The Unexpected Houseplant

The Unexpected Houseplant 
220 Extraordinary Choices for Every Spot in Your Home
by Tovah Martin

326 pages
Timber Press, 2012
List price: $22.95

Just as the title suggests, you’ll find Martin’s unlikely houseplant suggestions to be a refreshing departure from the usual. Organized according to season, she presents a different palette for each, depending on the performance of the plant choices. Tropical plants are likely candidates for growing indoors, and we’ve been doing that for years. But how about your outdoor perennials? Many of those can be grown indoors, too.

Martin writes in a conversational style, guiding us through the seasons, explaining care and suggesting displays. She clearly knows her subject well and speaks of it with endearment, encouraging us to be daring and different as we take the garden indoors. You might be tempted at first glance to think that the plant profiles are formulaic, giving standard facts, but you really should read them in detail because in just about every one, you’ll learn something about gardening in general.

This isn’t just another book on houseplants. It’s an invitation to adventure.

Tovah Martin is a freelance writer, lecturer, horticulturist, and TV media personality whose work appears regularly in many national publications. She is the author of over a dozen gardening books, including bestsellers The New Terrarium and Tasha Tudor's Garden.

The publication being reviewed was the sole compensation for reviewing it. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like something, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that,too.

American Grown

American Grown
The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America

by Michelle Obama 

272 pages, hardcover
Crown Publishers, 2012
List price: $30.00

Our nation’s First Lady inspired many to give gardening a try when she led the way at the White House in 2009. Along with her kitchen garden, gardens sprang up everywhere and those who’d been doing it for decades cheered.

American Grown is part history book and part motivational manual. Telling how we got to be a nation of overweight people due to both our food choices as well as lifestyle changes, Mrs. Obama urges us all to rethink them. Perhaps we don’t have the resources that she does, but there are ways to improve our diet by either growing some of our own fresh food or sharing in the bounty of those that do by taking advantage of farmer’s markets. A cross-section of community and school gardens from across the nation are featured, with special emphasis on kids and how we can get them involved.

There have been volumes written on why it’s better for us to eat fresh and how we can do it ourselves. American Grown excels, because it not only presents a convincing case for changing our thinking in logical, inspiring ways, it’s visually beautiful with an abundance of color photographs and renderings of the White House Kitchen Garden. Also included are recipes for cooking up the bounty and a brief compilation of resources. I truly love this book.

Michelle Obama is the First Lady of the United States and the mother of two daughters. In February 2010, she launched Let’s Move!, a nationwide initiative to address the epidemic of childhood obesity by bringing healthier food into schools and communities, and encouraging kids to be more active. American Grown is her first book.

Author proceeds will go to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's National Parks. Funds will be used for programs that promote gardening and healthy eating and give young people the opportunity to experience the outdoors and lead more active lives, as well as for the continued care of the White House Kitchen Garden.

The publication being reviewed was the sole compensation for reviewing it. All opinions expressed here are mine. If I like something, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that,too.