After initially pouring some compost into the globular bottle, Latimer used a wire to carefully lower in a spiderwort seeding, and then added a pint of water to the mix. The bottle was sealed and placed in a sunny corner.
Apparently, the bottle planting, started in 1960, has been thriving ever since, with the last watering in 1972.
Whether this actually happened or not, there are so many reasons I love this story. I suppose it’s possible— I do have a four-year-old terrarium that I completely ignore with no ill effects that I can see—but that’s not the point. What is wonderful is the concept of control with no control. It is something for which I strive in my garden. The idea of continually dividing, moving, and otherwise fooling around with plants has never really appealed to me. I’m not afraid of the work; it’s just that it’s more interesting to watch what happens after a planting hits the ground.
I do like gardens to be full. I like to see foliage and flowers take over in a riot of colors and textures, and in such a way that weeding becomes unnecessary.
Of course, I can’t say that I’ve managed to achieve this. What I’ve done is fill the very defined beds that surround my house and patio with as many plants as I can, to counterbalance the urban feel. The idea is to walk into what appears to be a formal space and see informal, kind of wild, plantings. That’s what makes gardening in the city so interesting. It can’t really get too out of control, so you can experiment with just about anything. Like a jungle in a bottle.