World’s Oldest Sealed Terrarium by David Latimer



In 1960, David Latimer decided to grow a sealed glass bottle terrarium. He never imagined that it would grow into an incredible research study and be dubbed “the world’s oldest terrarium.”

Over the years, David’s bottle garden was sealed shut but remains healthy and robust as it can be. It has a flourishing plant life even though it has not been watered since 1972.

If you’re new to terrariums, let’s start with some background. The name terrarium comes from the Latin words terra(earth), and arium (place). So it’s similar to aquariums but only with earth and plants.

The first terrarium was created on accident by Nathan Bagshaw Ward ⁴. Ward first became aware of the benefits of hermetically-sealed glass bottles in 1829.

He had put a chrysalis from a moth called a sphinx in moist soil on the bottom of the bottle and covered the bottle with a lid. Then, he noticed that a grass and fern seedling had sprouted from dirt the following week.

He then adapted this idea for transporting plants across long voyages. The sealed Wardian Case kept the plants moist and alive so they could travel to foreign countries ⁵ (PDF).

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