Monday, September 9, 2013

A Sort-of Book Review - Indoor Plant Décor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants

Would it be presumptuous of me to do a review of my own book?  Well, this is going to be a little bit different than most of the reviews I do over at Horticulture magazine.  When you write a book, it's kind of like building a house - once it's done, you can think of all kinds of things that you wish you'd included or stuff that you'd do differently.

Check out these threads!  All but Romie's suit were
made with love by me.  :-)
Actually, I compared writing that book to how it was when I used to sew for our girls when they were little.  By the time I picked out a pattern I loved, bought the material, cut it out, and stitched it up, I didn't love it so much anymore.  But once some time had passed, I could appreciate the time and effort it took to make the thing and could stand back and feel a sense of satisfaction in what I'd accomplished.  Something that didn't exist before now served a good purpose and looked good doing it.

Indoor Plant Décor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants was a labor of love, a culmination of years of learning, growing, and stretching both my writing and gardening skills.  And I got to do it with one of my very best friends in the whole wide world, Jenny Peterson.  Add to that the fact that we had such a great publishing team in St. Lynn's Press, and I don't know how the experience could have been any better. Well...yes, I do.  I would wish that Jenny hadn't gotten cancer, but today she's cancer-free and tearing up the landscape design world down there in Austin.

I always like to explain what our book is not.  Yes, it's a book about houseplants and as the title states, it's also a book about your decor.  As far as I know, it's the only book about houseplants out there that specifically helps you choose plants and how you display them according to your design style.

What it isn't is a how-to-grow-houseplants book, although we do give you the basics on how to do that.  But that's not our focus.  We help you pick plants that fit your lifestyle and then help you with suggestions on how to display them so that they enhance your particular style.  There are eight of those:  Classic Elegance, Vintage Vibe, Cheap Chic, Modern Eclectic, Haberdashery, World Beat, Peaceful Zen, and Traditional Mix.

There's a nifty plant chart that shows various characteristics of many of the plants used in the book (and then some), and they're grouped according to how easy they are to grow - Easy Breezy, Moderately Manageable, and Design Divas.  Something for everyone!

Photo from Indoor Plant Décor - and my bathroom!

And then there's also a DIY project to go with each of the style chapters.  One of the favorites so far is the cork planters, which the Saturday Evening Post is highlighting in their current issue (September/October 2013).  And there are other fun and easy projects for those who like a more hands-on approach to creating a focal point.

Finally, we've included a resource section that tells where you can get some of the things we used in the book, and there's a list of books that we think might be good for further reading on the subject of houseplants.

Photo from Indoor Plant Décor courtesy of Articulture

What we specifically didn't say in the book that I think is important is this:

Houseplants are not like a piece of furniture, though they go well with it.  They are living things and they won't last forever, because they aren't designed to.  They will die, eventually, whether caused by you or other reasons, although some have been known to live quite well for decades!  But look at it this way - every summer, we buy annuals for our outside gardens, knowing full well that when fall comes, the frost will kill them.  We're okay with that!  We enjoy them for a season and then next year we do it all again, many times trying something different from the year before.

Photo from Indoor Plant Décor by Laura Eubanks
Why not do this with houseplants?

Your chances of your houseplants living for more than a season are much greater than they are for those annuals outside.  They cost about the same and they certainly give you a similar level of enjoyment - maybe even more so because they share the same day-to-day living space you do.

So what if your houseplant only lives for six months?  Think about cut flowers.  How much do you pay for a bouquet of fresh flowers and how long does that last?  Houseplants provide such a wide variety of looks because of their various leaf forms and growth habits, and many give you flowers on top of it.  Orchid blooms last for months, versus maybe a week for a fresh bouquet. And maybe, just maybe (probably), that houseplant will last beyond your wildest expectations.  Bonus!

Next time you're tempted to buy that box of chocolates, pick up a houseplant instead.  The joy you receive from seeing that plant every day will last longer and don't forget, it's improving the quality of the air in your house while it's at it.  Win-win.

Or you could buy the chocolate, a houseplant, and our book, and score big.

Indoor Plant Décor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants can be  purchased at Barnes & Noble stores (and online),, and in other places, like Australia!

For a signed copy, you can purchase directly from me or from Jenny.  It's really a bargain, considering it's packed with ideas, has over 200 color photos and is even hardcover.  Perfect for gift giving!


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