Small Wonders

Arrange some rocks and moss and miniature greenery in a shallow dish, then add little squirrel and a full acre of whimsey.

Dish gardens were small slices of summer that learners created at a make-and-take recently sponsored by Bedford Fields, a go-to in Bedford for homes, gardens and pets.

The event, Make Your Own Terrarium Garden, presented on March 2, offered a morning workshop for a dozen sign-ups from local towns and elsewhere as far as Vermont. Instructor Jenn Ramsey, of Lyndeborough, nursery manager for Bedford Fields, and Cathy Springmann, of Milford, nursery associate, provided for their students trays of small plants, bags of smooth stones and ceramic figurines to position above bases of porous gravel. Glass domes eventually topped the self-contained environments.

The ceramic squirrels, barely an inch tall, lurked beneath ferns. Fairy houses and little white ducks nestled beneath palm leaves. A smiling sunflower soon was secured amid some green moss.

Bill Zeolie, owner with his family since 2010 of Bedford Fields, 331 Route 101, welcomed the attendees. He said the time of year was perfect for the project, selected by most from the store’s online event’s section (

“Plants make people happier,” said Zeolie. “Terrariums are fun and you don’t have to be an expert to make one.”

Zeolie, who had acquired some landscaping acumen, was a customer of Bedford Fields before he purchased the business. He said he admired the well stocked space that offers items for people and for their pets. Products and services and supplies for gardeners of all skill levels abound. Decor and gift items beckoned him.

“House plants are really popular now, especially with young people,” said Zeolie. “And, it’s so easy to grow a deck garden, a window box, or some herbs for the kitchen.”

Bedford resident Wenkai Tsai lingered as his daughter, Irene Tsai, a fifth-grade student at McKelvie School, completed her terrarium with sprigs of green moss, a bed of flat stones and several mini-plants.

“It was fun,” said Irene. “I liked being able to choose my own plants.”

Deborah Holt, of Nashua, and Sarah Perry, of Milford, selected greenery ranging from short to tall. A four-inch palm took center stage. Shorter plants ensured a lush circumference.

Nicole Fragos, of Bedford, added a tiny white duck to her garden. Her daughter, Mackenzie, 10, another McKelvie School fifth-grader, included a smiling plastic flower. Becky Fragos traveled from New Boston to take the class with them and incorporated plants with red-veined leaves to accent some miniature palms.

“You can’t really go wrong,” said instructor Ramsey. “Just don’t overstuff the dish.”

Instructor Springmann added that some students felt a bit out of their element during their first-ever adventure into terrarium gardening. Their timidity quickly evaporated.

“They were pleasantly surprised,” said Springmann. “They were surprised at how well their projects came out.”

Information on upcoming classes including a Potted Succulent Art Class on March 23 and other offerings at Bedford Fields can be had by calling 472-8880 or online:

Loretta Jackson may be contacted via email: