Basic preparation is much the same for either. Most people like to hide the soil by first lining the bottom and sides up to the soil level with green moss. There should be about hah0 an inch of charcoal and an inch of gravel in the bottom, with a couple of inches of a good loose soil on top of this. A mixture of loam, sand and leafmold is ideal. Contour the ground a little so it isn't perfectly flat, perhaps with a hilly background on one side and possibly boulder outcroppings.
For the woodland scene, a walk through woods or fields may provide you with such things as seedling evergreens, mosses, lichens, tiny rock ferns, hepaticas, violets, partridge-berries, bloodroot, and Quaker ladies. Wildflower dealers can also supply all of these and many more, and some dealers have little terrariums of ferns and wildflowers all made up.
For the conservatory garden your best source is a florist or a dealer in house plants. Suitable are plants such as African violets, everblooming begonias, a variety of small ferns, philo-dendron, peperomias, wandering Jew, miniature ivies, baby tears, oxalis, impatiens, and coleus. Slips from your own house plants will take root and grow nicely in this greenhouse atmosphere.
Planting the terrarium is a delicate matter, and you will have to use your influence to keep the planting from being overcrowded. This should be a little scene in miniature-not a jungle.
To maintain such a garden, put it in a north window or some place where it gets plenty of light but not direct sun. A glass cover is kept on it most of the time, but must be raised whenever the glass clouds up. Very little watering will be required. When you do water, do it with a fine spray, and sparingly. Overwatering will cause mold and decay.
The aquarium garden should have particular appeal for the child interested in goldfish, for here he can have both
guppies and garden. Aqua-scaping can be quite varied and exciting, even in a small aquarium. A look at an aquatic nursery's catalog reveals a long list of plants in widely varying forms that can make the under-water garden an extremely interesting composition.
Here, too, the child may have more living creatures than just fish. The scavengers recommended for keeping the water clean, such as various snails, clams, newts and baby turtles, have entertainment value as well.
An aura of romance and adventure may also be imparted to the ocean-bottom scene. There are treasure chests, anchors, rum kegs, galleons and deep-sea divers, all made to stand up, and stay down, under water.