Emma Terrell explains how to introduce natural elements into your spaceEmma Terrell explains how to introduce natural elements into your spaceRead MoreThe Vancouver Sun – RSS Feed

Emma Terrell explains how to introduce natural elements into your space

Emma Terrell, founder of Ottawa-based The Urban Botanist. Photo by Supplied /PNG

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Sometimes a person’s path in life is determined early, even if a few detours should pop up along the way.

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“My passion from a young age was anything green and growing,” recalls Emma Terrell, founder of Ottawa-based The Urban Botanist. “I basically got into the world of moss walls and terrariums through genuine interest for my own life. I started seeing the other interests picking up through friends and family members and my network of other people wanting to bring greenery into their space and feeling that sort of disconnect with nature similar to where I was at that moment. That’s kind of how The Urban Botanist came to be.”

Introducing greenery into indoor spaces, Terrell believes, is a way for urban dwellers to reconnect with nature and introduce calming elements and colours, based in nature, into their living spaces.

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Emma Terrell creates a moss wall. Photo by Supplied /PNG

Terrell, who will be on stage as part of The Vancouver Sun Gardeners’ School at the BC Home + Garden Show, will demonstrate how showgoers can implement these ideas into their homes. Moss walls, which Terrell’s company produces, are not something she recommends as a DYI project just because of the scale and cost. Rather, she suggests, a moss frame which is significantly more manageable. She’s quick to point out that their projects are not true living walls or frames but constructed with preserved natural materials, eliminating any upkeep. That means no watering or replacing dying plants.

Creating a moss frame is quite straightforward yet creative too. The final result is a reflection of the materials used. Terrell advises using a variety of mosses (the internet is a good source for different species), foliage, and even dried or preserved flowers.

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“All you really need is a frame,” she says. “Ideally, a frame that doesn’t have any glass in it. And one that has a little bit of depth too, so that you can glue the moss down within the frame, so it’s almost recessed inside of the frame.”

A moss frame designed by The Urban Botanist’s Emma Terrell. Photo by Supplied /PNG

Grab a glue gun (and plenty of glue sticks), and you’re all set to create a moss frame.

“I like to lay all those elements out first and visually get an idea of what the piece is going to look like before I use any glue,” Terrell explains. “And then I’ll go section by section. I’ll start in on a corner and slowly start to apply glue, press those elements down in my frame, and almost like a puzzle, place all the puzzle pieces together and really bring it to life.”

She adds that you can incorporate other materials like wood, stones, or preserved mushrooms.

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For those wishing to bring a living garden component to their space, Terrell suggests creating a terrarium garden. It’s a way to have greenery indoors all year round.

“A terrarium is basically a snapshot of an ecosystem that’s been captured inside of a glass vessel,” she observes. “It’s a really cool way to get creative.”

“A terrarium is basically a snapshot of an ecosystem that’s been captured inside of a glass vessel,” says Emma Terrell, founder of The Urban Botanist. Photo by Supplied /PNG

Choose plants based on the amount of light in the room where the terrarium will be situated: a bright room for light-loving plants and a darker room for those not requiring as much light.

She suggests adding visual interest with shells, driftwood or pieces of sea glass you collected on a beachcombing trip. “It’s a great way to bring those natural elements, even bring those memories back to life in this living ecosystem.”

For more tips, Terrell offers online tutorials and hosts a series exploring her passion for nature on her YouTube channel.

Emma Terrell is presenting on the Vancouver Sun Gardeners’ School stage at the BC Home + Garden Show on Saturday, March 18, at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.

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