Posted on

The History of Terrariums & Pteridomania

Pteridomania; The Victorian craze for ferns or fern-fever that swept Britain during 1840-1890’s. Making somewhat of a comeback in our present day.

Most modern terrariums are inspired by the Victorian Wardian case.

How was the terrarium discovered?

In 1829 Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward invented the Wardian case. A case made of glass & wood to transport & keep exotic plants alive. However this invention came from an accidental discovery. Ward at the time was fascinated by ferns but hadn’t had much luck growing them himself.

In the summer of 1829 Ward was studying insects & had buried a chrysalis (the pupa) of a Sphinx moth in a contained glass bottle with some moist mould. After about a week of observing the bottle a fern had germinated, along with some grass.

Ward was able to observe day to day how the vessel retained adequate moisture and was excluded of any outdoor containiments. The ideal conditions to grow tropical plants & ferns.

The invention of the Wardian case meant that explorers were able to safely transport & travel with exotics plants from all over the world. This was a huge game changer for trading,  the tea industry & for the era.

As Ward was the first to publish his studies, he has become widely known as the inventor of the terrarium. However, a Scottish botanist A. A. Maconochie, had invented something similar almost a decade earlier but rarely receives any credit.

How do terrariums work?

Today’s terrariums come in all shapes, sizes & vessels. You can have them open (generally used for arid plants) or enclosed depending on your preference. Terrariums are supposed to give the plants the more optimum conditions for plants to grow. The glass intensifies the light but also provides shelter to any outside contaminants.

As Ward discovered what had happened in his bottle. He was able to observe on a daily basis, during the day’s heat moisture would collect on the inside of the glass & would slowly filter back down to the mulch before the cycle would happen again. Ward was able to observe how the glass bottle was able to keep the same degree of humidity continuously.

But it wasn’t only the humidity that played a part. Due to the bottle being enclosed the inside is exempt from any outdoor contaminants. Ferns that Ward was desperately trying to grow outdoors would fail time & time again, he could then grow easily within an enclosed container.

What else was going on during the Victorian era?

Since everyone was going crazy for ferns, it wasn’t a surprise that glasshouses were becoming more popular.

At a similar time of Ward’s finding, George Loddiges was inspired to build to world’s largest hothouse. And in the early 1830’s Loddiges had his Grand Palm House built. A structure that was 80 foot long, 60 foot wide & 40 feet high.

George was the son of Conrad Loddiges, who had founded their nursery business & arboretum in around 1816. They traded in, and introduced; exotic plants, trees, shrubs, ferns, palms & orchids to the European gardens.

The nursery was a popular attraction & to get more visitors to the hothouse Loddiges, spread the rumor that ferns were a sign of intelligence, improved virility & mental health. Which was later proved to be correct in Edward Newman’s; A History of British Ferns, published in 1844.


The Victorians, poor & rich, went crazy for ferns & started to cultivate rare specimens & print fern motifs on to everything they could including wallpapers. It even inspired the pattern design on the Custard Cream.

The craze also gave women the freedom to go to Fernery’s and explore the countryside looking and foraging for ferns. Women were even allowed to organise dayout excursions into woodlands without a chaperone, this was because it was considered a wholesome, healthy & moral activity.

Cultivating ferns isn’t easy and the craze became expensive with people trying to get their hands on the rarest fern they could find. Aristocrats would sponsor scientific exhibitions to gather ferns from the West Indies, Panama and Honduras. This also created a crime wave of people stealing the rare specimens and selling them on the black market. Something that still happens to this day.

Posted on

New Botanical Workshops Coming in 2020!

We all love plants, right? But occasionally we may give the plant a little too much water, or we’re not sure on the right conditions & suddenly you have another dead plant in your life*. And all you can think about is how bad of a plant parent you are?

