1510 SE 44th Ave. #101
Portland, OR 97215
New Holiday Hours:
Monday Through Saturday — 10 am to 8 pm
Sunday — Closed to Enjoy Church & Family Time
Welcome to a "True Terrarium" Shop
Green Thumbs For Sale!
Our best customers are often folks who think they have a “black thumb.” They have been frustrated by live plants in the past. Their tropical plants looked great when they bought them, but then they quickly faded. What went wrong? It's not your thumb. The culprit may have been too much water, or too little water, too much light, or too little light. It could have been a cat chewing on the leaves. Or a toddler pulling it out of the pot. Then, as if those challenges were not enough, there may have been an invasion of houseplant pests. These challenges are real. But there is a fool-proof solution: the true terrarium. Not the open glass planter, but the closed, wet, science-based true terrarium of the 18th century.
True terrariums solve ALL of these housplant problems a once. In fact, (as we teach in our terrarium classes 5 times a week!), the original terrariums were invented in the early 1800s specifically to keep tropical plants alive during those long, hazardous ocean voyages from one continent to another. If terrariums could allow all those delicate tropical plants to survive crossing vast oceans in all kinds of weather, they can certainly keep them happy in your home or office today.
True terrariums protect tropical plants from:
Dry air caused by modern heating and air-conditioning
House dust that often carries deadly molds and fungi
Rapidly changing temperatures from cold winter drafts
Over watering and under watering by watering them only once every 3 months (or less)
Curious cats (and protecting cats from eating what could be inedible or even poisonous plants)
Curious toddlers (while still allowing them to enjoy the wonder of all the beautiful plants and colorful frogs)
Insect pests that might otherwise infest them.
Our Terrariums really work. That's why we can guarantee them with our No-Fault Warranty. "It any planting fails to thrive for any reason, we will replant it for you free of charge."
So, while our best customers are folks who thought they had a “black thumb,” our next best customers are people who love plants, but who are just so busy they don't have time to take care of them. They are urban professionals who make good money, usually in creative or high tech careers that demand a lot of their time. They travel alot, often for weeks at a time. They exercise, walk their dogs, cook for dinner parties and maintain a heavy social calendar. They live in small apartments or lofts with limited space. So, they want live plants, but with a "small footprint" and without the hassle of having to water, mist and feed them. It's okay. We understand.
Our true terrariums solve all these problems too. Our totally sealed terrariums never need to be watered. Our apothecary jar terrariums only need to have their self-watering cycle recharged every 3 months. And, by bringing your terrarium back to our shop once in a while for a tune up, we can provide complete maintenance (just for tips) to keep your terrarium healthy and happy for years. All you have to do is enjoy it.
Our next best customers are people who love to give truly extraordinary gifts to their friends and family. They like the idea that no two terrariums are ever alike. Our diversity of style and price is huge. Because every terrarium planting is guaranteed, they can give any terrarium they choose, knowing that the recipient is never going to be disappointed, not now, not ever. Each terrarium, with its ongoing maintenance, is one gift that really does keep on giving.
Our customers are also looking for a wonderful experience with live plants. They want to know more about the plants and how they grow, how the terrarium was discovered and then invented, how the terrarium actually works, and how they can design and plant and maintain their own true terrarium. That's why so many of our customers take our Build Your Own Terrarium Class over and over again. (It's just $60 per person the first time they attend, and then its FREE after that as often as they like. Our alumni simply pay for whatever they choose plant.)
Many of our clients also enjoy owning and caring for one or more of our cute little poison dart frogs. They add a finishing touch to any of our larger terrariums. It's like a patch of tropical rain forest in your own home or office. Please Note: Our dart frogs are NOT actually poisonous, though they would be if they were living out in the jungle and eating the bugs there that carry the toxins. All our frogs are raised in captivity on flightless fruit flies, so they are completely harmless—but no less colorful.
Sorry, but you can only add Poison Dart Frogs to our larger terrariums.
For the sake of each dart frog's health and happiness we will only add frogs to our larger terrariums. They need enough room to run around, climb and hunt flightless fruit flies (which we keep in constant supply for our customers). We have the largest selection of beginner level poison dart frogs in the Portland Metro area. Come meet them.
