Book Review: The Unexpected Houseplant

Cover photo: Kindra Clineff

Tovah Martin’s newest book, “The Unexpected Houseplant” is a visual treat filled with lots of inspiration for your plants indoors. Tovah felt that indoor plants have unfairly gotten a bad rap and are often associated with dusty and dowdy African violets, languishing philodendrons, and bloom-free orchids. With this new book she wants homemakers to re-discover home plants and how rewarding and stylish they can be. Tovah is a plant expert, she worked for twenty five years in nurseries and greenhouses, and then moved onto writing for gardening magazines so she really has a working knowledge and creative flair for planting.

Photo: Kindra Clineff

Tovah truly loves houseplants, she’s a passionate ambassador for them at home and tells the reader to handle them with the same care you would reserve for children and pets; you need to build a relationship with them. In the book she’s put together a wonderful selection of plants and flowers that wouldn’t necessarily associate with keeping inside, she’s picked a few perennials and foliage, grasses and bulbs – plenty of unusual planting for the home. Handily the book is collated together in seasons, so you can plan your planting according to the time of the year.

Photo: Kindra Clineff

This really isn’t your usual dowdy house plant guide, some of our favourite projects used mosses and terrariums – great for the modern and trendy home. The photography by Kindra Clineff is beautiful – she has managed to capture the grace and charm of these plants effortlessly; the photos match the passion of Tovah’s text. All of the photos are taken at Tovah’s home so you know that she sticks by what she writes. Tovah omits certain plants from the list that she considers boring or just too dull, why grow a spider plant when you can grow jasmine on your mantelpiece?

Photo: Kindra Clineff

Tovah lives in New England – a snowy part of North America, and she spends much of the Winter indoors. She believes that by having a much loved indoor garden and being surrounded by greenery that the winter blues don’t affect her, plants and flowers can help alleviate Seasonal Affective Disorder. The more I devoured the book, the more I agreed with Tovah; especially living in a city – houseplants can provide green relief in a busy metropolis. A wonderful book!

The Unexpected Houseplant by Tovah Martin

Published by Timber Press