Octopus's Garden Terrarium
The "Wardian Case" is the perfect blend of Victorian era science and whimsy. It was invented in the early 19th century when Dr. Nathaniel Ward, a British physician with a passion for natural history, noticed that some ferns that failed to grow in his London garden were sprouting quite happily in some sealed jars of soil samples collected from the countryside. Theorizing that perhaps London's notoriously polluted air might be killing the delicate ferns grown in the open Dr. Ward had a craftsman make him some sealed cases made from glass soldered into metal frames. To his delight he found he was able to grow many species of plants that were difficult to grow in the open. British botanists quickly adopted the "Wardian Case" to bring back and propagate samples of plants from all over the world. European artisans took the Wardian Case far beyond its original utilitarian origins, crafting elaborate and fanciful versions in the form of gingerbread houses, Gothic cathedrals and miniature gazebos for well-to-do Victorian plant enthusiasts.
These ultra-tiny versions of Dr. Ward's invention are called "Fairy Gardens". The one shown here (The Octopus's Garden) measures a mere 1 x 1 x 0.5 inches and can be worn as a pendant. It features solid glass and tin construction, carefully soldered together and aged to a dark, antique patina. The lift off lid is embellished with cast metal sculpture of everyone's favorite invertebrate, the octopus!
This piece comes filled with preserved lichen and dried flowers, but it is completely water resistant and the lid is removable so it can easily be planted with the plants of your choice. Perfect for mosses and tiny succulents!