Oh, and one more thing, we have the largest inventory of glass terrarium containers anywhere in the country. We have dovens of sizes and shapes to meet any style and budget. Our terrariums are so attractive, they allow hobbyists to bring their hobbies out of the backroom and into the front room where they can be admired and enjoyed by guests as well as owners. Come and see for yourself.
There is something here for everyone, from our tiniest terrarium vials to our popular desktop terrariums and right on up to our replicas of the classic Wardian Case terrarium. Just drop by and pick out the perfect gifts for every occasion. Or, buy two seats in our Plant Your Own Terrarium class and DO SOMETHING TOGETHER! Sometimes that's the best gift of all.
If you can't come in to pick the gift out yourself, just click the button below and we will send an Email Gift Card, with a note from you, to whomever you choose. It's good toward any terrarium, or terrarium class you choose. And, it's quick and easy.
We also have "Frequent Flyer" Terrariums!
If ytiu are dreiving you can take our terrariums anywhere. But what if you have toi fly home? "Frequent Flyer Terrariums" are our small or medium size terrariums that travel well as a carry-on through the airlines within the contiguous United States.
They are normally our shorter, low-center-of-gravity terrarium bubble balls, apothecary jars and whiskey bottles. They fit nicely into our gift bags with an ample nest of soft tissue to ride in. That way they sail right through security and onto the plane.
So, now you can purchase a terrarium here in our shop, or, attend one of our classes to plant your own terrarium, and take it home with you on an airplane. It's a great way to keep a little bit of Portland with you wherever you live.
Please note: We cannot ship our PLANTED terrariums. (And fortunately for us, neither can Amazon.) That means all our customers must come to our shop here in Portland, Oregon to actually pick up their terrariums. It also means we get to meet you. So, whether you travel by car, bus, train or plane, our terrariums will travel well with you. Just keep them from getting too much heat or cold , and they will be fine.
If you are FLYING home, be sure to ask us what we recommend for air travelers before you make your purchase or choose what to plant in one of our classes. We will also provide you with the Gift Bags and a big nest of tissue for safe travel as needed, all at no extra charge.
The Wardian Terrarium Case: King of All Terrariums
Dr. Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward discovered the terrarium effect in 1827. Soon after he invented the Waardian Case as a means of transporting delicate plants across the vast oceans. (I tell the whole story during each terrarium class.) That's why, on the highest end of our line, we design and build extraordinary custom replicas of the original Wardian Terrarium Case design. They provide healthy homes, not only for larger tropical plants, but also for our cute little poison dart frogs.
Now you can have a beautiful rain forest in your own home or workplace, and succeed in keeping even otherwise difficult plants — like miniature blooming plants, exotic tropical vines, forest-floor ferns and lush jungle mosses — alive and well.
We have standard sizes in the shop, but we can also build these fine wood and glass cases to fit your interests, your space, your style and to some degree, your budget. They aren't cheap, but you really get your money's worth with a Wardian Case.
What is the Shop's Connection With Theodore Roosevelt?
The namesake of our terrarium shop is Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, from 1900 to 1908.
The connection with our shop two-fold:
First, as a young man, Roosevelt, and his younger brother Elliot, were most likely into terrariums. They turned their bedroom into a full-scale natural history museum. In the mid 1870s, that would have included. not only rocks and minerals, fossils, pressed plant specimens and taxidermy. but also live plants and small amphibians in what people at that time called a Wardian Case. These large terrarium cabinets were a ubiquitous piece of furniture in the drawing rooms of nearly every upper class household right up to 1910. Roosevelt, being an avid enthusiast in Natural History and science, would certainly have had at least one, if not several terrariums. The odds are especially high that Roosevelt would have had terrariums as a necessary part of his "museum." He was an amazing man.
The second connection with Roosevelt and our terrarium shop is that I serve audiences large and small by speaking in character as Theodore Roosevelt. I do this routinely for schools, libraries, youth groups, scout troops and various business and education conferences. But what I really enjoy most is helping out at fund raisers for conservation, hunting and good citizenship groups that Roosevelt would want to support.
If you, or anyone your know, would like to host An Hour with Theodore Roosevelt, for educational purposes or as a fund raiser, (in either my Presidential, or my African Safari period attire), please contact me here at the shop and I will try to work your event into my schedule. My fees are very reasonable, and I would be deeeelighted to serve you in any way I can.