Many, many years ago I had a dream that my sister Katrina and I owned a little terrarium shop full of hanging glass spheres full of green life. This dream will always be in my mind and it inspired me to do this little Shakespeare activity with the girls. Shakespeare was a country boy and knew his herbs and plants. He always incorporated his medicinal knowledge and herbal lore into his plays. As The Little Ladies and I read Shakespeare we always stop and talk about the plants he writes about; it’s fun to see them recognize the names of the plants.
To make a Shakespeare Herbal Globe (ha, kind of a bad play on words) you need:
glass ornaments- the thicker the glass the better (I found mine at Michael’s craft store)
charcoal (from a pet store)
herbs from Shakespeare’s plays, preferably with roots, but cuttings are OK
chopstick or pencil
Carefully sprinkle a couple pinches of charcoal into the glass sphere. Add soil using a funnel to help guide the soil into the sphere. The Little Ladies used a rubber tree leaf as their funnel, silly girls, however it did work!
Add the herbs. We used ones with the roots already formed. This is easy to find with mint and thyme. If you are using cuttings, pull off the bottom leaves and insert the bare part of the stem into the soil. Use a chopstick or pencil to bury and arrange your plants.
Add a sprinkle of water and the terrariums are ready to go. Be warned though, sometimes this little habitat gets too warm and it can crack the glass. I have had a few do this. Last year I tried garden soil and moss from my yard, each sphere cracked within 12 hours! These little herb terrariums haven’t failed us yet though! Personally, I wouldn’t put the caps back on, this will prohibit even more warm air to escape. We are planning to make wire hangers to hold the Shakespeare herbal globes; they would look so cute hanging from the window!
Here are some beautiful words of Shakespeare and click here to read more with a list of herbs mentioned in his plays.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows
Quite overcanopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with elgantine. (-A Midsummer’s Night Dream)
There is rosemary, that’s for remembrance:
pray, love, remember: and there is pansies, that’s for thoughts. ( -Hamlet)
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet. (- Romeo and Juliet)
I am that flower,
That columbine. (- Love’s Labour Lost)
Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ th’ sun,
And with him rises weeping; these are flow’rs
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age. (-The Winter’s Tale)