Many of my interests are tied into one another. I enjoy primitive plants, gardening and experimenting. I’m also into urban exploring and now also geocaching — especially graveyards, ruined buildings and parks.
What I come across at many of these locations are lichens and moss. So, naturally enough, I’ve taken to collecting samples and growing them in terrariums.
This terrarium of a fern like moss, collected from Camelback Pennsylvania, came with the larvae of crane flies hidden in the substrate, one of which hatched in the bottle recently — another appears to have wiggled up near the surface and may still hatch.
I haven’t tried this yet, but my gut feel is that carbon dioxide would be an ideal insecticide to use in terrariums. It should suffocate breathing animals, like the insects, and benefit the plants. But given that larvae hatch at different times the treatments would likely need to be repeated. Since CO2 is a heavy gas I think that brewing up a batch of it in a tall jug, using vinegar on bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate), it would easily “pour” off into my terrarium. In this instance, of course, I’ll pop the cork out doors to free the fly.
Growing at the office is this jam-jar terrarium (pictured right) which contains a variety of moss I collected from Lloyds Neck, Long Island. It includes one piece of lichen that grows on the ground amongst moss (left, speckled with silver grey). It changes colour between an emerald green when wet to a silver grey when dry — a few leaves, for want of a better word, are dry in this shot. The spongey looking moss in the foreground dries to a brittle hardness yet is silky soft when moist.