So a confession: I absolutely LOVE having plants around the house but I do admit, that I’m sometimes terrible about looking after them. I tend to concentrate on varieties that are little more hardy just in case I have neglected to water them and there are times when I’m vigilant about it and feel rather smug that I’ve kept something alive – but I’m certainly no plant expert.
So when CICO Books got in touch to see if I’d like to review a copy of House Plants – How to Look After Your Indoor Plants by Isabelle Palmer of The Balcony Gardener, I decided, for the sake of my plants, that I probably needed this book. If, like me, you love house plants (and really, who doesn’t?!) but are a little afraid of your skills in taking care of them, I reckon you’ll like it too.
Aside from a whole heap of eye candy, Isabelle breaks down everything you need to have and do to make sure your plants are healthy and well cared for as well as tips on displaying them.
Tools and Techniques provides a host of tools that are useful in taking care of houseplants. They don’t need to be expensive (in fact, she recommends using some household items like forks, spoons, paint brushes and tweezers) but they’ll ensure you are well-equipped before taking on any projects in the book.
She also goes through her top 10 Gardening Tips, how to choose containers, understanding the balance between light, temperature and humidity, the different types of potting mixes and decorative toppings for your plants and some basic techniques for planting. There’s a section for what to do when you go on vacation, how to revive a wilted plant and how to reduce the amount of moisture if you’ve accidentally over watered your plants.
This section is just jam packed with useful tips and she goes on to provide a huge list of plants that require sunny positions and another for those that like the shade. Perfect for someone like myself who’s home is either bathed in light or shrouded in darkness depending upon the time of day and room!
In the section entitled Enclosed in Glass, she shares her tips on using glass vessels – from terraniums and large glass vases to glass bottles and even wineglasses, she encourages the reader to think outside the box when it comes to displaying your indoor gardens. With recommendations for water-loving plants to desert succulents and cacti, her creations are both innovative as well as inspiring.
Chapter 2 is called Old Finds where she encourages the reader to look at vessels and displays in a whole new way by using vintage and found items to create a unique spectacle.
From French herb containers to a tropical look bathroom, there are loads of ideas to create your own look. She even shares her tips for cutting fresh flowers to display.
Chapter 3 shares Isabella’s tips on Hanging Gardens (this was probably my favourite section) with so many ideas beyond a simple hanging basket. She suspends hanging planters above a dining table, attaches airplants to wire in a picture frame and shares how to repurpose old wine bottles into a creative hanging display.
In the final section, Just Outside, Isabella shares her small space tips on creating an outdoor room, whether you have a windowsill or front door, a balcony or a walled garden, there really is something for everyone.
I really enjoyed how easy Isabella speaks to the reader. It’s very conversational in style, as though you are just chatting to an incredibly knowledgeable friend and her step by step images and thorough lists in certain sections really breaks everything down. I do think that whether you are a complete novice or just want to brush up on your skills, it’s a great resource with a wealth of knowledge held within it’s pages.
I actually loaned it to my Mother in Law (who is what I would consider an expert house plant owner – she always has loads and they always look utterly amazing, unlike mine) and she really enjoyed it too. So even if you are a bit more skilled, I think you’ll still get some fantastic tips and inspiration from it.
Do check out the video that was created in promotion of the book by CICO Books where Isabella takes you step by step to create a succulent bowl. She’s got a genius tip for handling prickly cacti!
I will certainly be referencing this book to make sure my latest haul of houseplants (as seen in my recent table setting post) last much longer than some of my plants do once winter comes. I’ll let you know how I get on!
You can purchase House Plants by Isabelle Palmer via Amazon* or at all good book stores now. (*affiliate link)
So tell me, do you consider yourself an expert house plant owner or do you need to brush up on your skills too?
All images (except first) courtesy of House Plants by Isabelle Palmer, published by CICO Books. Photography by Helen Cathcart © CICO Books and used with kind permission.
Disclaimer: I received this book free for my review but was not compensated for this post.