We were kindly asked by the English Garden magazine to write about why we thing terrariums are back in fashion. See the full article here ... https://www.theenglishgarden.co.uk/top-picks/inspiration/why-terrariums-are-back-in-fashion/
London based start-up Jar and Fern specialises in handmade terrariums and terrarium workshops. Owners Will and Madeleine chart the history of the glass-covered mini gardens and explain why they’re
back in fashion.
Terrariums are enjoying a huge resurgence at the moment. Almost everyone has some sort of houseplant, and increasingly, people are finding new ways to feed their plant obsessions. Enter terrariums.
Terrariums are used for growing plants under glass, using a jar or bottle which can be partially open or completely closed. Sealed terrariums are the favourite at Jar and Fern: by using a lid to seal the container, the plants inside create their own little ecosystem and don’t need to be watered. Not only is this great for forgetful waterers (or are over-waterers!), it also means you can go on holiday without having to rely on flaky neighbours or simply to cross your fingers and hope for the best.
Terrariums were invented in 1827 by a London doctor called Nathaniel Ward, though people had been keeping plants in jars since 500BC. Dr. Ward invented them by accident while monitoring the life cycle of caterpillars and moths in a closed jar with soil in it. Little plants started to grow inside, healthy and flourishing. He did more experiments and invented the terrarium, which was then named ‘Wardian Case’.
Victorians got completely obsessed with Wardian Cases and ferns. The associated fern craze was such a big deal it was given the official title ‘Pteridomania’, meaning ‘mania of ferns’. Terrariums were also used to move plants overseas and some of the plants at Kew Gardens were transported in them. In fact, the first tea plant was transported from China to India in a Terrarium.
Terrariums enjoyed another boom during the 70’s and 80’s with many people creating large ‘carboy terrariums’ using old wine vessels to encase plants. These are something many people remember their parents or grandparents having in their homes. One of the oldest known terrariums was made by a Londoner called David Latimer. His carboy terrarium, made in 1960, is still going strong today!
A big appeal of terrariums is the little ecosystems with a range of plants, moss and pebbles are like a miniature, self-contained garden. Each month the plants grow and change, so they make the perfect desk plant or table centrepiece. With more and more people living in houseshares or flats, gardening outside isn’t always an option. Terrariums are the solution.
Our terrarium workshops have become more and more popular recently, both for the public and as corporate events. Many companies are moving away from team events that rely on alcohol, preferring to get their staff away from computer screens and close to nature for a little while.
The process of working with plants, even just for a short time, always seems to have a positive impact on people’s mental states and is certainly better for the body than the usual trip to the pub!