Well, I want to change that. I want to give you the confidence in observing & connecting with your plants so you have a better understanding of each plant’s needs. With these workshops I’m going to help you to understand some of the basics when it comes to indoor plant care. I’ll be sharing with you my experiences & knowledge that I’ve accumulated over the past four years of throwing myself into the houseplant world.
*Don’t worry I still kill the occasional plant from time to time.

What Workshops do I already host?
Currently I’ve been hosting my Tropical Terrarium Workshops since the summer 2018. Terrariums are the reason that I got into houseplants & why I started my business. In these workshops I teach you the method I use on planting up an open tropical terrarium which you can then use to plant up your own terrariums at home. Once you’ve learned this method you’ll be changing any glass vessel into a living ecosystem!
I talk about how plants are beneficial to your lifestyle & well-being, I uncover how terrariums were invented (It was by complete accident!) & then I go into full depth on the layering & tropical plants we’ll be using. I also hand out gift bags that include care information & watering pipettes, so you leave with complete certainty in caring for your terrarium.
At the beginning the terrariums need a little bit of care & attention but once the plants inside have established themselves, they require a little less attention. As you observe your terrarium over time you will begin to learn when your terrarium needs watering.
These workshops are great if you have just discovered terrariums and you don’t have a clue how to get started or if you’ve tried planting a terrarium up yourself & haven’t quite been successful. And even if you’re completely new to houseplants and looking for a way to start your obsession, this is a fantastic way to get the courage in adding more plants to your life.

Why haven’t you got any dates booked in for the new year?
Well, during the winter months plants are growing a lot less or even going through a dormancy period. From my experience planting over the winter months is not beneficial to the plants at all & can cause them more stress. So I take a break in January & February to give myself & the plants some rest. It also means when I start the workshops up in the growing season you will have a better survival rate for your plants. This also gives me change to work on my NEW workshops for you!

What new workshops are you working on?
I have been researching, studying & working on loads of houseplant care workshops. I’ve realised that people are taking more of an interest in their plants as a living being, not just a piece of decoration to brighten up a spot in their homes. I get asked daily on IG & when I’m working in Wild Leaf for plant advice. And once your plants begin to flourish, the feeling inside, you’ll just want to add more to your collection.
These workshops are going to be great for amateurs in houseplants, who are looking to better understand plants and how they can care for their plants more consistently. I will be taking it all back to basics in my Houseplant 101 workshop (not sure if I’ll be sticking with this name). In this workshop I’ll cover the different needs plants are after, giving you tips & sharing observations you can then take home with you & put into practice. I will touch upon pests & how to treat your plants when they do get infected. Cover repotting & the roots, & touch base on propagating. Find out what type of plant parent you are & understand how you coexist with plants. (I’m an overbearing mother to mine & have to constantly tell myself to back off & leave them alone!).
I’ve then being working on a Repot & Prop workshop which will focus directly on the root system of your plants and how to repot & the best potting mediums you’ll want to be using. We’ll get hands on with repotting some plants. I will also go into the different propagation methods you can use on cloning & duplicating your plant collection! This workshop will be perfect if you have that basic understanding on plants but need a little more confidence in repotting your plants or if you’re interested in growing more plants from the houseplants you already have.
I would really love to do a basic kokedama workshop & would love to do a Plant SOS at Wild Leaf each month where you can come in & talk to me directly about any issues you’re experiencing with your plants. These two workshops are still in their very preliminary stages but I’m hoping I can do this through the summer months of 2020.
And of course, I’ll be expanding on the range of terrarium workshops I’ll be hosting to include a Cactus & Succulent Terrarium workshop & how to plant up and care for an enclosed terrarium.

If you’re interested in keeping uptodate & being the first to hear about when & where I’ll be hosting my new workshops, give me a follow on Instagram or Facebook!

Posted on

Terrarium Workshops For Private or Corporate Events

Looking for something more meaningful & interesting to do for a special event/party? Terrarium workshops are a perfect alternative for Hen Parties, corporate events or those special occasions.

