Post-Nuclear Family Gift Suggestions 2013 – 6

In the Northern Hemisphere, at least, January is a good time to focus on all things indoors. (This gives the benefit of the doubt to regular readers from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as occasional readers from Argentina and McMurdo Air Force Base in Antarctica.) If you’re not getting snow, you’re getting rain, and if you aren’t getting rain, you’re getting squirrels in the attic. (Or, in my case, the greenhouse. I spooked a big one this morning that was big enough to fit with a saddle.) Even sunny days don’t do much to warm the bones, and sunny days are at a premium. Therefore, the best option is to stay inside, turn on every full-spectrum light you own, and spend January and February focusing on staying warm and sane.

The spectre of January gives lots of options for winter horticulture, which includes setting up a workstation for terrarium and miniature garden care and maintenance. Setting up a workstation means procuring the right tools, and procuring the right tools means either making your own or using ones originally designed for other purposes. The best tools for actual plant arrangement maintenance are ones already developed for bonsai and penjing, and the only question is finding the right sources.

In the past ten years, I’ve depended upon two different sources for bonsai tools and supplies, and one is practically around the corner from me. That one, Dallas Bonsai Garden, just finished a major redesign of its Web site and inventory, and it’s been a lifesaver at times. If you’re not sure where to start with tools, may I recommend the 5-piece black metal toolset?

Now, if Dallas Bonsai Garden doesn’t quite scratch the itch, then another very highly recommended source for bonsai tools and supplies is Stone Lantern, based out of Georgia. Not only do I recommend Stone Lantern for tools, supplies, and netsuke figures, but also for its bonsai-themed blog Bonsai Bark. Yes, it’s predominately aimed at serious bonsai enthusiasts, but just about everything in Bonsai Bark can act as inspiration for miniature garden and terrarium enthusiasts as well.

More to follow…

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