House Plants, Experts and Indoor Plant Lovers

Meet Terrarium Expert, Charlene of Botanista

Terrariums and everything you need to know about creating a DIY terrarium

For the love of Terrariums

I sat down recently with Charlene Maney of Botanista, the botanical emporium specialising in everything terrariums to chat about her business, her love of plants and how she’s so much happier working with terrariums and teaching others to play and be creative.
Located in the popular, coastal suburb of Port Noarlunga Charlene set up shop over 5 years ago on Gawler Street. We sat and chatted with Charlene to hear about her journey into the world of terrariums, how it came about, where she got her inspiration from and what do they do at Botanista.

Terrarium expert owner Charlene of Botanista

What was your inspiration to open a store dedicated to plants?
Originally I had always loved plants and was looking for an ‘living’ alternative to flowers and began to dabble in terrariums, terrarium kits and kokedamas and terrarium workshops. I began running these workshops from home (for 4 and a half years). Then after my mum passed away I threw myself into a big project which was setting up Botanista. I was looking for a change in my career and sick of commuting into town so set myself a goal to work much closer where I could choose to walk if I wanted to.

When did you first become interested in plants, the type of plants and why?
I always had some form of interest and now I think back it was probably my old neighbour, living next door to my childhood home, Mr Wilson. He was always in his garden and we would help him pull out the fresh produce from the ground. It really gave me a love of gardening and an appreciation for fresh vegetables. Then as a teenager I loved collecting plants, making my own herbal teas and I guess that all gave me a life long love for plants and gardening.

DIY Terrarium plant bar at Botanista

What problem are you hoping to solve for your customers?
I want them to have a fun and creative experience. I believe, as adults, we don’t play enough and I encourage them to play through plants (which was my inspiration for the Terrarium Bar). When people have a great experience they form a bond and hold it close to their heart, fostering the feeling of fun, creative and connection with creating their own terrariums.

What drives you to do what you do?
I truly love what I do. I walk in the door and go to my happy place. I love making all of my own decisions. Working at Botanista is always fun and I am the healthiest I have ever been in my career. I love working for myself and inspiring my customers to have so much fun in our terrarium workshops.

Terrarium DIY Workshops and kits

When you look back at your journey of Botanista, is it as you had planned or has it taken a different path?
At the time I set up the terrarium shop I was very limited by fund and had so many unexpected expenses but being the very determined person that I am to work hard and make my vision happen I have to say that now the shop is more what I had originally imagined and envisioned. It was evolved a lot over the 5 years and the covid impact has taken me in different directions but ultimately, Botanista today is what I had pictured.

Terrarium plants DIY workshops

What does an average day in your life look like?
I will come into the shop in the morning, check all of the plants in the store for watering, dead leaves and so forth. I work on any custom orders that have been placed and finish them off; I place any terrarium stock orders that need to be done as well as checking what stock we have, what needs topping up or replacing, prepping for upcoming workshops with specific stock for these; I’ll do some book keeping where required; I make more terrariums for the floor stock; Answer any customer queries as well as serving them and before the week is out I’ll prepare for any weekend terrarium workshops I am running. I have Mondays off for a healthy work-life balance and this gives me time for me.

Plant therapy, work life balance

What are some habits you have created to get where you are now?
I have had to set boundaries for myself. Mondays is ‘my day’ where I do minimal (if any) work and set aside the day for me to do activities for me, such as dance classes and general relaxing. I am highly motivated and love new project so I always have something on the go. I am much better are recognising the signs when my mind and body needs rest. For example, I will have days when I am more creative and other days when I can handle more mentally challenging exercises such as the bookkeeping! Some days I know I just need to do things that make me happy and that’s okay! As a female business owner it’s very easy to feel guilty that we aren’t doing it all but I am much better at looking after myself and letting expectations, like this, go.

Indoor plant inspiration

If you were to start over, what would you do differently?
I would have a bookkeeper right from the get go! I would also be more strict with quarantining income for different things, such as a rent allocation, loan allocation, stock and so forth. This would have helped rather than taking from a pool of funds all the time (which was limited at times). It’s also okay to not do everything and I’ve realised you can employ other people who can do just as good as you, or better. Letting go is okay with me now!

Terrarium care tips

If you could give your best plant/terrarium care tip what would it be?
The biggest mistake with terrariums is under watering. Open terrariums are much like an outside garden, they benefit from one deep water less often than regular shallow watering. They really do mimic large gardens.

Terrarium plants, glass terrarium DIY

Botanista is a botanical emporium specialising in everything terrariums. They have a unique Terrarium Bar where you can DIY your own terrarium. Botanista also specialise in plants, pots and botanical gifts. Join one of their Terrarium workshops in store, based on 18 Gawler Street, Port Noarlunga.

You can check out the Botanista website for their online terrarium supplies and workshop information.