You’ve taken a look at our terrarium workshops and you’ll think it will be perfect for your event. If you haven’t already please take a look at what goes into our Terrarium Workshops.
There are few options for you to choose from. If you would like us to do everything for you or if you already have a venue in mind we can offer discount.
We ask that workshops have a minimum of 6 people. You get to choose if you would like to plant into the regular or large terrarium shells. Workshops are for 18+ as we do provide alcohol but this is optional. We are not allowed to provide workshops for under 16’s. This is due to our public liability insurance. Please make yourselves aware of the terms and conditions of our workshops which can be found at the bottom of our Workshops page.


Option 1 – Full Ticket Cost (£75 for the regular size shell, £95 for the larger shell)
This works exactly as our workshops run. We provide the venue & the additional extras*. Please state which size shell you’d prefer to go with.

Option 2 – 10% off full ticket price
You have a venue (i.e your home, function room.) but would still like us to provide the additional extras*.

Option 3 – 15% off full ticket price
You have the venue & don’t wish to have the additional extras.

*Additional extras include glasses of Prosecco for guests.

If this is something you would like to discuss further please use the contact form below. Please include the date, time and the number of attendees. Also, please include if you would like to go for the regular or large shell and which option you’d like to go with. Just to make you aware that we don’t provide workshops over January & February and we need a minimum of 8 weeks notice to book you in. If you are providing the venue, we do ask that it’s easily accessible as we have to bring lots of materials with us.
To secure your booking we will ask for a deposit which will be 50% of the overall cost and will be non-refundable. We will then ask for the remainder of the payment 2 weeks prior to the workshop.

Posted on

Walk-In Workshops

Join me for a one to one terrarium workshop at Illustrate on Sunday 26th May, 11am – 5pm.

You’ll receive a more personal experience of my terrarium workshops, where you’ll get me all to yourself. Just like the group workshops I’ll briefly explain how this form of indoor gardening has helped my mental well-being to then starting my own business and the history of terrariums. I’ll talk you through the layering and you’ll get to pick the plants you would like to have inside, then decorate as you please. You’ll leave with your brand new terrarium, watering pipette & expert care advice.

How it’ll work:

I’m planning on having 8 sessions throughout the day (subject to change), which I’ll be hoping to start every 45 minuets, with the first starting at 11:15am. There is a limit of 12 people for the day.

If you arrive and I’m already in a session and you would like to take part in the next one, there will be a reservation list. Depending on the schedule you’ll be able to browse the store, grab a coffee from the cafe or pop out shopping and return at your chosen time.

The session are one to one, where you’ll to have a more personalised workshop. If there’s more than yourself wishing to take part, depending on space, I might be able to host for two people. No groups. You will be asked to split up or attend one of my group workshops instead. For my other workshop dates please click here.

This is the first time I’ll be trialing walk-in workshops, please be patient if I am running behind schedule or spaces are full. This could either be a huge success or a terrible, terrible idea.

All material supplied, just bring your wonderful self.

If you require further information on the drop in terrarium workshop, please email me directly at Thank you.

By taking part in this workshop you are agreeing to the workshop terms & conditions. Please make yourself aware of these before attending.

Posted on

Plants For Dark Spaces

Living in a basement flat really limits the plants that are suitable for my flat. It’s dingy, damp and draughty. Pretty much inhabitable for plants. But there is hope, if I can make plant work in my flat so can you!

If you’re like me and live some where dark and dingy, here are my top plants for dark spaces. They’re also easy plants to care for, even if you don’t have the greenest of thumbs. Don’t worry we’ve all killed our fair share of plants.


Native to tropical America, this plant has beautiful heart shaped leaves and is great for low lit rooms. Growing high in the trees this epiphyte is a trailing vine or you can train it to climb. Another plus to owning a Philodendron is that it’s so easy to care for. Keep the soil moist in summer, but never waterlogged this can cause root rot.. Allow it to dry out in the winter. They like humidity, mist occasionally otherwise I like to take mine into the shower with me. It’s fast growing and easy to propagate. A must have in my eyes.

Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash


Not one I have in my collection yet but snake plants are SO easy to care for. This plant is perfect if you’re looking to add green to your flat but not overly green fingered. Native to western tropical Africa, it’s very slow growing but is great to have in low lit bedrooms as they release oxygen during the night. Too lower light will dull the markings on the leaves, just move to a less shady spot. Allow to completely dry out between watering.


Peace lilies are another super easy plant to look after and great for those darker rooms. These evergreen plants are native to tropical regions of America and southeastern Asia. This flowering plant produces lush white flowers but in the right conditions. Check the soil before watering, if it’s damp don’t water, if dry it’s safe to water. Another way of checking to see if your Spathiphyllum needs watering is that the leave start to droop, once watered you’ll see them bounce back. I adopted a couple of Spathiphyllums off my parents which I’ll need to repot this spring and also have an extremely root bound one that my partner sort of neglected which I’ll be trying to bring it to its full potential.


There’s many different species you can have. I particularly like the Bird’s nest fern. It’s big beautiful green leaves and the way the fronds unravel from the centre captivate me. Ferns are great for low leveled light but do require a little more care and attention then some of the above. Never place a Asplenium in direct sunlight as this will cause damage to the leaves, keep the soil moist and allow the top layer to dry out in between watering and they love being misted. Again I like to take mine in to the shower to really get the humidity right.


This guy goes by many names Devil’s ivy, Golden pothos are just to name a couple. Attractive for the markings on the leaves they can easily be confused as a variegated Philodendron, however the leaves shape and size are different. It’s a climbing plant that you can either train or allow it trail over the pot. Again this is pretty easy to care for and can tolerate low light. This can stunt the growth but if you have a slightly less shady area it’ll be much happier. Never allow the soil to be soggy and let it dry out a little in between watering and they love humidity. This is also another plant that can easily be propagated by taking a small cutting.

Posted on

Marimo Moss Balls

After recently discovering and studying Marimo moss balls I had to share more about these fascinating fellas. There’s even a legend that comes with them, which is just as adorable as they are.

Marimo moss balls are a must have to anyone’s budding collection, they’re super cute, so easy to care for and love cool dark spots. Perfect if you live in a basement flat like myself!

Latin name: Aegagropila linnaei


Marimo is a Japanese word that translates to ‘seaweed ball’. They’re technically not moss, but a rare form of algae that grow in lakes in the Northern hemisphere. These slow growers can live for hundreds of years and naturally form into spheres from the currents. Growing at a rate of 5mm a year they grow between 8 – 12 inches in the wild. Their natural habitat is fresh water lakes in Japan, Estonia, Iceland, Scotland & Australia. They’re even considered a national treasure in Japan with some parts of the country having Marimo Festivals.


Japanese folklore has it that Marimo came from the spirits of two lovers. The legend has it that a tribals chief’s daughter fell in love with a commoner but their love was forbidden. The couple decide to run away but tragically fell into the Lake Akan where their spirits changed into the moss balls.

Marimo moss balls are a token of love, affection and good luck. It is also said Marimo bring the giver and receiver their heart’s desire.


Your Marimo will like being kept somewhere with low-medium indirect sunlight and out of direct sunlight completely. Place them somewhere cool, keep away from any heat source in the winter.

Change the water every couple of week, you may be able to get away with changing it once a month in the winter. I prefer to collect rainwater for my Marimo moss balls, but you can use tap water, just let it sit for 24 hours before placing the Marimo in.

I’d recommend cleaning the glass each time you change the water as you might find there might be a buildup of unwanted algae.

Marimo should be a lovely deep green colour. If your Marimo are browning place them in a cooler, darker space and hopefully they’ll change back. If not you may need to add some aquarium ocean salt.


