about plants and she always wanted to do something more than just grow them and so she started Art with Plants. You can check her amazing creations on her Facebook page “Neens creation”
Neenu and her Art with Plants:
“Hello everyone, welcome to another International workshop by Taos. Today we have Mrs. Neenu Patel from UAE. Hello ma’am, how are you?” Asked Zehra.
“I am fine, how are you?” Said Neenu.
“I am good. Welcome to our workshop. We are very pleased to have you with us today. So, let me introduce our speaker to you all, she is originally from Gujarat but is staying in the UAE at the moment. She is a proud mother and mother-in-law too. She is very passionate about plants but she wanted to do something artistic with plants. She started making terrariums and other arts using plants. We are very excited to see that you are going to show us today, so let’s get started.” Said Zehra.
“So, today we are making a simple oval vertical glass terrarium. There are the materials required to make one. We have with us a stone for decoration, Neem flower powder, activated charcoal powder, some white stones for the base, and some dry Sphagnum-colored moss. I have one piece of lady farm, a pothos (money plant), today we will make a simple terrarium using both plants.” Said Neenu.
1. “So before starting with the session I would like you to tell us our views about your journey, how you started making a terrarium.” Asked Zehra.
“So, I was a plant lover from childhood. Sometimes I kept some plants or sometimes I left some plants. So I started making terrariums back 2-years ago, during the Corona period. At that time, I had enough time to focus on the things I wanted to do. Growing plants are very common but I also wanted to do something different while growing plants. I started gathering information from YouTube and Google 4 years back and then started making terrariums after collecting an ample amount of information for 2 years. I learned from Youtube by watching videos and have been very active for the last 2 years in making them.
So, I make open terrariums, in glass bowls, and I also make sand art terrariums.
First, you need clear glass and stack up the bottom with washed ‘, you can use any type of stone I am using decor stones. The reason to put stones in the bottom is to avoid roots from getting rot in case we put excess water in the plant. You can also use the net provided by supermarkets while buying fruits.
Second, is the soil. So I have used potting soil, which can be easily available in any nursery. It includes cocopeat, dry leaves, and soil. So I have mixed the potting soil with lava rocks if you are not able to find them when you can use porous river sand. I have also mixed Sphagnum dry nodes after crushing. So, the reason for adding them is it is suitable for terrariums and the plant’s roots don’t rot and the plants live longer. Now we will add the soil mix to the glass. We have to make a 2-3 inches layer of soil in the glass.
Third, you have to put Neem flower powder if you have Neem leaves powder it will also work. I will put half-spoon powder in the glass. The reason to use the Neem flower powder is to add a layer of protection from insects for the plant.
Fourth, I will add activated charcoal powder. You can also add a few over coal. We will add half-spoon of the activated charcoal powder. After putting this we will mix the soil.
Now is the time to put the plant in the terrarium. So for the plant, I have used a lady farm from the potted plant. You just need to tap the sides and bottom of the container/pot and gently remove the plant from the soil with roots than with a gentle hand remove the soil on the roots and it is ready to be used in a terrarium. You have to keep in mind that you have to do the same process if you take any kind of plant while making a terrarium. You can put the roots with little soil. Now the time is for planting the plant, I am using a coffee spoon you can also use a pencil to make space for the roots of the plant to stand in the soil bed. You can place the plant where you want to in the middle or side of the glass. So, after planting Lady Farm we will plant pothos. After planting the plants we will spray some water, we can decorate them in many ways. I am using a rock that I bought when I visited a place. As you all know that UAE has many mountains so I collect a few things which I find good for terrariums. Now I will add dry sphagnum moss which I ordered from Amazon. Sphagnum moss has two benefits, first, it looks beautiful as it adds greenery, and second, it maintains the moisture in the plant, if you forget to water the plant for a few days the moss will maintain the plant growth.
The growth of the plant in the terrarium is slow as compared to the growth of the plant in the earthen pot. The reason is sunlight, we reduce the amount of sunlight received by the plant in the terrarium. Even the plant is been potted in a glass container and therefore if it received more sunlight it can burn the plant. Therefore, we keep the terrarium indoors for healthy growth.
You can also decorate your terrariums with statues or artificial bugs, and mushrooms or you can even your children’s toys for decoration. Make sure to spray water on the plants of terrariums and not overwater the soil, as we need to make the soil moist. This is how the terrarium is ready.
Now we will make Kokedama. We will be using the Maranta plant for making kokedama. Make sure to choose a plant with small roots and kokedama is made using soil. The long-growing rooted plants will not survive in kokedama as the roots will grow out. For making them we will have the remaining soil from the plant we will use to make Kokedama. We will use the same soil and will add water and will shape it into a ball.
