The Wardian Case is a precursor to the terrarium. Invented in the late 19th century by Dr. Nathaniel Ward, a London physician and plant enthusiast, the Wardian case was created when Dr. Ward accidentally found that plants could thrive for long periods of time in a sealed, transparent container.
Dr. Ward used a clear bottle to study a moth emerging from a chrysalis, when he noticed that plant material was growing and thriving without any additional water. He began experimenting by transporting ferns to Australia, finding that they arrived in good condition. Soon, everyone was eager to have the most sought after specimens from around the globe – now made possible by the Wardian case. The bonus was that the cases themselves were very decorative, and combined with the beautiful plants inside, they became a decorating sensation.
Today you can still buy Wardian Cases, which look like mini-greenhouses, and of course, there are many terrariums out there to choose from. Now that winter has set in for good, we need all the help we can get bringing the outdoors in.
Here are just a few places that you can purchase your own Wardian Case:
H Potter Square Terrarium Gothic Style Planter Box WAR147
Metal and Glass Terrarium