When we were drawing up our spring class list for Castle in the Air, John McRae brought in a delightful Victorian book called Window Gardening, and told us how he was so inspired by the pictures and descriptions of the ornate "Wardian case" planters from that era that he wanted to teach a class reproducing some of them with mica, Dresden trim, and trimmed down chess pieces. Of course we said Yes!
From John's book: "The history of the Wardian or fern case, dates back to 1829, when a gentleman by the name of Ward, of London, first noticed, accidentally, the growth of vegetation under a close glass. He had laid down the chrysalis of an insect with some mould within a glass bottle, and covered it over. A short time afterward, as he describes it, a speck or two of vegetation appeared on the surface of the mould and, to his surprise, turned out to be a fern and a grass. His interest was awakened; he placed the bottle in a favorable situation, and found that the plants continued to grow and maintain a healthy appearance."
John will also teach you how to make captivating botanical scenes inside from vintage velvet fern fronds, handmade clay flowers and mushrooms, cork and foam, and other materials. We can't think of a better hothouse for your imagination. Interested? Register for the Wardian "Glazed Glass" Garden class through the Castle in the Air Online Shoppe.