Reviewed by Louise Totton
We are really loving decorating our home at the moment – we have been in the house around a year and have started from scratch with everything. All of the big purchases have been made – we have gone for all matching furniture for the first time (I had been in my previous home since I graduated, so it was furnished with a hotchpotch collection of hand-me-downs, charity shop bargains and IKEA) – this time I have thoroughly enjoyed starting again with a blank canvas and getting everything ‘just so’.
Over the last few months, we have been able to move on to the little bits, the accessories and the things that make your house a home. Unfortunately, we don’t have much of a garden in this house, which I really miss so I have been making sure I have plenty of flowers and plants in the house. As much as I love my flowers (and I do), I also wanted something a little bit different too. I recently saw some of the fabulous and very beautiful terrariums made by The Urban Botanist, and I immediately fell in love with them. They are quirky, unusual but most of all, absolutely stunning and I knew exactly where we could put one in the lounge! For those who don’t know, a terrarium is a contained glass shape, containing soil and plants. They can either be sealed or open to the elements, and The Urban Botanist ones are mostly contained but with one missing panel to allow access to the plants.
I headed over to their website to have a closer look and was very impressed at the range available. In their terrarium range, they offer a number of different shapes (jewel, gem, diamond, cube and more), each of which is available with either copper or black edges and in a range of sizes. Once you have chosen your terrarium, you can then choose its contents – both the plants and the terrain have different options too. I knew I was going to be spoilt for choice!
Whilst there is a myriad of options, and I can imagine it might almost be overwhelming, the website makes choosing very simple, meaning it couldn’t be easier to build the terrarium that most fits your home and your tastes. You first of all choose the shape and size of your terrarium, and the colour of the trim followed by then the type plants (succulents or cacti. The different sizes of terrarium come with different substrates (gravel or moss). You can then add the finishing touches by deciding whether you would like it to be lit, and whether you want a personalised wooden round.
In the end, we opted for a diamond shaped terrarium with copper edging as we have a lot of copper accessories in the lounge. We chose the succulent plants over the cacti, just because I loved the fresh, vibrant greens, and there was no way that I was going to miss the new, white gravel option. As lovely as the traditional honey coloured gravel is, I thought the crisp white looked amazing against the copper of the terrarium and added a sense of modernity and quirkiness that was just right for the room. Once I had decided on the plants and the gravel, it was time to decide how the terrarium should be sent. The Urban Botanist offer two options here – either fully assembled, where the product is ready to go, out of the box, or DIY where the component parts are sent alongside the empty terrarium for you to put together yourself. We chose the fully assembled option (£64.95) as I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it look as good as it does on the pictures – I somehow don’t have much of a knack for things like that!
Finally, you can choose whether you would like fairy lights included in your terrarium and there is also the option for a personalised plaque too, to really make it unique. I knew my daughters would absolutely love the fairy lights, so we went for that option for an additional £10 and we also decided to go for the personalised plaque (£9.95). The plaque is produced on a round slice of natural wood and your personalised message is etched into the wood. I was particularly impressed that we were able to have an image (our company logo) etched into our round, which my other half said made it perfect for our home office – he had no chance, this was going in the lounge!
When the delivery man came a couple of days later, I was almost nervous to open the package. Afterall, sending glass, gravel, plants and soil in the post can’t possibly work perfectly – can it? Well, yes, it certainly can! The terrarium was packed fantastically well, and yes, it was fully assembled. The white gravel was set into some kind of resin (completely invisible), which meant that it stayed perfectly still and there is a permanent recess for the plants. The plants were also ready set into the terrarium – they were contained in a little plastic pot, in their soil, but completely and safely enclosed in a polythene bag to keep the soil contained and the plants safe. There was packing within the terrarium, around the plants as well as a polystyrene box and plenty of packing around the outside.
There is lots that I could say about the terrarium, but I think the main and over-riding point is that it is absolutely gorgeous, fantastic quality and looks superb in the lounge! The quality of the class terrarium really is lovely and the copper trim around each of the edges finishes it off beautifully and makes it fit perfectly with the décor in my lounge. The glass is thick and you can actually tell, even from across the room, that the materials are high quality. The terrarium is a good weight and feels substantial and in no way fragile – always a good thing with young kids in the house, or if you have decided to situate this in a corporate setting.
This size terrarium comes with three plants in a single pot, and we were lucky enough for ours to have three different plants. One of the only things that you have to do if you have opted for the assembled version is decide which way round to orientate your plants – we liked ours with the largest plant at the back but you can obviously choose which way you like the best. The plants were all in fantastic condition and I love how low maintenance they are to look after too – even people like me who don’t normally consider themselves green-thumbed can look after these ones!
We had opted for the lit version – this means that it is supplied with a string of LED lights that are powered by a small and easily hidden battery pack. The lights do come coiled up, even on the fully assembled option, but it wasn’t overly difficult to uncoil them and string them around the terrarium to get the best effect. This pack uses slim button batteries rather than chunky AA ones, so the pack can be hidden very easily and doesn’t spoil the effect of the lights in any way. The lights string is super thin LED, so you don’t really see the string, just the lights and the effect really is gorgeous, especially on an evening when the room is gently lit with lamps.
We also really loved the little personalised natural wood round that we decided to have embossed with our company logo. We thought it finished the product off beautifully and the different personalisation options would make it ideal for a moving in present, anniversary gift or for a home office or reception desk.
The quality of the product is excellent and it really does look stunning sat in the lounge. I absolutely love the succulent plants that were supplied with it and the plant care guide that was also supplied has all the information that you would ever need about looking after it. I have never seen one of these, or anything like it, in any of my friends’ houses, and a number of people who have visited my home have commented on how unusual and gorgeous it is.
RRP: from £34.95 (Empty) / £84.90 (Fully Assembled, including lights and personalised round) Copper Aztec Diamond Terrarium.
Other configurations available, prices vary.
For more information or to buy online visit www.theurbanbotanist.co.uk.