Meet David Latimer and his 54 year old bottle garden- We like David.
On Easter Sunday in 1960, David, using a ten gallon carboy, decided to make a bottle garden. He filled the vessel with compost, about 200ml of water and then delicately lowered in a spiderwort seedling (Tradescantia) using a piece of wire. He then placed the bottle near a window and let nature take over.
12 years later, David introduced another small amount of water, closed the container and it hasn’t been open since.
As you can see from the image, David’s bottle garden is thriving, but how has it flourished so much?
David has had very little to do with it. Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are really running the show; there is an entirely self-sufficient ecosystem at play here, with sufficient nutrient recycling. The plants release oxygen and offer decaying plant litter, which allows soil microorganisms to flourish. The microorganisms (as well as the plants at night) release CO2 through cellular respiration which is utilised by the plants. The water within the bottle is taken up by the plant roots and is then released back into air during transpiration and then condenses back down into the soil where the process starts again.
Talk about low maintenance!
The bottle stands on display under the stairs in the hallway of his home in Cranleigh, Surrey, England.
David plans to pass it on to his children after he is gone or if they do not want it, he will leave it to the Royal Horticultural Society.
If that fails, I’ll take it!
If you would like to make your own bottled garden, here’s some tips: http://www.instructables.com/id/Bottle-Garden/