Getting plants in the ground is very exciting in the early parts of spring, but in zones 4,5 and 6 we have late season frosts. To protect delicate early seedlings you can use greenhouses (I love my greenhouse kits from www.frameitall.com that fit right on my raised beds), row covers and many other plastic plant covers. However, an older, lovelier and equally effective method of protection is to use glass cloches.
The French developed the glass cloche, or bell jar, formed of a solid piece of glass shaped like a dome. The purpose was to protect an early garden plant from bleak cold and frost. This would hasten their crops to maturity. The Dutch and English expanded the idea with handlights, lantern style, faceted pyramidal covers made from glass panes and frames of cast iron. As well as functional, they make a wonderful garden accent. I even use these as food covers for hard cheeses and breads that are not refrigerated. These fantastic bits of art are not only beautiful but very functional. You can see a sample of my collection in the pictures above.