Welcome to my new blog!...brought to you by means of my newly constructed website (a task I had been meaning to undertake for quite some time now!). For my first blog entry, I'd like to share how a simple change in space configuration, and a couple of added elements, can really improve the quality of one's life. I'd like to tell you about my "terrarium window".....
For many years my desk sat in front of a wall, with another wall on my right side, and the windows of my office/studio located about 15’-20’ away on my left. I didn’t like that my desk was so far from the windows, however this was the best location for the desk at the time, considering the other office/studio furniture that I needed to accommodate.
Then, late last year, I acquired a new desk, and I also downsized my collection of office/studio furniture, thus prompting me to reconsider my furniture layout. It didn’t take long for me to notice that I would now be able to place my desk next to one of the windows. Yay! This is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. And I cannot begin to tell you how much joy this window brings to me every day! I’ve come to refer to it as my “terrarium window”…partially due to the fact that there is a good sized shrub right outside the window, and also because there are now many creatures who visit this shrub on a daily basis, giving this room feature a “terrarium” feel.
Directly outside this window is a Fatsia japonica shrub (aka Japanese Aralia), with luscious large bright green leaves which completely fill the view of the window. This had never been one of my favorite shrubs in the past, but I've come to appreciate its fine qualities now that we literally "sit" next to each other all day when I'm working in my office/studio. I feel like we are close friends now, and I like to keep the window open whenever weather allows so that I can hear the breeze rustling the large leaves, as well as hear the wind in the large pine tree across the street...and the occasional distant sound of a train, bringing with it a feeling of a time gone by.
Birds are regular visitors to the shrub, flitting about the leaves in search of small insects to make a meal of. In the winter I hung a seed bell within the bush, made of a special seed mix to entice migrating songbirds to visit my terrarium window (niger/thistle seed is key!). It took awhile for the birds to find the seed bell, but find it they did, and I had white crowned sparrows and goldfinches visiting, feeding, and singing throughout the winter, just 4' from where I sat, with nothing but a window screen between us. I also hung a small hummingbird feeder at the outer edge of the shrub, where there is more room for the hummers to whir around and make their approach, entertaining me with their buzzing sounds and athletics, as well as amazing me with their beauty.
But by far, my favorite thing about this terrarium window is the play of sunlight and shadows on the leaves of the shrub, as evening approaches and the sun angles in from the west. Watching the dancing leaves and shadow play brings me joy and a feeling of peace. Such a wonderful thing to experience at the end of a hectic work day. And for those times when I need to be soothed while working late and burning the midnight oil (a frequent occurrence!), I've hung a large decorative lantern from the eaves, so that it sits within the open center space of the shrub, and I placed a couple of battery operated candles (with remote control) within the lantern. It's now a magical scene in the evening, and it was easy on the budget and so simple to achieve. I can also add to the “scene” if desired…maybe string some garland, or add some fairy lights.
Moving my desk next to this window has turned out to be one of the best things I've done in a very long time. It has truly improved the quality of my work life. If you have a window (with a view to nothing in particular), and a desk that you work at, or a favorite chair that you sit in while reading, you may want to consider looking into moving your set-up to be near the window, and possibly placing or installing some plants right outside (if they don’t already exist there). And don't forget to invite some feathered friends....and add a decorative element or two if you wish. Your terrarium window can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Either way, it will bring a lovely new energy into your day.
And if you end up needing help in designing a space like this, I'll be most happy to assist!