Nano vivariums

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There are people in this world who collect plants, the way you or I might collect dolls or, let’s face it, fabric. I am a gardener myself, of the plop-and-plant variety, but I do not have the patience to raise delicate things like African violets or exotic orchids.

Obviously, Mikael Karlbom does. A resident of Stockholm, Sweden, and collector of tiny orchid species (called nanoplants, apparently), Mikael had a brilliant idea a few years ago to use discarded terra cotta pipes to grow his minute flora. He seals one end of the pipe, fills it with water, and grows the orchids and moss on the outside. Enough water seeps through the clay to keep the plants healthy without extra watering. Then he puts them in a terrarium with lights on a timer and a fan to keep the temperature just right.

The results are stunning little worlds of miniature plant life. I find them fascinating, like little fairy tale planets. They remind me of Amy Gross’ sculptures come to life. I just want to stare at them until I can finally see the little fairies who must live there and tend their tiny gardens. Visit Mikael’s Flickr to see all the photos, and let me know if you find any fairies.