Its All About Houseplants

by | Sep 6, 2015 | 0 comments

Tovah's new book with a 'Milky Way' Aspidistra

Tovah’s new book with a ‘Milky Way’ Aspidistra

I have to tell you about the new houseplant book I just finished. The Indestructible Houseplant, by Tovah Martin,  is a follow up to her book, The Unexpected Houseplant. (Read my review of that book here.) The plants in this book are all plants that are easy to grow and hard to kill. There is a houseplant for every one and every home. This is a book for all the “windowsill garden wannabes.”  To quote Tovah, “We all need nature. Growing houseplants is a lot like gardening outdoors, so you can create scenes by playing plants off each other with complementary or matching colors, textures, and shapes. We are going to make houseplants happen, and your life is going to be transformed.”

Colander with Philodendron

Colander with Philodendron ‘Brazil’ Photo by Kindra Clineff

She and I are fellow houseplant geeks! She says,”My home is jammed with more plant life than is decently appropriate.” So is mine but the only people that say that are my family members. She finds her plants and their containers wherever she goes-garden centers, grocery stores, big box stores, and even garage sales. Because, as she says, ” How you showcase a plant is everything.” “The lonesome little supermarket purchase you made on a whim has the potential for reaching high acclaim…….get your newly adopted green thing out of its original plastic pot as quickly as possible. Repot into something wonderful.” Antique enamel pans, colanders, tackle boxes, funnels, and vintage pottery are a few of the vessels she uses to glam up her houseplants. She also finds windows without curtains are better for growing houseplants. Me too! My plants are the curtains. We do part ways at the doilies, though. You won’t find any under her plants, whereas at my house you’ll find a plethora of them, especially pansy ones. Love them! And macrame….I love it, she, not so much.

Philodendron 'Lemon-Lime' with the ubiquitous pansy doily.

Philodendron ‘Lemon-Lime’ with the ubiquitous pansy doily.

Colander with aloe

Colander with aloe Photo by Kindra Clineff

In the book, she talks about each plant in detail, many of them you will know, and probably have grown at one time or another. Like Sansevierias, a.k.a., Mother-in-law-tongue or snake plant. “If Sansevierias were once considered uncool, it was a brief event and backlash against the fact that they were once omnipresent.” There are so many new cultivars out there and they are once again in vogue. I’ve always loved them and probably have at least 15-20 different Sansevierias. And, what some term the old fashioned African violet- I’ve also always loved them. Tovah puts them into amazing containers and voila, gorgeous! What’s old, is new again because they have proven to be indestructible.

African violets in beautiful cement containers

African violets in beautiful cement containers Photo by Kindra Clineff

And, of course, as any self respecting houseplant lover, she has a side kick. Her Maine coon cat, Einstein, is front and center in her houseplant life. But, he likes to lay in her plants, jump in them and bat at them. My three cats, thank goodness, do not. I think it is the large amount of houseplants in their living space. They usually don’t even notice them because there are just so many. I think my cats would feel out of place in a home without greenery.

Maybe you, like me will be inspired to buy a plant you see in the book. I loved the ‘Milky Way’ Aspidistra and I found one. Here it is repotted from its ugly plastic pot into a beautiful green (of course) pot, with the ubiquitous pansy doily under it.

'Milky Way' Aspidistra

‘Milky Way’ Aspidistra

The Indestructible Houseplant is a book not to be missed if you like houseplants or have had problems with them in the past. Tovah says, “No one needs to live without houseplants.” If you follow her lead, “From now on, coming home is going to be like taking a walk in the park. Your kitchen windowsill is going to be a garden. Life will be beautiful.” Amen, Tovah! (or as in our homes-a walk in the jungle!

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