Founder Lesley Williams talks modern interior greening and the magic of mossariums
Tell us about your enchantment with plants. Where did your BotanicaTM journey begin?
I love plants and the idea of being amongst the rainforest and nature. Growing up, we had a section of the garden that was totally overgrown with monstera, tree philodendron and ivy. I remember going on adventures through the foliage with my sister as children.
That nostalgic rainforest adventure was sparked again when my partner and I moved to the Adelaide hills about 5 years ago. We have big trees, natives, ivy, mosses and I think subconsciously I wanted to recreate that place… but I didn’t have time just yet to dedicate myself to such a project!
At the time my only green thumb activity was nursing some sick phalaenopsis orchids to better health under a large hand blown glass cloche. The amount of moss that was thriving as a byproduct under the glass sparked an idea. A tiny rainforest on my counter might be the next best thing to having a big rainforest of a backyard. And that was the birth of our first product, Sanctuary the mossarium.
What is a mini-mossarium and how does it work?
Terrariums are for all sorts of tropical/temperate plants but a mossarium is generally a closed, microclimate to collect and display mosses. It works very simply – as the moisture from the moss evaporates, it condenses in the lid and drips back down to hydrate the moss, eliminating the need for constant misting as moss dries out pretty easily when kept indoors. Just as the phalaenopsis moss did once hydrated more regularly, moss in a mossarium begins to grow in height and become brighter in colour (NB when moss is dry, it’s not dead but rather dormant until the next rain).
What are some of the common issues with small terrariums and what makes the mini-mossarium a better option?
I love working with all types of terrariums but there were a few things I identified that could perhaps make starting one an option for more people.
Terrariums can be hard to keep clean. Generally there is only a small opening to access the moss or plants inside and cleaning the glass is a real skill! Mixing plants and mosses can sometimes be problematic too because their needs are slightly different. Some plants are dying off whilst others are thriving and you do need to get in there to clean up a bit.
You can let your terrarium go wild but after asking people their opinions, they loved their terrariums when they first got them but once plants started breaking down (naturally) and regrowing in weird and wonderful ways it can get a bit mucky in there! So why not start small, just with moss…. see how things go?
Moss receives nutrients via its tiny leaves, so the hydration Sanctuary provides works great. Moss doesn’t need soil, just place the moss over the Sanctuary domed base. You can lift the lid to trim moss or clean the lid. The base acts as drainage for excess water and also hides any dirt. Side vents provide a little airflow which mosses do enjoy. Our silicon bases are also dishwasher safe when it’s time to refresh.
It’s a neat and easy-care option for a touch of greenery on your desktop.
What climates can we choose from and what plants are best suited to each environment?
If you would like a super hydrating climate, our Rainforest and Sanctuary are perfect products. You can experiment with particular mosses and plants that enjoy a humid or moisture rich environment.
For a more traditional looking arrangement we have Temperate for indoor plants such as peace lili, palms, baby monstera, birds nest fern and orchids.
Semi open is our Biodome. We are able to use the same plants as above (thanks to the ventilation in the domed glass top) but the water schedule is significantly reduced. A fortnightly check is all you need.
All of the range requires natural light for your plants to thrive and keep a nice balance in the terrarium.
By shopping with BotanicaTM online, how does one build their mini-mossarium?
The aim with our Sanctuary mossarium was to keep it as simple as possible. You can find moss yourself or on our website. You place the moss piece over the domed base, place the lid and that’s your building done.
How are your mini-mossariums made?
Our Sanctuaries utilise various manufacturing processes depending on the base material. Choose from coloured silicon, carrara marble or concrete. Our clear tops are made here in South Australia.
What are your favourite species to see flourish?
I have trialled many mosses over the last two years but my favourite is still the moss we stock, which is Racopilum Cuspidigerum. It’s a pluerucarp moss that branches out and upward, depending on the amount of light it has access to and loves a moisture rich environment. You can also give it a haircut every so often which is fun!
Which BotanicaTM styles are most on-trend for Spring’s home décor themes?
We have just introduced three new colours to our mini Sanctuary range – Claret, Terracotta and Deep Green which work beautifully to add a splash of bold colour to a bathroom, kitchen, office… they are quite ‘shelfie’ friendly too! Complimentary to these we’ve also released a new range of self-watering hanging and wall mounted pots called Skye, in the same bold colour schemes as above with a hint of art deco inspiration.
What are the benefits of adding more green life to your living and work space?
There are so many benefits to adding some greenery to your space- improved air quality and mental health, lower blood pressure, google Nature Therapy, amazing! For me personally, greenery is a reminder of self-care and mindfulness. Caring for any plant and making it a daily ritual to check in with how it’s doing really does help me relieve the stresses of the day. I think about my own hydration as I access the tiny fronds for watering. I exercise my eyes as I move away from the computer screen for a moment and I take some time out to gaze into that flourishing little ecosystem.
Where would you like to see BotanicaTM in five years?
An international concept store is definitely on the cards for me. I’m excited just thinking about it.
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