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The Unexpected Houseplant: 220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your Home
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The Unexpected Houseplant: 220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your Home

by Tovah Martin
 

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It's time for plant lovers to dust off their houseplants, update their image, and discover just how exciting, trendy, and crucial plants can be in the home.

The Unexpected Houseplant, by renowned plant authority Tovah Martin, isn't your typical, old-fashioned, dowdy houseplant book. Martin's approach is revolutionary—picture

Overview

It's time for plant lovers to dust off their houseplants, update their image, and discover just how exciting, trendy, and crucial plants can be in the home.

The Unexpected Houseplant, by renowned plant authority Tovah Martin, isn't your typical, old-fashioned, dowdy houseplant book. Martin's approach is revolutionary—picture brilliant spring bulbs by the bed, lush perennials brought in from the garden, quirky succulents in the kitchen, even flowering vines and small trees growing beside an easy chair. Martin brings an evangelist's zeal to the task of convincing homeowners that indoor plants aren't just a luxury—they're a necessity. In addition to design flair, houseplants clean indoor air, which can be up to ten times more polluted. Along with loads of visual inspiration, readers will learn how to make unusual selections, where to best position plants in the home, and valuable tips on watering, feeding, grooming, pruning, and troubleshooting, season by season.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
For those who have tired of spider plants and cactus, garden writer Martin (The New Terrarium) suggests a year’s worth of new options. She begins her tour in autumn (the start of the indoor gardener’s year) and offers dozens of tempting suggestions. There are familiar bulbs and unexpected conifers, fruiting trees, and carnivorous plants. Each plant listing includes a photograph and an information box describing its flower, foliage, cultivation requirements, and potential problems. What really sets this apart from other reference guides are Martin’s imaginative choices. She dares readers to invite conifer trees and summer coleus inside for the winter and explains how to help the plants thrive there. She lures readers beyond the Christmas poinsettia to the whimsical, Dr. Seussian charm of a holiday Echeveria. She offers fruit, fragrance, foliage, and flower. Clineff’s full-color photographs provide plenty of inspiration for the home gardener and decorator. This is an imaginative guide to bringing the delights of the garden indoors. (Aug.)
Booklist
“All indoor plant hobbyists in every geographic area will enjoy and learn from this book. Its fresh approach deserves a thumbs-up.”
Design New England
"Will boost the confidence of even the most black-thumbed houseplant owner. Martin’s can-do enthusiasm is infectious, her creativity inspiring."
The Philadelphia Inquirer
"As the air gets crisper outside, it’s time to rethink what plants can do to enliven our interior spaces. Tips on how to care for ordinary and not-so-ordinary species are revealed, so non-green thumbers need not fear."

Traditional Home
"Refreshing in the world of garden books."

The Patriot-News
"...informative, entertaining and really beautiful."

Horticulture
"[Martin] has a witty, creative voice that warms her new book."

Gardenista
"This isn’t just another book on houseplants; it’s an invitation to adventure."

Winston-Salem Journal
“This book engenders so much enthusiasm for indoor flora that you can find yourself outdoors with a shovel in your hand robbing your own garden of plants to bring inside.”

The Daily Hampshire Gazette
“Good choice for plant geeks and anyone tired of the same old peace lilies, ivies and Boston ferns.”

The Amherst Bulletin
“Martin’s book makes one look very differently at the whole houseplant phenomenon. It isn’t so much a practical guide…as a challenge to think outside the box when trying to bring the outside inside.”

The Chronicle Herald
Provides an incredible array of unusual plants for growing indoors.

Pacific Horticulture
“[Proves] there is a plant for pretty much every spot in a house.”

Country Gardens
"A smart, stylish book on indoor gardening."

The Seattle Times
"Tovah Martin’s newest book is no dry encyclopedic volume: Her personal, engaging writing style is as entertaining as it is informative."

From the Publisher

“Will boost the confidence of even the most black-thumbed houseplant owner. Martin’s can-do enthusiasm is infectious, her creativity inspiring.” —Booklist

“An imaginative guide to bringing the delights of the garden indoors.”Publishers Weekly

“All indoor plant hobbyists in every geographic area will enjoy and learn from this book. Its fresh approach deserves a thumbs-up.” —Library Journal

“[Martin] has a witty, creative voice that warms her new book.” —Traditional Home

“Tovah Martin’s newest book is no dry encyclopedic volume: Her personal, engaging writing style is as entertaining as it is informative.” —Country Gardens

“As the air gets crisper outside, it’s time to rethink what plants can do to enliven our interior spaces. Tips on how to care for ordinary and not-so-ordinary species are revealed, so non-green-thumbers need not fear.” —Design New England

“This book engenders so much enthusiasm for indoor flora that you can find yourself outdoors with a shovel in your hand robbing your own garden of plants to bring inside.” —Gardenista

“This isn’t just another book on houseplants; it’s an invitation to adventure.” —Horticulture

“Martin writes in a captivatingly personal way…It’s Martin’s exuberance and deep knowledge that’ll keep you reading.” —Seattle Times

