Normally, plants and greener require several things to survive. Sunlight, soil, air, and water. However, this isn’t always the case. This small ecosystem hasn’t been watered for over forty years and has just been sitting in a sealed bottle. Yet it continues to grow and thrive even to do this.
What is this?
David Latimer planted a seed in a glass bottle on Easter Sunday of 1960, simply out of pure curiosity. What happened next and over the next fifty-nine years, shocked and surprised not him, but the entire world too. He had no idea that it would flourish into a mass of greenery that would thrive untouched for several decades. It doesn’t stop there either, the last time Latimer watered the plant was on 1972, almost fifty years ago yet it still flourished. Now, over half a century since it was originally planted, the sealed bottle garden is still growing and is as strong as ever, filling the bottle entirely with lush plant life.
How did this come about?
Latimer was curious to find out what would happen if he planted a seed in a bottle. So, after initially pouring some compost into the globular bottle that he decided to use, Latimer took a piece of wire and used it to carefully lower in a spiderworts seedling, and then added a pint of water to get it started. Then, the bottle was sealed and placed in a sunny corner, and the magic of photosynthesis took over from there.
Besides a single watering in 1972, the bottle garden has been completely cut off from freshwater as well as carbon dioxide – two of the main ingredients needed for successful plant growth. However, the plant has still managed to form its own self-sufficient ecosystem. Through photosynthesis, plants acquire the energy needed to grow by absorbing sunlight. During the process, oxygen and water vapor are also created in the process. The moisture then builds up inside the bottle and because it has nowhere to go – it’s sealed in, it “rains” back down on the plant. That sorts out the water element that the plant needs to survive. For the carbon dioxide, when leaves fall into the soil, they are broken down and all the carbon dioxide and nutrients stored in them is absorbed back into the soils which in turn is then absorbed by the plant through its roots, giving it the carbon dioxide it needs.
Latimer, who is now 80 years old, hopes to pass on this wonderful ongoing experiment to his children when he passes away. Hopefully, they will keep it safe and allow it enough sunlight to continue to thrive in its glass world. It’s quite remarkable that with just a little bit of sunlight, the plants are able to flourish even, in this strange environment. Latimer has successfully created a new ecosystem, like a micro Earth in a bottle. I am definitely amazed and captivated by it, are you?