The Wardian case, or fern case, was the forerunner of the modern terrarium and a popular method of maintaining a small indoor garden. First introduced in London by Dr. Ward in the early 19th century, the Wardian case became a highlight of Victorian drawing rooms.
Whether it was a grand or humble container, the Wardian case was the best reminder of the existence of the beauty of the outdoor world that could be had for all the seasons, close inside the home. When the woods were leafless, and the fields and gardens destitute of attractions, the little indoor garden still displayed emerald greens, russet browns, and gold and silver leafage -- safe from frost. The Wardian case forever hinted that the time was not far off when the woods will be robed again, and hundreds of flowers would spring forth.