Keeping indoor plants is a common thing. But the intent of this project is to create a dense, rich looking scape, rather that just placing pots in a shelf.
1. Making the container
Rather than looking for container that fit the place, I wanted to make one for my shelf dimensions. The shelf space itself is pretty compact and I wanted to use the most of it. So I took the measurements and made a box out of sun board. Used a combination of silicon and cyanoacrylic to glue everything together.
2. Selecting plants
The place the plant are going to be in will be compact and not much sunlight and wind reach for sufficient time of the day. Should mostly relay on artificial lights. And in terms of water, even though they will be frequently watered, the tub is not deep enough to retain much water and hence the plants should be a bit on the tough and resilient side.
Since I am going for a forest look, a plant with smaller leaves will add to the miniature and dense look of the scene. The plants I found in my local nursery that met my criteria are fern and asparagus fern.
Initially I wanted to go for a old civilization ruins look, something like Mayan or rock heads of Easter island. But these are a bit delicate in terms and plants needed and takes some time for collecting the tiny artifacts. And you would have already seen in the images, I found a good looking Buddha statue and made it the center piece of my setup. The Lost World of Knowledge and Nirvana.
No Buddha setup is complete without bamboo. So also added a bunch of lucky/bonsai bamboo (its not actually bamboo, it is from Dracaena family).
Topped all the visible soil with live moss from garden. The green moss with tiny plants in it will add the miniature forest flora look I was going for.
3. Putting it all together
The first thing I did was to cover all the internal surface with a thin plastic sheet, to prevent water from leaking out. Next was to get a sense of where the plants should go in terms of arrangement. I also had a small mist maker that will add a cool effect to the entire setup, keeping the moss hydrated at same time.
The Bamboo needs a loose and moist soil, but all the other plants in the setup are grown in red muddy soil. So I created a partition in the middle where the bamboos go. This section will have coco peat as medium for bamboo and the rest will have same soil as the plants came in.
A layer of these jelly beans were added, to retain some water and to support plants if watering is missed sometime. This was first intended for the bamboo, but decided it will be an additional layer of backup for other plants as well. Since the container is small and over watering will ruin the furniture, this is good to have.
Finally added the fern, topped it with soil and gave it a good watering. After a day, I placed the moss patches in the places where soil was visible and provide a good green surface look.