This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Our village parson is fond of gardening, and especially of Ferns, of which he has a vaseful worth a moment's attention. This vase or pan is made of thin glass, somewhat over a foot in diameter. It was filled with common sandy loam and moss from one of the surrounding hillsides several years ago. The Ferns were then planted in it, and a glass globe placed over them. This globe has never been removed since that time, and no water or any artificial nourishment of any description has been given them during all those years. The whole is nearly if not quite air tight, so that the dry air of the room has no opportunity of absorbing the moisture which was supplied to them when watered seven years ago. If the pan had been earthenware, moisture would, doubtless, have found its way through it; but, being glass, it is entirely air tight. The soil has subsided about an inch; but, as seen through the glass, it has still a fresh, nourishmg look about it. According to the temperature of the room, moisture rises and condenses on the glass, and falls again, revealing the beautiful fronds of Pteris serrulata, Aspleniums, Scolo-pendriums, and similar Ferns. All these seem in excellent health, notwithstanding their imprisonment, during which old fronds have died and crumbled into dust, new ones have taken their place; and now they are in as fine condition as any Ferns possibly could be under the most skillful attention. - J. Mein, in The Garden