You can find our Marimo moss ball terrariums here.

Posted on

Meet The Maker: Make & Matter aka Chloe Cohen

Welcome to the first Meet the Maker of 2018. This time we’re introducing you to Chloe, designer and creator of Make & Matter.

Chloe produces exquisite concrete and jesmonite planters as well as small homewares. I spotted these planters when browsing around PRICK over a year ago. Since then you can now find Chloe’s work all over Bristol. But let’s get to know the process of how Make & Matter began.

Before starting Make & Matter, Chloe has had a lot of hands on experience within her field. Starting from a young age, Chloe recalls how her mother would involve her in casting their bodies in different materials.

Chloe also worked for a top designer, Oreil Hardwood for 10 years. She was apart of a small team that would create her furniture in cast resin. Although Chloe may use different materials from her ‘mentor’, you can see the skill and years of practicing these techniques in her own work.


As well as gathering experience and techniques from her time working with Hardwood, Chloe has also worked in many workshops and studios. Taking all this knowledge and with an interest in handmade and small batch production. Chloe wanted to explore the wider production opportunities that the UK had to offer. After winning a competition by The Southbank Centre and the Observer, which helped her set up production in Stoke on Trent producing some of her ceramic designs.

Not only has Chloe achieved all this, she also runs a successful jewellery business. This stemmed from making her own engagement ring in which she fell in love with the process. Each piece was inspired by meaningful points in her life, her marriage and the death of her grandma. But noticed that she was sat writing emails and doing other aspects of the business which she didn’t enjoy as much. Which brought her to starting Make & Matter.


When starting this new venture, Chloe wanted to make everything herself from start to finish. This also gave her the chance to develop and experiment with using different materials, processes and ideas. It also gave Chloe the freedom to work more on what she loves. Rather than focusing on admin and sales.

Even with the mountainous amount of experience, Chloe is still learning parts of the industry she hasn’t been apart of yet. Now selling to smaller independent retailers, she’s noticed the difference in business between companies. Where it’s more supportive, informal and forgiving. The business is growing organically with Chloe adapting and changing small bits of the business she knew she would be able to change later in the process.


I think we can all agree on how beautifully created Chloe’s cement and jesmonite planters are. You really appreciate the time and effort that is put into each one. If you’d like to get your hands on some, head over to Make & Matter’s Etsy Shop or pop into The Might Quinns Flower Emporium or Old Market Plants.

Posted on

Bring On 2018

With 2017 drawing to a close and everyone getting ready to party their way into 2018. I’ve pulled out the best bits of Loof from 2017 and tell you the plans for 2018.

2017 has been a great year for Loof. We’ve had our regular spot at the BS5 Market each month, we’ve innovated our terrariums and collaborated with some awesome artists.


We were at 8 markets over the Christmas period, we think that’s pretty good going for our first Christmas. We hope to attend many more markets over 2018 and hopefully you might see us at some in Bath. 

Kubus Collection

Piramide Collection

Bespoke Terrarium

We’ve changed the supplier of our terrariums to bring you a completely handmade product. And worked on some awesome custom projects.

Custom Order

Our collaboration with Ropa Lobita has seen us sell out of our Loof Leaf design. We hope to bring out some more unisex tees for everyone to enjoy!

I’d personally like to thank everyone who has bought anything over the year, you’ve truly kept me doing what I’m doing. Struggling with depression, my mind tells me to give up on a daily basis. But seeing the support, seeing you share your photos and giving me feedback makes me strive to bring you high quality, hand crafted products! Keep sharing and spreading the love, we all need it in this world today!

We’re looking forward to the New Year with loads of projects to get our teeth stuck into. Now let’s raise a couple of glasses and welcome in the New Year.

Posted on

London’s Top Plant Shops

The main reason for going to London was to carry out some market research and checking out how the top places in London are doing it. In my last blog post I wrote about Palm Vaults, (it’s awesome check it out) but we also visited lots of collaborative stores that incorporate plants into their interior or ethos.

