Tiny World Terrariums, by Michelle Inciarrano & Katy Maslow
I actually have a terrarium, which ended up as an unintentional and oddball present from a friend of mine who was unable to take it with him back to his home after having visited Oregon. Not being the most handy person with plants, despite my love of gardening books , this is the sort of gardening book I can get behind. This book was tailor-made for gardening indoors and is full of immensely quirky designs. Of course, it should be noted that the author is trying to sell the terrarium products of her company, as is to be expected. Few people are going to write a book like this without attempting to make money from potential readers, and such a thing ought to be noted. Likely, most of the people who read this book are going to be odd and quirky people who have at least some interest in plants and who happen to live in urban areas. This would appear to be a book that is aimed at me more than most of the books I happen to read, and I came into this book prepared to enjoy it. And I did.
This book was an easy book to read. By the usual standards of my books, this is not a difficult one to enjoy and appreciate. In a total of about 120 pages or so of material, the book manages to cover its material, introducing the story of twig terrariums, giving a history, asking what kind of terrarium the reader will make, a substantial discussion on terrarin’ (the verb form of terrarium), more than half of the book on various humorous pictures and descriptions of the items in a wide variety of terrariums and succulent gardens, along with some resources, comments about the authors, and acknowledgments. This is a book full of pictures, and the pictures are quite entertaining. If you like the sorts of arts and crafts one would find at Etsy and have a taste for odd and whimsical miniature gardens that really play up the aspect of building a world, then these ideas would likely inspire one to use various glass containers to make enjoyable miniature gardens. If someone as deficient in general craftiness as I am found the book enjoyable and even a little inspirational, surely many other people would find even more than I did in it.
I was struck, though, by an irony in the book. Terrariums are most popular with a group of people–namely quirky urban residents–who are not known as the most devoutly religious group of people. And yet in many ways building a terrarium is demonstrating the trickiness of creation, and the importance of sound design principles. I find it somewhat baffling, actually, to think of the disconnect between people actually engaged in the creation of gardens, in the choice of the right rocks and soil and plants and scale of the miniature equipment to make the world look suitable and right and the lack of respect for the One who created our world and set the different aspects of our world and ourselves in proper balance and proportion within that world. Is it just me? Does anyone else notice this sort of disconnect and irony? Perhaps most people reading this book will be more entranced by the odd and quirky and delightful pictures to think about matters of intelligent design, but I suppose as well that I am not like most readers of any book, and far too likely to think seriously at any moment about anything.
 See, for example: