paludarium boogy terrarium workshop at London Terrariums with aquatic plants

Boggy Terrariums with COSM

Boggy Terrariums with COSM

It's no surprise we are passionate about closed glass terrariums, but have you ever heard of a Paludarium? 

A paludarium is a type of terrarium that combines both aquatic and terrestrial environments in one system. It typically consists of a sealed container with a section filled with water for aquatic plants and animals, and a section filled with soil or substrate for terrestrial plants and animals. They allow for a wider variety of plant and animal life to coexist in the same space, creating a unique and visually appealing ecosystem. With careful planning and maintenance, paludariums can thrive and become self-sustaining ecosystems that require minimal intervention.

We caught up with Dane from COSM to chat about his love for these boggy terrariums, and his new workshop in our studio this month. 

paludarium boggy terrarium workshop run by dane from COSM

Emma: How long have you been Gardening?

Dane:  Gardening for me has been a recent evolution of a longtime obsession with nature. It started mostly with fish tanks and the fauna. It then developed from there to building natural ecosystems for those fish using aquatic plants. That was followed by a love for the pallets and textures that aquatic plants offered and enjoying the patient practice of growing plants. With that mental switch I began to build terrariums so that I could scape more often, building my first terrarium with aquatic plants near the end of 2019. After this I began to keep more terrestrial plants and at the beginning of 2021 I started a horticulture L2 at Walworth Garden which put my existing curiosities to good use. I've been Gardening as my main source of income ever since!

Emma: What attracted you to boggy terrariums? What exactly is a paludarium?

Dane: Palus means swamp in latin so it is effectively a place to relate to swamp environments. In the hobby environment this has looked like a fish tank with a terrestrial section and above water plants. It was mainly this that attracted me to the defined idea of the boggy terrarium. I wanted to build a paludarium and for the same reasons that I started scaping in terrariums (no space for a full setup), I started making my terrariums boggy to live out my paludarium dreams. But really, when I think about it, I was already doing it since all my terrariums used aquatic plants and were wetter than terrariums usually are. I kind of just added "pond feature" to my list of scaping styles.

It's like my horticultural journey was a river bank going from flood to drought; I'm still yet to build a terrarium with actual terrarium plants.


Emma: Tell us about your favourite boggy terrarium?

Dane: This is a hard one... I wish I had pictures of it but back in 2021, I believe, I started helping my friend Joe deck his flat out with houseplants. I flooded him with all the cuttings I could. Some of these included various species of tradescantia. I'd seen these root in water with ease so I advised him to start them in a jar of water to root then plant them out. Soon after he invited me over to show his progress, he was absolutely elated but still uncertainly asking me if he'd done okay. When I arrived I found that he'd just continued adding water to the tradescantia jars and they were filling the jars out completely. A few months later summer comes around and he'd opened the jars and the tradescantia were bursting out and spilling a good 40cm over the jars opening. His uncertain questions remained, to my shock. I'd never been able to do anything of the sorts in the first place or replicate it myself! He continued to keep making more of them and the things that he did with mostly just water and all the plants I gave him were incredible. Thick growth and flowers from plants that I've struggled to even get to grow out of water! It was truly a marvel.


Emma: There is been such an influx of people interested in aquatic plants and aquascaping recently, why do you think this is?


Dane:  One thing that I've heard from the few people I've spoken to is sort of a new range of plants, a new roster in a way. I also feel like a lot of people, like me, maybe enjoy the creative freedom in making scapes. It's like discovering a new art medium and one that lives and breathes; it moves and changes in response to your actions.

One possible reason that I think hits me the hardest I think is that people seem more determined to be responsible with animals overall. A lot of people seem to go to the internet and YouTube for guidance for things like this now and as a result communities that propagate ethical and considerate tips on keeping pets have been bolstered and I've seen them also warn each other about creators or businesses that engage in malpractice or abuse. Even fans of some creators and pet influencers will hold them accountable for animals that they haven't seen for ages or that had died quicker than they should've. 

So it seems to me like more people who want to keep fish are being educated well on the better ways to keep fish. Can't be certain though there could be a plethora of reasons. A planted tank is a nice aesthetic and I have seen lots of misleading videos suggesting lots of fish can be kept in 'easy to grow' plant bowls that in reality couldn't sustain the amount of fish they suggest it can with the method used.


Emma: What's your favourite plant? Aquatic or otherwise?


Dale:  At first I would've said the red tiger lotus but wisteria is very quickly taking that spot. Not only are it's flowers incredible beautiful bundles of grapes but they're my favourite colour too. I also enjoy how structural they can become over time, almost like ropes immortalised in wood, twisted and tied together for the rest of time. I've even started collecting points on Google maps where I've seen mad wisteria growth, I've been intending to do a cycle route around to all the spots. I hope I can find the time this year!


Emma: Tell us about the workshop you're teaching in march, what can people expect?


Dane: On Saturday the 16th of march, I'll be teaching another Boggy Terrarium workshop where I'll be leading the attendees through the process of building a terrarium with a wonderful pond feature. This will ofcourse come with knowledge about the specific kinds of plants we'll be using and how all the elements of the terrarium will work together to keep it going.

We won't only be scaping our terrariums but building their identities in our minds through creative tasks woven into the building process. I've made sure to find nice spacious jars for us to use this time around to give the attendees the widest range of options when it comes to how they scape their terrarium.



Book your place on Dane's boggy terrarium workshop now

paludarium in store at London Terrariums


paludarium workshop at London Terrariums studio in shoreditch
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