“Martin’s book makes one look very differently at the whole houseplant phenomenon. It isn’t so much a practical guide…as a challenge to think outside the box when trying to bring the outside inside.” —Daily Hampshire Gazette

“As the air gets crisper outside, it’s time to rethink what plants can do to enliven our interior spaces. Tips on how to care for ordinary and not-so-ordinary species are revealed, so non-green thumbers need not fear…Refreshing in the world of garden books.” —Philadelphia Inquire

“A good book for plant geeks and anyone tired of the same old peace lilies.” —Harrisburg Patriot-News

“A smart, stylish book on indoor gardening.” —Pacific Horticulture

Library Journal
For her 15th book, garden writer and plant expert Martin seeks to encourage the indoor plant maven in each of us. With the help of Clineff's eye-catching photos, which depict how correctly chosen plants placed in creative containers can enhance indoor living space, Martin shows how imagination and use of fundamental ground rules for growing and proper placement should result in an indoor horticultural paradise year round. Martin covers over 220 plants, ranging from exotic to conventional, but her unusual plant-container pairings give all of them an artsy flavor. Her text is engaging and personable. Growth requirements, propagation advice, problems, and attributes of plants are outlined. While Martin provides a resource list, she encourages the use of even "lowly" grocery store specimens. She presents planning and work schedules within a framework of the four seasons. VERDICT As the title suggests, this is not a typical facts-only presentation of how to cultivate houseplants. All indoor plant hobbyists in every geographic area will enjoy and learn from this book. Its fresh approach deserves a thumbs-up.—Deborah Anne Broocker, Georgia Perimeter Coll. Lib., Dunwoody

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604692433
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/28/2012
Pages:
328
Sales rank:
724,415
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt


Introduction
From the road, it looks like any other house. For anyone tooling through town, my home doesn’t really stand out, except perhaps for its preponderance of garden beds visible from the street and the fact that it’s a tad funkier than the neighboring New England architecture in the center of town. Especially in winter, you’d be prone to roll right on by without giving it so much as a second glance. But if you had reason to nose into the driveway, knock on the front door, and slip inside, it would be a whole different story.
 
Basically, if you don’t like plants, don’t bother to enter. Agoraphobics will be just as agri-challenged inside as they are in the field. Because within that unassuming exterior resides a wonderful world of roaming vines and hairy stems. Leaves of all shapes, sizes, textures, scents, and combinations of colors are given free rein. You must brush by them to deliver the FedEx box. It’s necessary to engage with the flower spike of the pregnant onion before gaining entry into the converted barn, where the comfy chair awaits. Watch how you angle the groceries around the kalanchoe, because clumsily maneuvered baggage will bring it down. Only dogs with short tails are allowed in.

Wherever it is possible to host plants, my house is wall-to-wall greenery. I didn’t bother doing much with decorator colors on the walls; I didn’t sweat the window treatments or the framed family portraits—the plants are my decor. At any given moment, I host hundreds of houseplants, give or take a couple of dozen. In autumn, the inventory might swell when I crowd more plants inside than the light venues can comfortably host. In winter, the amaryllis and other holiday cheerfuls hold forth. In spring, the accumulation swells with seedlings that are destined for outdoors. For a few brief months in the depths of summer, the head count decreases while the majority of my indoor plants sojourn outside. But I keep many succulents and all my terrariums close by because the home feels empty without their green presence. I can’t live without the jungle of leafy branches and groping vines that I call home.

And it’s not as though I don’t have green elsewhere in my life. I garden intensively and extensively outdoors in summer. Every weekend, I hop in the car and visit gardens. Then I spend the rest of the year with the enviable job of writing about summer gardens. But I still couldn’t live without plants sharing my abode. For me it’s all about the plants stretching their limbs, forming their buds, expanding new leaves, and responding to my nurturing (or neglect, if called for). And that sensation—that intimacy with nature—is what I strive to describe in this book. If nothing else, this is the chronicle of a romance between botany and a kid who craves green.

But under that thin veneer is an ill-concealed attempt to convert you. I’m hoping you’ll buy into this. I’m doing my best to demonstrate how plants can change your psyche when you welcome them into your life. It’s radical. It’s the difference between holding nature at arm’s length and embracing it into the heart of your home. But don’t take my word for it—give plants a chance. Live intimately with them. Let them connect. Experience their cycles and rhythms. Flow them into your agenda. Encourage those tendrils to meander into your everyday experience so they’re inextricably woven into your life. Do it with all the style, creativity, and devotion that you lavish on the other aspects of your life. Do it with the fervor you pour on your pets, for example, and you could end up starting a sweet relationship. Here, in the pages that follow, are the tools you’ll need to achieve your in-house botanical bond.
 

Meet the Author

Tovah Martin emerged from twenty-five years working at Logee’s Greenhouses with a serious houseplant addiction. Author of the classics The Unexpected Houseplant, 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. 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 her 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 its Gold Medal “for extraordinary service to horticulture, especially greenhouses and indoor plants.” Tovah provides advice and troubleshooting via her blog at plantswise.com.

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