David Latimer’s Garden in a Bottle was first planted in in 1960 and watered one last time in 1972 before being tightly sealed off as part of an experiment. Since 1972 to present day the bottle still remains sealed but the Garden within has grown and surprisingly, thriving. That is 44 years without any water or external nourishment except for a bit of sunlight it gets from the corner it is kept at about 6 feet away from the window. The Spiderwort was planted in a 38 litre Globular Glass Jar that was previously used to store sulpheric acid and with a little bit of cleaning and Compost added, a soil bed was created for the plant.
One Easter Sunday in 1960, probably out of boredom and idle curiosity, David decided to plant some Spiderwort Sprouts in a large 10 gallon (aprox. 38 litres) glass Jar and nurtured it till he decided to water it one final time in 1972 as an experiment to see what would happen to a plant in a sealed of condition. After having it sealed off, he kept it below the staircase of his one floored house.
The Glass container remained under the stairs for decades, sometimes remembered, sometimes forgotten, but the garden grew and thrived within the giant globular glass jar. As and when he remembered, he would turn the glass jar a bit so that all sides of the jar face the sun and the glassed garden receives even sunlight for its growth.
The Garden in the Sealed off bottle created an entirely self sufficient, self sustaining miniature Eco System except for a bit of external help in the form of Sunlight for photosynthesis. Despite being literally cutoff from the external world, it got it’s nourishment as the leaves absorbed sunlight to convert it into energy. The photosynthesis created oxygen and also put some moisture in the air. This moisture built up in the Glass jar and rained back down on the plants.
The leaves that dropped off the plant would rot at the bottom and release carbon dioxide needed for photosynthesis and the rotting leaves served as nutrients that were absorbed by the plant roots. A self sustained miniature eco system indeed.
The only input over the last 4 decades has been the sunlight. Everything else has been completely recycled and used by the garden without any waste.
This experiment of his is what created an interest in NASA to take plants into space aboard Space Shuttles for experiments. Plants are good scrubbers and take out pollutants from the air so that a space station can be effectively self sustaining.
David never thought the plant would survive this long when he had sealed the Glass jar off as an experiment. Although it is an interesting science experiment there sure may be some regret in the mind of David of not being able to Touch, smell or eat the plant he planted 56 years back. He hopes to hand it down to children and then their grand children when he is gone.