The Unexpected Houseplant: 220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your Home by Tovah MartinThe Unexpected Houseplant: 220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your Home by Tovah Martin

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

byTovah Martin

Paperback | August 28, 2012

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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 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.

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...
Title:The Unexpected Houseplant: 220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your HomeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 9 × 7.44 × 0.88 inPublished:August 28, 2012Publisher:Timber PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:160469243X

ISBN - 13:9781604692433


Read from the Book

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.  

Editorial Reviews

“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