DIY Moss Terrarium

Please note, this material is provided for informational purposes only and is not a guide on how to create the designs. Please read our disclaimer.

What do you do if you break a pot? This fun DIY moss terrarium will teach you a great way to decorate your space with recyclable materials! It will brighten up your space and help you avoid throwing away useful pottery!

moss terrarium

Let’s make a moss terrarium! The first step is to pack in as much mud as you can without the mud falling off. You can press in flat shaped rocks for stairs and platforms, then put more mud on top of it for more support. To create stairs, find similar sized rocks and stack them on top of each other, with space in front of it.

moss terrarium

Here is what it first looks like after you attach the platforms. We used slate as our rock, because it is very flat. We also put some rocks along the side of the pot to look like the side of a cliff.

moss terrarium

Use a paintbrush and water to clean mud off of the rocks and the front edge of the pot so it doesn’t look too dirty.

moss terrarium

Next, before the mud dries, walk around outside to gather mosses and small plants. Gently tear the moss to the right size and press it into the mud. More is more, so put moss on every available surface to make it look more like a forest. If the soil is too dry, or not sticking, slowly add water in small amounts.

moss terrarium

For the small plants, poke a small hole and press it in. Put more moss over the exposed soil around it and press. If it is too small, first make a ball of mud around the roots of the plant and then press it in.

moss terrarium

Gently water all of the plants with a mister or with your finger. Do not dump too much water all at once or you will kill your small plants and/or sweep away the rocks and mud.

moss terrarium

You can also add some small decorations on the terrarium to create a landscape or a scene. Make sure to water it regularly! But if your plants die, you can use the same method to replace them!

Happy creating!




Herbal Potions

One of the small projects that we do is make herbal potions, tiny jars or pouches full of crushed up herbs and flowers from our herb garden. They keep away the spiders and smell very nice. We also use some of our dried herbs for cooking, to give the food more flavor.

We grow lots of herbs in our yard, so when we trim the branches, we can dry them and put them in jars to be used for potion making. Make sure to label the jars so you don’t forget what they are filled with.

DIY apothecary cabinet

You don’t want to add lavender into your potions instead of rosemary! We also use some of the dried roses to make herbal potions because they smell very good, but they are much harder to crush. 

After we finish grinding them up, we carefully pour the herbs onto wax paper, or in a tiny jar. If you pour them on wax paper, make sure to fold it carefully so the herbs don’t fall out. We also tie them up securely in twine after folding them. If you put them in jars, use a funnel or a rolled up piece of paper to make sure that you are pouring into the jar, not onto the table 

This it what they look like when they are done. You can gift them to a friend, keep them, or use them for cooking.

Happy creating!

Senecio Stellata (Cineraria) Flowers

Gardening season has started and we want to talk about one of our favorite flowers, Senecio Stellata (Cineraria).

Senecio Stellata (Cineraria)

When we moved into our home it already had flowers growing everywhere, though we did not know how much until the next Spring, when the whole yard came to life. Cineraria flowers were by far the dominant species but we also have a variety of other local species to help our local bee population.  We have several hives maintained by our neighbors including this one.

Senecio Stellata (Cineraria)

Cineraria grows out of every bit of bare soil in our yard – even in cracks in the cement walkways just like weeds!

Senecio Stellata (Cineraria) San Francisco, CA

The cineraria flowers range in color from a deep purple to an almost white blue and grow up to 4 feet tall! The leaves can get almost as big as your hand and are bright, cheerful green.

Senecio Stellata (Cineraria) San Francisco, CA

They grow in large clumps creating a sea of flowers when in full bloom! The seeds look like little pompoms and blow all over the yard. Sadly, they wilt really quickly if you cut the flowers, so we do not recommend making bouquets out of them, otherwise you will find flower petals and seeds everywhere.

Senecio Stellata (Cineraria) San Francisco, CA

Cineraria, like our native species, does not require a lot of water or fertilizer but does need some special care. The most important thing, if you want to grow native wildflowers in your yard, is not to rip out the plants when they stop blooming but let them reseed. This does make the yard look less formal and more natural for most of the year but in Spring you will be rewarded. In the Bay Area, Cineraria can grow year-round so after it seeds you can trim it down and it may bloom again next year!

Senecio Stellata (Cineraria) San Francisco, CA

Weeding is essential as grass and other weeds will crowd out Cineraria early in the season but with care and patients your yard can become a sea of flowers like ours!

Happy growing!

Our Apothecary Garden

Severus Snape and Professor Sprout are two of our favorite characters in Harry Potter and their story inspired the sister team to begin exploring potion making and herbology.

From our hidden garden in the city, the HipMonsters sister team will bring you tips on growing herbs in a city, how best to preserve and prepare your herbs, and how to have fun!  

Our herb Garden

We started our herb garden by clearing and preparing several patches in our yard that were suitable for growing herbs. We ended up with two beds that received full midday sun and others that were in the shade most of the day during summer. Our yard is really old, so to prepare the beds we dug down 24 inches and churned in lost of fresh dirt. All of the beds had good drainage.

A herb garden
The sunniest bed after planting

After the beds were done, we observed how much sun they received and how the water drained. Using this information, we researched the best herbs for each bed focusing on herbs that were well-suited for San Francisco’s climate. Here is a good article to start your research.

Sage in bloom
Sage in Bloom

Here is a list of some of the herbs that worked best:

  • Thyme
  • Yerba Buena
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Tarragon
  • Red Veined Sorrel
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Onions
  • Wild Garlic
  • Roses
  • Borage
  • Lavender
    • English
    • Spanish
  • Mint
    • Spearmint
    • Mojito
    • Peppermint
Our flower garden.
Our Flower Garden

Most of our yard has is dedicated to native plants or flowers that are good for bees. This gives us flowers nearly year round. The credit for most of the planting is the prior owner who took great care to attract bees and birds. We have tried to follow in her footsteps and have several bumble bee nests throughout our yard as well as lots of honey bees from neighboring hives.

Many of the flowers are perfect for drying but most are not good in flower arrangement because they die too quickly once cut. Here is a great article on the types of flowers in our yard. Even though most of the flowers are native, we still need to care or them and fertilize the beds a few times a year using liquid kelp. The most important thing is to never rip up the flowers after they die. We leave them to assure the seeds will spread for next year’s crop. This does look a little unkept but the next spring will make up for it.

Potions Cabinate
Potion collection

And now our Harry Potter fandom kicks in. Given our growing collection of herbs and dried flowers, we decided to make to our own potion cabinet hidden deep in our basement!

mortar and pestle grinding Herbs
Our well-used mortar and pestle

From our store we craft little bags and jars filled with ground up herbs and flowers as presents.

Bottles of Herbs and Flowers
Herbs ready for cooking

And bottle up our best dried herbs to be used in our cooking!

Happy planting!