I'm in talks to start a project where we design and install self-contained gardens as part of high-concept intelligent homes in Shanghai. This city is very dense and space is at a premium, so we need relatively small items with high visual impact. Maintenance of the entire home system (to include everything from security to air filtration to... well, you name it- it's a very Jetsons concept) will be performed by technicians who will take care of these as well; it's important therefore that the systems be absolutely self-sustaining, as the clients buying these systems will more likely than not want no part in their maintenance. We will therefore need to design something with auto-regulating lighting, ventilation, water and temperature control systems. It must in addition to this be visually stunning- the technology must be mostly hidden, with a modern, sleek, glass-and-steel look. We will develop these systems to be modular, so we need to get them fine-tuned.
I wanted to ask if anyone has any experience with perfecting this kind of system. I started making these things when I was about eight, building a terrarium in a 150-gallon glass box around then, but obviously that was a trial-and-error kind of endeavor. I'm envisioning taking advantage of epiphytic orchids (for the most well-known examples, Oncidium 'Twinkle' comes to mind, as well as other less common ones, Sophronitis and Masdevallia and the smaller Dendrobia) as well as such terrestrial varieties as Ludisia and Anoechtochilus. Ferns and mosses would also come in handy. I envision LED lighting and misting systems on timers. If anyone has experience with this kind of thing, I'd be grateful to correspond about your experience. Thanks.