Moss-age in a bottle

It’s been a long, cold 2009 here in the northeast. All the more reason to have a little winter garden. In a wine bottle.

Last fall, I discovered and was immediately inspired by the work of Paula Hayes, an artist in the East Village. What captivated my attention were her beautiful terrariums, exquisite miniatures of nature (which you can see in excellent photography on her website).

mossage2So I did my best to replicate her art using my own medium: wine. My five-year-old son and I went into the woods last fall and collected two kinds of moss. He made his own terrarium in a glass cookie jar; I made mine in a bottle of Domaine Tempier rose 2007, my favorite rose from last summer. Unlike most wine bottles, rose bottles are clear to show off the eye-popping color of the wine. This also makes them better terrariums!

mossage3I first added dirt to the bottle. Then I ripped off chunks of moss, compressed them and shoved them through the wine bottle’s neck with a chop stick leftover from a previous takeout. A few pokes and prods later, I had them all lined up. The only problem was a bit of schmutz and condensation on the upper part of the glass; I’ll have to drop by Paula’s studio and ask for tips on terrarium schmutz removal. But now at least all the moss pieces have actually grown together to form a rich green carpet. And there you have it: mossage in a bottle.

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27 Responses to “Moss-age in a bottle”

  1. That’s such a fun craft project. I am blown away by Paula’s work, the photography certainly adds to the presentation. You already mentioned my favorite part of this concept: a Spring Garden in the middle of winter. It’s such a pleasant way to liven up the indoors as the snow mounts outside. Now if only I could shove all the pieces of a miniature ship into a bottle, and it would grow into the model over time.

  2. I’ve seen high tartrate crystal sediment but this is ridiculous. Tempier is known, however, for elevated terroir levels in their wines. . .

  3. Hahaha Steve. That was great.

  4. […] have another creative idea for adding some greenery to your desk, sounds off in the comments below. Moss-age In A Bottle [via […]

  5. […] added fictive intent for adding whatever foliage to your desk, sounds soured in the comments below. Moss-age In A Bottle [via […]

  6. Won’t the moss just keep growing until it fills up the whole bottle?

    That would look cool actually, a spilt bottle of moss.

  7. […] have another creative idea for adding some greenery to your desk, sounds off in the comments below. Moss-age In A Bottle [via SlashFood] var ecov = “sh”; document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript […]

  8. […] have another creative idea for adding some greenery to your desk, sounds off in the comments below. Moss-age In A Bottle [via […]

  9. What a great project … and great for white decor! Thanks for sharing! Cheers!

  10. […] Terrarium in a Bottle […]

  11. If i remember right, try doing it by taking a little moss, and a little yogurt or buttermilk, and a fair helping of potting soil, giving it a healthy mashing together (or sacrifice a blender to it) and that will quickly give you a mat of moss. Google it and you can find tons of resources….but I’m going to be doing this soon.

  12. great idea, I really wish there where some bigger photos. It’s pretty hard to say how this turned from these pics.

  13. Glad so many people are interested in this! Byron, that’s an interesting idea to grow the moss inside the bottle. While I haven’t actually grown moss via that method, I’ve read that it can take a while so patience may be in order. Also, moss does tend to prefer shade so you may not want to place the terrarium in the sun for prolonged periods. It also makes it great greenery for offices with little sunlight! I have watered it once in six months FYI.

    Johnson – sorry for the small photos. But it turned out well. The only thing I would do differently is to put the soil in the bottle on its side rather than standing up since it was hard to remove the dirt from the top side of the bottle once it was laying flat.

  14. Well, seems I need to go finish that bottle of Riesling so I can make a terrarium. Also, there will always be some condensation inside the bottle, so while cleaning the schmaltz might be a good idea, don’t worry too much about the water. You might try one of the pipe cleaners with the big tuft on the end. that way you can bend it as you need it.

  15. […] Moss-age In A Bottle [via SlashFood] […]

  16. […] Moss-age in a bottle: Before you throw away another wine bottle you may wish to have a look at this simple and fun project. It allows you to turn a empty wine bottle in to a terrarium for instant greenery! [via lifehacker] […]

  17. You actually want the condensation. It’s one of the signs that the terrarium is working as an ecosystem. As for the schmutz, a long, damp cotton swab will go along way towards cleaning it off.


  19. hi
    i have a small garden in 25 litre wine bottle. there are some water loving greens and moss.

    a few years ago i was planting good old Chlorophytum in normal wine bottles, as gifts. Chlorophytum is growing like crazy, especially in a good maintained bottle.

    But the whole idea is to PUT A CORK and seal the bottle after the environment will stabilize. You can tell that it is the right time, when during the day drops of vaporizing water will stop gathering on the glass inside, showing that there is not too much water. Biology of the plant tells that at night plant is taking the O2 and giving out CO2. During the day plant is taking CO2 and gives the O2 out. So, the perfect sustainable circle begins.

    Good luck!

  20. Dave – Thanks, will try it and hope not to lose the cotton swab in there!

    Kokain- wow, 25 liter wine bottle–nice! One thing is not to have too much water in the terrarium. Many terrarium plants die because of too much water. So you can take the cork out to let some water evaporate and then seal it up when it is in balance to maintain the ecosystem.



  21. One thing that happened to me was quite interesting. After a couple of months in the bottle, my Chlorophytum was SO big that I had to plant it out somewhere.
    I took the cork out, went to the kichen to grab some tools… it took me about 30 minutes. WHen I came back plant was already dying- getting greyish-bluish, finally looked liked like a letucce after conatact with something hot.

    Plants in the bottles are so fragile that it’s necessary to look for slow growing species to avoid touching them, opening bottles etc for as long as it’s possible. 🙁

  22. […] does not take a rocket scientist to see that the process used here by Dr. Vino is fairly straightforward: gather a few kinds of moss, clean out the wine bottle, shove in the moss […]

  23. […] Vino shows us a rather simple but yet funny and “vivid” DIY project on the wine talk that goes down easy blog – the moss landscape in a […]

  24. […] came across a post today on lifehacker about making a terrarium in a wine bottle, this got me looking around at different sites about making terrariums and there are some pretty […]

  25. Looks awesome I’m going to try it. Not sure if I can find moss amongst snow, but worth the try.

  26. […] Wine Bottle Terrarium – Dr. Vino […]

  27. […] have another creative idea for adding some greenery to your desk, sounds off in the comments below. Moss-age In A Bottle [via […]


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