Conservatory Archives

This place is picturesque and I could have spent a lot more time photographing the inside. Before you even get through the door there’s an entourage of tall palms outside, once inside everywhere you look there’s a plant! Filled to the brim with a large variety of houseplants, cacti, succulents, tillandsias, that’s just a fraction of it all!  

The Conservatory Achieves isn’t just a shop to buy plants, it’s a showroom. It showcases the impact plants can have on people. If you take a look through their Instagram you can see they’re much more than that, installing large pieces of plants displays into businesses.


Prick is London’s first ever cacti specialist shop. And from the outside the large cacti in the window draw you right in. Owner, Gynelle knows a lot about this subject and has just written a book. As well as a variety of cacti and succulents to purchase, there’s a supply of beautifully crafted planters. It’s where I found out about Chloe, the beauty behind Make & Matter.

The store is extremely light making you feel relaxed and helps you envision how they’d look in your home. Don’t be scared away from the pricing of the larger species, some of them are hundreds of years old, making them much more of a collector’s item or if you’re looking for that statement piece.


Cuemars is a collaborative space that fuses a passion for plants, interior and fashion. It’s full of quirky and interesting products with a main focus towards botanical themed home decor.

Working alongside their friends, you have terrariums next to handmade leather purses, practical clothing and other beautiful items. There’s artwork to browse through with foliage dotted around the shop. It’s lovely, it’s got everything to brighten up your interior.


Botany is a little hidden away gem. With plants outside it’s not hard to miss. Another collaborative space that is a blend of plants and skin care, home decor and even some stationary.

There was a Scandinavian feel to the store with it’s big blankets and rustic pots you could easily fill your home with. They truly want to create a space that is beautiful and as relaxing as possible.

Posted on

London: Palm Vaults

Palm Vaults is the coffee shop of my dreams. The food was so beautifully prepared and presented. With rainbow coffees and an interior that takes you away from a bustling city.

I’ve been following Palm Vaults on Insta for a little while. I was drawn to the hanging plants from the ceiling, the pale pink tones and the decor gives you a feeling of being in LA in the 80’s. I was intrigued by the lattes I saw and the colourful display of cakes and breakfast goodies. When I was planning this trip to London I had to make time to visit. Boy am I glad we went there.

Palm Vaults is mainly a vegetarian cafe, with a lot of the food being vegan and free from options too. Perfect if you’re like me and you have a shit ton of intolerances. It meant I could fully relax and not have to worry about if the food I’m eating might get contaminated or they didn’t hear my order correctly.

Firstly we had to get coffee down ourselves. (It was 10am and the caffeine headaches were already starting). Palm Vaults have a large range of speciality coffees, but with a twist. Not only did they only serve their coffees with a wide range of non-dairy alternatives, they had a whole menu of colourful and tonic lattes. I had to get one, I went for the Red Velvet. This consisted of espresso, fresh beet juice, cacao, agave, vanilla & steamed coconut milk. It was beautifully sweet and well balanced. There’s subtle hints of all the flavours coming through without any being to overbearing. The biggest down fall? The presentation, I was hoping that the latte would have been more rich in colour but looked a little muddy. Coming from a barista background I like to see well texturised milk to create latte art, but we can’t have everything can we?

Next the food. I’m a massive fan of banana bread, especially if it’s vegan. With a couple of topping to choose from the one that made my mouth water was the almond caramel & cacao nibs. I was expecting it to be super sweet and sickly but it was so incredibly more-ish. The sweetness of the almond caramel was balanced out with the bitterness of the cacao nibs.

The decor was one of the main reasons for the visit. They have a variety of hanging plants dangling from the ceiling, the pastel pink tones reflected well with the exposed brick wall and the mirrors really opened up the space. I really loved the interior, the plants could of done with a little more TLC but being a cafe they may not have the time to care for them as much as they should.