Wednesday, July 28


Why have we become so infatuated with terrariums in the past couple years?
For me, it goes hand in hand with the whole taxidermy- lush Victorian- shop of curiosities- thing. I'm not sure why, because they can just as easily be associated with stark modern interiors, but that's how I will always see them. I guess it's nice that they can span that wide design spectrum.

So the discovery of terrariums was a bit of an accident as it turns out. In 1827, a man by the name Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward wanted to experiment with the hatching of cocoons so he placed it, along with some mould, in a capped wide-mouthed glass bottle. He observed this bottle on a regular basis and noticed that, because of the sun, moisture would build up near the top during the day and drip down to the soil by night. His big surprise came when a seedling fern and a sprout of grass bloomed inside the bottle- the exact thing he had been unsuccessfully trying to plant in his garden for years!
He concluded that the city's pollutants had been killing the plants outdoors, but the enclosed microcosm of the bottle provided protection and nutrients for the seedlings to grow.
Throughout the Victorian era, these enclosures were called Wardian Cases. They became something of a status symbol- the bigger and more elaborate, the better. They were also crucial in transporting exotics from one country to another- their self sustaining habitats allowed for months of travel on ships.

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