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.
One of the most charming modes of adorning the window is by the use of fern cases or ferneries. They consist simply of a basin holding earth, in which are planted the ferns, and the whole surmounted with a large circular glass shade. This subject has been referred to by Mr. Williams in "Window Gardening" in the following words:
"The fern case offers to us the very simplest of all means of household plant pleasures. Many who cannot afford a greenhouse or conservatory, or go to the expense of fitting up a plant cabinet, will find an abundant solace in this simple and inexpensive method of growing indoor plants.
"The uses of these small glass cases for plants are numerous. They occupy very little room, are usually ornamental enough to be placed on any table or parlor stand. When once filled, they need little or no attention for many weeks; require no unusual care as to watering; can be readily removed from one room to another; are not as quickly affected by changes of temperature as plants in the open air of our sitting-rooms.
"But a more favorable feature in their use is seen when we say that they afford the only successful means for obviating the effect of the dry, heated air of our dwellings. They are reached by no dust, are free from the noxious exhalations of coal-fires or gas-lights; and when a breath of cold air accidentally enters the room, they are not chilled nor frosted if the thermometer in the room should chance to go below 35 degrees. Their styles are so various and prices so reasonable that any one can be suited at prices of from $3 to $25.
"To any one living among the anxieties of a troublesome parlor garden which they cannot manage, there are but one or two satisfactory ways left for enjoyment. Either get a fern case or be satisfied with a simple hanging basket."