The Victorian era Wardian case.

The Victorian era Wardian case.

A case with history.

A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind.  ~ Albert Szent-Gyorgyi.

One cannot begin talking about terrariums without paying homage to Dr. Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, the man who discovered the Wardian Case in 1827. A naturalist, Dr. Ward had built a fern rockery in his backyard, but the ferns kept dying, poisoned by factory fumes around the city.

His study also involved Entomology. Once while experimenting with a hawk moth chrysalis kept under a covered jar, he observed that several species of grass and a fern spore had grown in the soil at the bottom of the jar. Unlike the ferns in his garden, this one looked healthy and alive.

Dr. Ward channeled his discovery into miniature greenhouses, which he called fern cases, now known as Terrariums. Soon, plant hunters, explorers and horticulturists began transporting sensitive plants across the globe in these unique cases. They become popular among Victorian households and was an essential fashion statement in the early 1860s. You can read more about Mr. Ward's explorations here and about the Wardian Case here.

In today's fast paced lifestyle, terrariums are making a comeback. The dry air of our modern air conditioned homes makes it difficult for many plants to grow without a great deal of attention. Closed terrariums, comfortable in their humidity filled surroundings, thrive happily with very little care, bringing nature back into our lives.


The Glasshouse Story

It all started one April afternoon.

Browsing through an ancient gardening book, Fouzia Hamza, a photojournalist by profession came across a page on terrariums. An avid gardener for years she decided to test her green thumb. Before long it turned into an obsession. A tour around the blue hills and greenhouses of the Nilgiris followed. Ferns and succulents she handpicked along the way found a new home. The dining table was converted to a makeshift work space and the first Glasshouse Terrariums store was born in Riffa, Bahrain in July 2012.

Greenhouse at the Botanical Gardens, Ooty, Nilgiris, India.

Greenhouse at the Botanical Gardens, Ooty, Nilgiris, India.