I will make half the ball, we will place the plant root between the soil, and then will add the other half ball to make it look complete. This is how we make the Kokedama ball. Then we will set the roots in the soil. Now we will use the Sphagnum moss, I have soaked this moss in water after washing it. After squeezing out the excess water from the moss, we will make a round bed for the Kokedama. After setting the Kokedama ball on the moss we will cover the kokedama ball with the moss. Then you have to take a normal stitching thread and wrap the moss on the kokedama. We are using the thread to bind it completely so that when we will cover it with jute rope the soil won’t come off. As this thread doesn’t harm the plant and will convert into the soil after some days.
Many people ask what Kokedama is. So, it was used by the poor people in Japan who could not afford many pots as well as they have no space they started it, as there was the availability of moss, and they hang the plant after covering it with moss. But nowadays it is in Trend and many people are adopting and making Kokedama. So, after wrapping it with normal thread now we can decorate with the help of Jute rope. You just need to wrap the Jute rope around it as it will automatically form a beautiful design.
This is the best option for people living in flats or less space, they can adopt the hanging plant system by making Kokedama. For hanging the plant you can make the hanging rope using the same Jute rope used for wrapping. You can also use wool for decoration and binding the soil.” Said Neenu.
2. “So, please explain the watering process of this plant.” Asked Zehra.
“I have the water in which I have soaked the moss. So, you can reuse the water for watering the kokedama plant. I will put the kokedama plant in the bowl of water and will keep it for 2-3 minutes and that will be fine for watering.
So, I keep my plant in the brighter area and at the normal room temperature of 24-25 degrees Celsius. I have to water the plant every 15 to 20 days. And it is a very low-maintenance plant.
You can decorate the Kokedama plant with any kind of decoration. I am using plastic flowers for decorating it.” Said Neenu.
3. “So, as you have used the Jute thread so can we use thick cotton thread?” Asked Zehra.
“Yes, you can use the cotton thread, but I have noticed a problem with the cotton thread, it dissolves easily. Therefore I use thread that is made of cotton only but has a coat of wax on it and it does not dissolve that fast. You can also add the kokedama plant to the tray as decoration for people to see.” Said Neenu.
4. “So, can we mist the plant leaves with a spray of water?” Asked Zehra.
“It is usually not required but if you find dust on the leaves then you can spray water on the leaves or you can wash the leaves with a small amount of water. You have to make sure that you have to invert the plant while watering or washing the leaves so that the water doesn’t reach the roots of the plant.
Now I will give you a brief about Fairy Garden. So I have a biryani pot and I have hand-painted it. So we have a ready base, and now we will put the soil in the earthen pot. So, Fairy Garden is about planting a plant and decorating it on a theme. It is more of the same as a terrarium. As you have to prepare the base of either soil or stone and decorate it with plants or artificial houses and fairy and make your fairy garden.” Said Neenu.
5. “So, please tell us a little about Sand Art.” Asked Zehra.
“I have a few sand art. So, you need two bottles for it as you need one for the sand art and one for the plant. I have used a plastic small bottle for the plant and a glass bottle for the sand art. So, for the plant, you need soil and plant the plant in it and then place the small container inside a big one to do the sand art.
So, at the beginning of doing it, I was confused about how to add water to the plant, but it is a secret. You need to take a syringe and remove the needle from it and then add water to the plants in the smaller container with the soil so that the water goes directly into the roots.
Regarding the amount and frequency of water, it depends upon the soil quantity and the plant. For example, this Aloe Vera plant which is made in a 4-inch jar and has 1-1.5 inches of soil in it requires very less amount of water, so I water them every 1 month. So, you need to keep in mind that if you don’t water the plant it won’t die but if you overwater the plant then it may die.
So, I make them as I am interested to make them. Whenever I watch Youtube I look for some new things that I should learn and make sure to avail all the things required at home.” Said Neenu.
6. “So, can you please tell us about watering the terrarium?” Asked Zehra.
“Yes, before that I will tell you about the soaked kokedama. As you can see a lot of water has been absorbed by the soil and it has gained weight. Make sure to check them after 15-20 days and if you find it has become very lightweight then only water them.
For the terrarium, you can spray water on the plant and the moss, but if you don’t have one then you can use a syringe to water them.
I have also made a theme terrarium. I would like to show it to all the viewers. In this, I have planted live moss. You can also make a theme terrarium but it requires time.
I hope that all the viewers liked my workshop.” Said Neenu.
Thank you so much, Neenu.
I enjoyed this session. Thank you for giving us your valuable time to show your beautiful art and creativity. Thank you so much, for explaining everything wonderfully.