Orchids in Winter & Make Your Own Terrarium!

The Northeast is still shoveling its way out of the snow that hit us Tuesday evening.  We have snow banks piled nearly five feet high in my driveway!  I snapped this photo yesterday afternoon when I went into my sunroom to water the flowers.  I have orchids, hibiscus and an indoor tree that keep me feeling sunny during the cold winter here!  The sunroom has five sets of large French doors and gets lots of light.  It’s a perfect spot for reading my favorite design books on a sunny day!

Photo Copyright Melissa Hawks

Photo Copyright Melissa Hawks
If you love orchids, but have no idea how to care for them, here are a few tips:
Water weekly and be sure to let the water drain out completely so that the roots don’t rot (be sure your pot has a hole in the bottom and if your orchid is in a decorative cachepot, remove the plant and its liner when watering so the water doesn’t puddle).  I have watering cans in my sunroom for my other plants and tree, but I usually bring the orchids into my sink and water them there.  I let them sit for a few hours to completely drain.  I recommend this as it seems to work well for the plants. When the blooms fall off, don’t throw away the plant!  It needs time for regrowth (which is why you see orchids in my photo above with no flowers on them!) and it is quite a nice surprise when those blooms return!

If you don’t have a sunroom in your home or live in a city apartment, but have good light, check out this fabulous craft project from CJ Hughes of theupcycler.com – make your very own terrarium out of old picture frames!  A Victorian oasis for your orchids and ferns!  This is a fun project to do on a cold, wintry day:
Remove the backs and glass from eight frames (four 5″ x 7″, two 8″ x 10″, and two 11″ x 14″). Lightly sand each frame’s surface.

Align an 11″ x 14″ with an 8″ x 10″ frame as shown. Drill one hole near the top and one near the bottom, through the larger frame and halfway into the smaller; screw together. (The screws you use should correspond with your drill bit. We suggest a 3/32″ bit and #6 x ½” wood screws.) Repeat with other 11″ x 14″ and 8″ x 10″ frames.

Arrange the two L’s you’ve created as shown. Attach them to each other using the same method described in Step 2 to form the terrarium’s base.

Place two 5″ x 7″ frames facedown. Align a 2″ mending plate at each end of the frames, as shown. Drill pilot holes and secure with screws. Repeat with the two remaining frames.

Align the two sets of 5″ x 7″ frames as shown. Attach a corner bracket inside each end of the eave, using the method described in Step 4.

Line the resulting roof up with the base, as shown. Place two 1″ utility hinges, spaced evenly apart, over the joint where the pieces meet. Drill holes and screw together.

Trace the inside of an eave on paper. Cut out, and trace the resulting triangle onto a piece of ½”-thick plywood. Repeat; then cut the wood.

Fit the cut wood into each end of the roof. Attach by predrilling holes from the outside of the roof into the triangles and securing with screws.

Wearing gloves for safety, smooth wood filler over the terrarium’s exterior, filling in the joints and covering the screw holes. Let dry for several hours; then lightly sand.

Paint the piece white. For a distressed finish, apply a dark furniture polish over the paint after it dries. Let sit for a few minutes; then buff off.

Replace the glass from the bottom up. Place hot glue in the corners of each frame, pop the pane in, and run glue around each frame’s inside edge.
Lift the terrarium’s lid to fit your favorite plants inside. Set by a sunny window and admire how your mini garden grows.  (Directions and photos by CJ Hughes)
I wanted to leave you with this Cole & Son large scale Orchid wallpaper, as seen in a Los Angeles home and photographed by Alexandria Mott for House Beautiful magazine.
Of course, I have favorite orchid inspired decorative items from my website, The Well Appointed House by Melissa Hawks:
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  1. Jane K. Schott

    I have always loved orchids….and thankfully they have always loved me. I have killed plants all my life but find them the easiest to take care of.

    I have a beautiful white one with 12 blooms on my desk right now!


  2. James Fillion

    I love your creativity in this project. I would never think to use old picture frames as a terrarium. I cant wait to get started on one when I get home. I have some old cabinet hinges lying in the garage, do you think I could invert them and use them as supports? Thanks for sharing this inspiring idea.

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