Eco system in a bottle
IF YOU HAVE THE TIME, ask Juley Murrell about her business, Botanical Aquarium.
It was in 2009 after she was laid off that she decided to capitalise on the knowledge gained while studying plant pathology at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture and from all those books she read on the subject to create fish and plant gardens.
Murrell said that her interest and love for plants started in her teens and blossomed.
She really wanted to be a doctor, but she did not like blood and took this career path instead readily assisting plant lovers like herself.
“It came naturally and when I worked at the private company, people would ask me ‘why you don’t do this because you seem to know what you’re doing’.
“I found people yearned for the basic knowledge on how to pot a plant or re-pot a plant or why their plant would die even if they put it in the correct soil,” she said.
“What persons didn’t realise is that as the shoe fits you wear it, therefore, as a plant grows then a suitably sized pot is required.
“If you take a plant from a four-inch pot and you know it’s going to grow into a six-foot tree, don’t put it in a ten-inch pot. By doing that, you’re adding excessive potting medium and that means excessive moisture…which will cause it to choke and die.”
Botanical Aquarium, Murrell explained, consists of indoor and outdoor plants. Instead of using mould, she uses water or the hydroponics system.
“Even though you might have the same plant outside with mould, you can have the same one inside with water. Some people ask if the water gets mossy but I add fish and have a fish bottle garden. I use beta or fighter fish and this is what sets my garden apart from the one you might see in other places,” the businesswoman explained.
“Your style, my creation is just that. We create it for you. I picture it, create the concept, and if you like it, I go ahead with it. The plants grow inside the glass bottles which are restricted, but you don’t have to water the plants because the restriction creates condensation which in turn creates something like rainfall which waters the plant.”
She added: “If it gets too condensed, then you remove the cap so that evaporation can occur and you cork it back.”
There are certain plants, palms, and ferns she uses in the aquariums or terrariums as they would not become overgrown or choke and die.
Additionally, she explained, they must have the same basic requirements such as plants that like lots of water or moisture. The same principle applies with the fish and the lilies she uses together and she noted that when placed together the fish provided food the plants need.
“They can last forever and the only thing you would have to do is cut back the roots so it won’t crowd the bottle and block the fish from manoeuvring
With her extensive knowledge of plants, Murrell is quite willing to share that and her zeal and joy for them. She said the only prohibitive factor is funding to organise and host a workshop but she would really like to do so. (GBM)