Plant Terrariums: The Rebirth of Wardian Cases
Almost everyone has heard of or has seen plant terrariums either online, at mall carts or beach boardwalk kiosks. But did you know that the modern day terrariums were actually first "invented" in 1827 unintentionally by a man who wanted to observe a moth hatch but instead noticed that fern seedlings were sprouting in the same moist jar? The sprouted seedling continued to thrive in the jar without care for four years! The man credited for this discovery was Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward. Ward believed that the air pollution caused by the industrial revolution at the time made it difficult for seedling to sprout in the open air. The success of fern seedling sprouting and thriving in the closed glass container made those glass containers very popular. People were housing their most beloved exotic plants in them. The closed glass containers, named after its "inventor," for a very long time were known as Wardian Cases. You can read more on Ward's book from this free Google Book. Wardian Cases were widely welcomed during the Victorian era prominently in England. Almost everyone had a Wardian Case in his or her home. However, over the decades, their popularity faded.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org
Wardian Cases of the Victorian era were made of sheets of glass framed together by metal. This vintage style terrarium is regaining attention recently because of the shabby chic trend.
Photo Credit: gizmodo.com.au
The modern day “re-make” of the Wardian Case are constructed of sheets of clear glass and framed with metal. These sleek geometric terrariums are also becoming a hit.
In 2011, Wardian Cases made its combat with a new name and a fresh look: Plant Terrariums. They were simple modern globular designs made of hand blown glass. The new plant terrarium containers, as opposed to the original closed hard edged glass cases, have soft round shapes. These terrariums were originally created for tea light candles. The most popular plant terrariums consist of multiple openings: one main opening in the front for inserting the plant (candle) and two smaller opening at the top for air. Creative designers used plants instead of candles in these glass containers for various décor projects, plant terrariums have been gaining popularity since then.
Air plant adorned with black pebbles in a 4 inch terrarium globe.
Air plants (tillandsia) and succulent plants are the most widely used plants for open terrariums. The modern day open terrariums bring a refreshing look to the traditional ceramic pots for succulent plants and air plants. In merely two short years, plant terrarium popularity bloomed across the U.S., Canada and throughout metropolitan cities around the world. The most popular style is undeniably the 4 inch hanging terrarium globe, which makes a great beginner piece for DIY terrarium projects.
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