The questions I get asked most frequently are surprisingly enough… ‘what plant have I just bought?’ followed closely by… ‘how do I look after this plant?!’ Sensing the despair in my readers’ questions, I think that the best way to address this common problem is to take things back to basics. Lets talk about BOOKS.
It’s no secret that I love reading and writing, and since finishing my research based doctorate a few years ago, I still find myself absorbed in the realms and the process of researching! I seem to apply it to all areas of my life, so naturally, when I want to find something out about a plant or a care tip… I’ll head to my bookshelf and sit surrounded by my gardening books and more specifically, my houseplant ones.
So for this week’s posts I intend to share my current (ever growing) collection, minus one or two I have leant to friends. I’d highly recommend investing in one or two books if you have a few house plants at home, as google is not always that reliable when you want some clear and simple advice.
If you have any recommendations please let me know! A lot of these are pretty retro, and can be found in charity shops and on amazon or eBay for a few pounds.
After asking on Instagram whether you would prefer a longer post with all the books, or split into three, the majority of you (58% actually) opted for the posts to be split. So I will chop my original post up and feed it to you throughout the week!
Onto the books…
THE GARDENING YEAR // Reader’s Digest
So whilst this isn’t a book specifically about house plants, this reader’s digest book is excellent. I have a bit of a sentimental attachment to this as it belonged to my grandpa, and I have really strong memories of him looking up all his gardening questions in this book (or Dr H… see my other post)! As you can see from the excerpts below, there is a great amount of detail in this, and I love the section (above right) that tells you what to do for your houseplants during specific months of the year. I think a lot of newer gardening books have taken much inspiration from this! I always discover something new each time I flick through this, and I particularly love the cacti section with the beautiful monochrome line drawings.
HPH rating: 9/10
THE NEW INDOOR PLANT BOOK // John Evans
This was an impulse charity shop purchase, which has turned out to be better than I expected. Charity shops are probably my number one place to look for gardening books and I can usually find one most visits! Whilst this one didn’t really wow me in the shop, on reflection I am quite impressed by the clarity of the layout compared to some other books. The large photographic illustrations are really simple but work well and my favourite aspect is the plant care rating system: easy/difficult etc. Though having just got hold of a Dieffenbachia ‘Reflector’, I worry that it comes under the ‘quite difficult’ category! This is an invaluable feature of this text as it can really help you choose plants based on your confidence levels in caring for them, or your experience. In turn, this should help to reduce the number of plant casualties in your home. For someone new to houseplants this would be a good pick.
HPH rating: 7/10
PATIOS, BALCONIES AND WINDOW BOXES // Treasure Press
Just wanted to give a little mention to ‘Patios, Balconies and Window boxes’ which also came from my grandpa’s gardening book collection. It’s only a small book, but if you stumble across it in a charity shop, it’s well worth a look. It’s especially relevant to todays’ modern homes that have little (or no) outside space. I think it gives some great ideas how you can still be green-fingered despite having spatial restraints. It has definitely made me consider how I can use the small balcony space I have in a more creative way.
HPH rating: 6/10
Not found online
COMMENT SOIGNER VOS PLANTES D’INTÉRIEUR // David Longman
Another charity shop find next, but of the more unusual kind, in that it is in French! I got it for two euros when I was in Bordeaux last summer. I’m trying to improve my French so got it for this reason; as what better way to learn… to know the names of your favourite plants en francais?! I would compare this to the Evans book already mentioned in that the clear photographic illustrations are really helpful, and there is a wealth of information tucked into boxes around the ‘main’ image. This book stands out from the others in that it has lots of photographs of different varieties of many of the plant entries. It’s where I first clamped eyes on the variegated aspidistra and since then was on a mission to find one. As a side note (in case you wondered) I now have two, though one is only just passable as variegated, whereas the other is beautifully striped! Aside from the obvious language barrier, the step-by-step drawings are easy to follow regardless of the language (always a sign of a good diagram…IKEA instructions manuals take note!)
HPH rating: 7/10
Hope you enjoyed having a look in some of my book collection… and be sure to catch the next instalment, which will be up on Tuesday.
Thanks for reading!
*This post is not sponsored!