Once Upon a Windowsill: A History of Indoor Plants

Overview

We have grown so accustomed to sharing our houses with plants that it may be surprising to learn that it was only in the last century that plants began to move indoors. The story of how this came to pass is an engrossing and complex one, involving many separate strands: the horticultural explosion of the Victorian period, stimulated by the plant hunters of the golden age, changing styles of architecture, new techniques of heating and lighting, the cultural values implicit in ...

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Overview

We have grown so accustomed to sharing our houses with plants that it may be surprising to learn that it was only in the last century that plants began to move indoors. The story of how this came to pass is an engrossing and complex one, involving many separate strands: the horticultural explosion of the Victorian period, stimulated by the plant hunters of the golden age, changing styles of architecture, new techniques of heating and lighting, the cultural values implicit in home design and decoration, and the changing role of women.

Tovah Martin weaves these strands together in a chronological account of the introduction of houseplants in America, starting with the first bulbs brought indoors for forcing, through the successive introductions of ever more exotic plant materials, including the proliferation of ferns. It is a story equally rich in plant lore and insights into American culture. Once Upon a Windowsill is one of those books that manage, through a perceptive examination of a seemingly “odd” topic, to shed surprising light on a much larger subject. This is an important and fascinating work of social history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604690576
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2009
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Tovah Martin emerged from 25 years working at Logee's Greenhouses with a serious houseplant addiction. Author of the classics The New Terrarium and Tasha Tudor's Garden, Tovah has written more than a dozen gardening books. She served as garden editor for Victoria magazine throughout its lifetime and has been named the new Victoria's Writer in Residence for 2012. In addition, her articles appear in a broad range of magazines and periodicals, including Country Gardens, Garden Design, Coastal Home, Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, Connecticut magazine, Yankee, The Litchfield County Times, and The Daily Telegraph. For two years, she served as segment producer and frequent guest on the PBS television series Cultivating Life, and she is a repeat guest on the CBS Sunday Early Show. Tovah teaches houseplant cultivation to Master Gardeners and lectures extensively throughout the country.

An accredited Organic Land Care Professional through NOFA, Tovah gardens fanatically and organically both indoors and throughout her seven-acre Connecticut garden. In addition to bestowing their Sarah Chapman Francis Medal for "outstanding literary achievement" on Tovah in 2008, The Garden Club of America and the Litchfield Garden Club awarded Tovah honorary memberships. People, Places, Plants magazine called her "one of the top 10 most influential educators in gardening" and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society honored her with their Gold Medal "for extraordinary service to horticulture, especially greenhouses and indoor plants."

You may also be interested in the author's own Web site, PlantsWise.com.

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