Did you know that Hillier Garden Centres are running hands-on gardening workshops throughout the year? I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have my Mum’s green fingers, so any help I can get is much appreciated. Earlier this week we were invited along to the Creative Terrarium Workshop with Hillier Garden Centre in Banbury.
I grew up in the town and worked around the corner from the Hillier Garden Centre in Banbury for many years. It’s somewhere I used to meet friends for a coffee and pick up plants for the garden. I’ve always loved cacti and succulents so this particular workshop really appealed to me. My son has been interested in cacti since we visited Kew Gardens a few years ago so I hoped that the workshop would also appeal to him.
We were advised that the Creative Terrarium Workshop with Hillier Garden Centre in Banbury would last for an hour and half with lunch afterwards being provided. All we needed to bring with us was a pair of gardening gloves.
Jacky, from the garden centre for our export for the workshop and she made everyone feel at ease before we started. I was the only attendee with a child in tow, but it didn’t faze my son at all and he was eager to get stuck in.
Our demonstration started with Jacky explaining about the differences between Closed Terrarium and the Open Terrarium we would be making in the workshop. For a closed terrarium we would need to use a base layer of activated charcoal and use planting such as ferns and begonias.
She then moved no to showing us how to construct our open terrarium using layers of alpine grit and cacti and succulent potting mix. She then planted in a few plants and added a top layer of alpine grit and a decorative layer.
At each step Jacky was really informative about the plants and caring for them, a gentle mist spray once a week is all that’s requited. Perfect for those of us with less than green fingers. She also advised us about wrapping a paper bag around cacti plants to un-pot them and plant them, a top tip, especially with an eight year old gardening assistant.
Then it was our turn to have a go and I was really impressed with the size and style of the glass terrarium we’d be using and knew instantly where it would be placed in our living room.
My son was eager to take charge and it was a fun activity for us to do together as we decided on the type of alpine grit we wanted to use for our base and third layers.
We then needed to decide on our planting. Jacky suggested that we planted in odd numbers – 3, 5 or 7 plants. We decided that 5 plants would be enough for our creation and we had a wide variety of cacti and succulents to choose from, which again, impressed me. I got to pick one cactus and succulent and my son picked the rest.
The paper bag tip really helped both of us to place our cacti choices in the bowl. We dug a small hole for each plant and placed them around the bowl.
Then added more alpine grit around the plants, using chopsticks to manoeuvre the grit between each plant.
There were plenty of options for the finishing layer, some people stuck with the alpine grit, whilst we decided on a white decorative pebble with gold chippings. My son insisted on adding a couple of green glass stones to our finished design too, as well as a shell or two. Less isn’t more when you’re eight years of age! We were given lots of options and there was plenty of everything to go round our group, at each stage.
We were really pleased with our finished design from the Creative Terrarium Workshop with Hillier Garden Centre in Banbury.
Everything had been well planned and thought out, we were even given the boxes that the glass bowls came in, so we could easily transport our finished creations home. We were also provided with a double-sided fact sheet for both open and closed terrarium so we can try more projects at home.
Lunch options included various sandwiches and ploughman’s as well as hot or cold drinks. We all commented on how good the sandwiches were, with plenty of filling too.
This particular workshop cost £37 per person, and as with all of the workshops run by Hillier Garden Centres nationally, needs to be paid for at the time of booking. We all agreed that it was great value for money and a nice touch that lunch and a drink were also included in the price. The next workshop is a Stunning Bulbs workshop running on 2nd and 3rd October for £40 per person, check the website for full details.
Our open terrarium now has pride of place in our living room and my son has already asked when we can make a smaller one for his bedroom.
disclosure: we were given a complimentary place on this workshop and lunch for two in exchange for an honest review.