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    How DOES this garden grow? Astonishing plant is still thriving inside sealed bottle after 40 years without fresh air or water551
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     How DOES this garden grow? Astonishing plant is still thriving inside sealed bottle after 40 years without fresh air or water

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    MessaggioOggetto: How DOES this garden grow? Astonishing plant is still thriving inside sealed bottle after 40 years without fresh air or water   2013-01-24, 14:56

    How DOES this garden grow? Astonishing plant is still thriving inside sealed bottle after 40 years without fresh air or water



    • David Latimer first planted his bottle garden in 1960 and last watered it in 1972 before tightly sealing it shut 'as an experiment'

    • The hardy spiderworts plant inside has grown to fill the 10-gallon container by surviving entirely on recycled air, nutrients and water
    • Gardeners' Question Time expert says it is 'a great example just how pioneering plants can be'



    A plant grown inside a sealed glass bottle is still thriving despite not having water or fresh air for more than 40 years.

    Gardener David Latimer, 80, from Cranleigh in Surrey, first planted his bottle garden in 1960 and finally sealed it tightly shut 12 years later - yet it's still going strong.

    He recently took a picture of the 53-year-old bottle garden along to Radio 4 Gardener's Question Time, where it was hailed as an amazing example of plants recycling their own waste by members of the programme's expert panel.




    Still going strong: Pensioner David Latimer from Cranleigh, Surrey, with his bottle garden that was first planted 53 years ago and has not been watered since 1972 - yet continues to thrive in its sealed environment

    The plant provides its own moisture, nutrients and oxygen from sunlight absorbed through the glass.


    Expert Chris Beardshaw said: 'It is a great example of the way in which a plant is able to recycle and what it can achieve in a totally isolated environment.

    'It is a great example just how pioneering plants can be, how they will persist given the opportunity.'
    Mr Latimer, 80, wanted to test a theory that plants could exist in a self-contained environment and buried four seedlings in soil in the bottom of a huge jar in 1960.

    After he sealed the 10 gallon bottle with a bung three of the species faded and died, but the fourth flourished and continues to grow.




    Lush: Just like any other plant, Mr Latimers's bottled specimen has survived and thrived using the cycle of photosynthesis despite being cut off from the outside world


    [b]HOW THE BOTTLE GARDEN GROWS
    [/b]



    The bottled specimen has survived and thrived using the cycle of photosynthesis despite being cut off from the outside world.

    The plant provides its own moisture, nutrients and oxygen from sunlight absorbed through the glass.

    It absorbs solar energy from sunlight absorbed through the glass, water from the moisture it creates, carbon dioxide and nutrients from the composted leaves that it drops and produces oxygen in the cycle.

    Because they require no maintenance, bottle gardens are commonly used as a form of decoration, or as a substitute garden in areas with little space, such as patios or high rise apartments.

    They have also been used for vegetable production in dryland areas and areas with a shortage of water, allowing water to be conserved for other uses.



    The retired electrical engineer has only watered the plant twice, the last time in 1972 when he oiled the plastic stopper so that it wedged so tightly it hasn't been out since.

    Mr Latimer had the bottle in his former house in Ormskirk, Lancs, for 25 years.


    When he and his wife retired to Surrey in 1975 he strapped the bottle under a seatbealt for the journey.

    The surviving plant, called spiderworts or tradescantia in Latin, has a healthy green foliage which has filled the over-sized round jar, which once contained sulphuric acid.

    Just like any other plant, Mr Latimers's bottled specimen has survived and thrived using the cycle of photosynthesis despite being cut off from the outside world.

    It absorbs solar energy from daylight, water from the moisture it creates, carbon dioxide and nutrients from the composted leaves that it drops and produces oxygen in the cycle.




    Habitable zone: The spot under the stairs where Mr Latimer has kept the bottle garden for the past 27 years


    A SELF-CONTAINED WORLD: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN BOTTLE GARDEN



    The idea of a bottle garden is to create a world in microcosm. It will have its own special habitat and should require little maintenance, writes NIGEL COLBORN.

    First choose a glass container. It will need a wide neck for easy access and to look attractive. A goldfish bowl is ideal, or for children, a big jam jar might do.


    You'll also need some good-quality potting compost, shingle or coarse grit and, of course, the plants.
    Use a large spoon to insert a layer of grit into the jar and cover that with compost deep enough to accommodate the plant roots.


    Finally, introduce the plants. You'll need very few and they must be tiny specimens - unless it's an enormous receptacle. Little ferns such as indoor maidenhair or Adiantum, small varieties of Tradescantia and baby plants of Chlorophytum will all establish easily. Miniature trailers such as 'Mind-your-own-business' (Soleirolia) will also flourish.


    Move each plant gently into position, adjusting them with a stick or with kitchen tongs until you've got them where you want them. Adding a final layer of grit after planting will hold the compost down and make your micro-garden look prettier.


    Water with extreme care (your jar won't need much) and place the finished mini garden in a well-lit spot, but not on a hot south-facing windowsill.

    Mr Latimer keeps the bottled plant under the stairs, 6ft from a hallway window in his home, where it has been for the past 27 years.

    He hopes to pass on the 'experiment' to his grown-up children after he is gone, and if they don't want it then he will leave it to the Royal Horticultural Society.

    'I started it at Easter 1960 when bottled gardens were a big craze,' he said.

    'I just had an idea to see if plants could survive in a totally isolated environment. It was an experiment to see how long it would last and it still is.

    'I remember pouring in some John Innes compost and some sand through the opening and then lowered seedling plants in using a piece of wire.

    'I couldn't firm then in but they obviously weren't going to be exposed to the wind.'

    An ivy plant was the first to die followed by a pilea and then a chlorphytum, which lasted for the first two years, but the tradescantia seemed to settle in nicely to its sealed environment.

    'The tradescantia just kept growing and growing until it filled the bottle,' said Mr Latimer.

    'I have watered it twice in its lifetime in the early 1970s.

    'After the second time I put some grease around the bung to wedge it in properly so that it was air tight and it has been that way since.

    'It's incredibly dull in that it doesn't do anything but at the same time it is interesting to look at.

    'Some people I know don't see what the point is and the truth is that there is no point, it's just to see how long it lasts.

    'I am not going to get rid of it and I plan to leave it to my children.


    'It was an experiment and it still is.'


    Damien Gayle
    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2267504/The-sealed-bottle-garden-thriving-40-years-fresh-air-water.html#ixzz2ItuspNLW
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    How DOES this garden grow? Astonishing plant is still thriving inside sealed bottle after 40 years without fresh air or water

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