BOOK REVIEW:

At Home with Plants

 

By Ian Drummond & Kara O'Reilly

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"There's no doubt that houseplants are once again having their 'moment'" is my favorite line from this book.  This absolutely epitomizes the indoor plant movement that is utterly on trend these days, where the predominant design choice is evergreen plants.  The authors also accurately shout out all the other current trends:  cacti, succulents, large-scale plants, terrariums, kokedama and Pinterest and Instagram as today's main inspiration resources.
At Home with Plants opens with a compelling argument that faux plants are just fake. As pretty as they are, they are not plants at all, merely decoration.  When you include real (as in live) plants in your decor, they evolve along with you and you contribute to promoting the job of plants to be the earth's oxygenators and pollutant sponges, ultimately cleaning the air.  Good for folks with allergies.
Many of us now live in increasingly urban environments with little access to outdoor spaces, making indoor plants more vital.  Since most people don't really want to become 'gardeners' (they just want to keep from killing their plant babies) I absolutely loved how the authors ignored dry, academic plant genera and got creative by categorizing plants into families like 'tough & tolerant' and 'flowers & fragrance'.  
The book also calls out plants by room.  I think we all need to know if a certain plant can tolerate the humidity of the bathroom and what a bonus to learn which plants are great nighttime oxygenators that you should keep in your bedroom.
 
Fully half the book is devoted to designing with plants.  I know what looks good when I see it.  I don't always seem to know how to create it myself.  With oodles of inspiration 
for those of us not formally trained in interior design, I got some ideas for incredible, incredible pots and planters.  I just wished there's been more detailed information on where to buy the ones actually featured in the book.  Had there been, I would have run out and bought a number of them.  For our Shop the Look page, we attempted to hunt some things down.
 
There is a page and a half at the back of the book devoted to Suppliers, but not all of them are online sellers.  In the global book-reading world of today, I think this was a missed opportunity of the book.  Not all of us can travel to Sussex to pick up a plant cabinet.  
 
The back additionally includes two pages with info about the 6 most common houseplant insects.  The close up pictures of each pest will be your bible for identifying them when they come to play at your house. All good stuff.
 
All in all, At Home with Plants is a nice, compact and visually-appealing reference to keep handy with just the right amount of information to get you started styling your living spaces to their fullest potential.

KEY TAKEAWAYS 

At Home with Plants is a practical and beautiful guide for how to select and live with botanicals for every room of your home.  Very on trend with the whole 'urban jungle' movement.  In a nutshell, this book will help you get a little greenery in your life by holding your hand and imparting these bits of info:

  • Health Benefits of Plants

  • Categorizing plant families according to really fun criteria:  Bold, Edible, Flower & Fragrance, Tough & Tolerant and Indestructible

  • Container inspiration, including some unconventional ideas

  • Understanding how to design with plants by discussing scale and contrast, symmetry and repetition and alternative displays

  • Which plants are great for which rooms:  Kitchen & Eating Spaces, Sleeping Spaces, Bathing Spaces, Children's Spaces, Working Spaces and Connecting Spaces (like stairways and halls)

  • Basics of Plant Care:  light, water, pests
  • Need-to-Knows about your pets interacting with your plants​

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Ian Drummond is the creative director of the Indoor Garden Design Company.  A true north London boy, Ian uses garden and horticultural design to express his understanding of city living. He has worked on art installations for the Barbican Art Gallery and on the "Living with Nature" Exhibition at St. Pancras Station.  He has also scooped up an impressive array of medals for design schemes and interior gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  Ian's work mainly focuses on creative projects - film premiers, fashion shows, and charity functions, including the BAFTAs and the annual Sir Elton John Aids Foundation's White Tie and Tiara Ball.  He is also chairman of the eFIG (European Federation of Interior Landscape Groups) and an RHS committee member.

Kara O'Reilly is an experienced writer and interiors editor who has worked on and contributed to some of the most influential style magazines and newspapers, including Style, The Sunday Times, Elle Decoration and Living etc.  She is currently Interiors Editor at luxury lifestyle magazine The Resident.

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