“Trust me,” says Tovah Martin. “You might think you need a vacation, or a drink, or a fast car. But really, all you need is a terrarium.”
Author of the hardcover book, “The New Terrarium,” which was just named to the Wall Street Journal's list of best-selling gardening books, Martin is passionate about what she calls “mini-biospheres” – a world of mini-gardens under glass.
“My whole shtick is … if everyone learned to do this, it would be so relaxing, there would be no war anymore,” laughs the bubbly Roxbury, CT, gardener who is the author of a dozen books on gardening as well as a freelance journalist for national publications such as “Country Gardens,” “Garden Design,” and Oprah’s “O” magazine.
Martin will present “The New Terrarium,” at the , on Saturday, May 21, at noon, at the in West Hartford. She will lecture on the materials needed and the steps to create a terrarium. Anybody of any age can easily do this, she says.
After her lecture, Martin will sign copies of her book. The book provides readers step-by-step instructions on how to build a garden under glass with beautiful photographs by Kindra Clineff to inspire creativity for those without a green thumb.
One of America’s best-known garden writers and lecturers, Martin blogs on gardening topics and has an international following. She also crisscrosses the country lecturing and leading terrarium workshops. In a recent article in The Daily Telegraph of London, she wrote, “People need nature in their lives. A terrarium lets everyone access their inner gardener — no matter where they live.”
Martin says she started making terrariums as a child and has more than 20 in her home. “I’ve become a missionary on terrariums,” she acknowledges in a phone interview, adding that she receives thank-you notes from people whose lives have been enhanced by bringing nature inside – whether in their homes or even small office cubicles – where there’s little natural light.
On her seven-acre organic property, Martin has a large garden comprising perennials, herbs, berries and vegetables. Her garden has also been on tour to benefit various non-profit organizations.
Martin studied horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden and honed her expertise with tropical greenhouses by spending 25 years working at Logee’s Greenhouses in Danielson. She also worked as an editorial producer on the PBS television gardening series “Cultivating Life,” and appeared on the CBS “Sunday Early Show.”
Martin was awarded an honorary membership in The Garden Club of America as well as the Litchfield Garden Club. She was named one of the 50 Most Influential People and one of the top 10 garden educators by “People, Places, Plants” magazine. Also on her impressive list of credits is a Gold Medal awarded by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.
She is finding time to write another book based on her personal experiences as a gardener, but is not ready to disclose details. She’s already written a dozen gardening books, and is particularly well known for authoring "Tasha Tudor’s Garden" which takes readers readers into the magical gardens of children’s author and illustrator Tasha Tudor, who lived in a hand-hewn house patterned after a centuries-old farmhouse. Martin also wrote “Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts.”
Martin credits the librarians at the Hartford Library, who originally came up with the idea for workshops on terrarium-building and to teachers who then brought the project to children in inner-city schools.
“Thanks to them, terrarium workshops are now held all throughout the country,” said Martin. She notes on her blog: “Not only will a terrarium give your creativity a sparkling outlet, but it will bring you peace ... a terrarium is fully capable of soaking up the frustrations in your world. Don’t believe me? Try one.”
Tovah Martin will appear on Saturday, May 21, at noon, at the Connecticut Book Festival, at the University of Connecticut Greater Hartford campus in West Hartford.