This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
It is a long while ago since I first became familiar with these truly beautiful and highly interesting subjects, and at that time I hardly entertained an idea that ever I should see them forming a part of our drawing-room decorations. But when we consider the pure and exquisite pleasure which the denizens of a densely populated city must derive from these homely gifts of Nature luxuriating in their windows in a Wardian case, even in the very depth of winter, the change is not to be wondered at; under such circumstances, indeed, we frequently see British Ferns mure luxuriant than in their native habitats. Our best thanks are due to Dr. Ward, therefore, for his admirable invention; for previous to its existence, some species of Ferns had almost defied the best-directed efforts of the cultivator's skill to keep them alive, far less to grow them in any thing like perfection.
Some thirty years ago, I visited Tunbridge Wells to search for Hymenophyllum Tunbridgense, at the request of my much-regretted friend, the late Mr. Cameron of Birmingham, than whom a more enthusiastic botanist and successful cultivator did not then exist. At the time of which I am now speaking, Mr. Cameron was gardener to R. Barclay, Esq. of Bury Hill, near Dorking, and consequently had every opportunity of giving the Hymenophyllum a fair trial; but he was only indifferently successful. In fact, the Wardian case was wanting. Mr. Cameron's name is so associated with the cul-tivation of both British and exotic Ferns, that I cannot suffer this opportunity to pass without recording it.
I purpose in my next to give the result of many years' experience in the cultivation of British Ferns, as well as a few remarks on the different species and varieties as now constituted.
Footscray, Jan. 18, 1850. Robert Sim.