The best books to help you care for your house plants

The seasons are changing. Here in Melbourne, Winter is well and truly knocking on our door. The mornings are a little crisper, the days seem shorter and the nights are getting nippy. It’s a time when we pull on our slippers, bring out the wooly blankets, salads take a back seat as we begin to cook slow roasted dinners and we all retreat inside. 

One thing that doesn’t change, however, is our love for the humble indoor plant (and their popularity is on the rise). Whether it is the benefits of fresher air, colour in the room or the joy of watching something grow, most households have a pot plant. It’s also the one thing people tend to be pretty grim at keeping alive. So we have rounded up some of the best titles on the market that all aim to help us look after our indoor gardens. 

How To Raise A Plant by Morgan Doane

Aimed at a new generation of indoor gardening enthusiasts, this book is a perfect guide for anyone keen to see their plant offspring thrive. Plants have found popularity in the small home, and are being proclaimed the new stars of Instagram. This attractive little book is ideal for the novice ‘plant parent’, providing tips on how to choose plants, and above all how to care for them and keep them thriving. Indoor-plant experts and Instagrammers Erin Harding and Morgan Doane bring the subject to life alongside their beautiful photographs of happy plants in the home.

The Little Book of House Plants by Emma Sibley

House plants are having a moment. Inexpensive to purchase, easy to care for and a statement in any space they inhabit, growing these plants is virtually foolproof. The Little Book of House Plants and Other Greenery is a source of green inspiration for small-space gardening, featuring a directory of 60 of the most popular varieties of foliage to own. From dramatic palms and tropical leafy wonders to beautiful ferns and flowering potted plants – this book covers everything you need to know about nurturing and growing your own. Each of the 60 plants is accompanied by luscious photography and an easy-to-follow breakdown of all the essential requirements for that variety. This includes details on size, growth and flowering, along with any extra tips on caring for that specific plant.

Wild at Home by Hilton Carter

As the owner of over 200 plants, Hilton feels strongly about the role of plants in one’s home – not just for the beauty they add, but for health benefits as well: ‘having plants in your home not only adds life, but changes the airflow throughout. It’s also a key design element when styling your place. For me, it wasn’t about just having greenery, but having the right variety of greenery. I like to see the different textures of foliage all grouped together. You take a fiddle leaf fig and sandwich it between a birds of paradise and a monstera and. yes!’ You will be armed with the know-how you need to care for your plants, where to place them, how to propagate, how to find the right pot, and much more, and most importantly, how to arrange them so that they look their best. Combine sizes and leaf shapes to stunning effect, grow your own succulents from leaf cuttings, create your own air plant display, and more.

Leaf Supply by Lauren Camilleri

Flowers are great – everyone loves receiving them. But inevitably they’re already on the way out the door (and into the trash) by the time they arrive. Plants, living, breathing, life sustaining plants are where it’s at! Authors Lauren and Sophia really want you to fall in love with indoor gardening and growing. They provide specific care instructions with each of the listed plants, ensuring you learn and grow as your plant grows. But more than a plant guide, Leaf Supply also gives styling advice on choosing the rights pots and making the most of your indoor greenery.

Decorating with Plants by Baylor Chapman

Whether it’s a statement-making fiddle-leaf fig or a tiny tabletop succulent, a houseplant instantly elevates the look of your home. But where to begin? In Decorating with Plants, Baylor Chapman walks readers through everything they need to know to bring houseplants into their home. First, there’s Plant Care 101: from how to assess light conditions to tricks for keeping your plants alive while on vacation, Chapman gives readers the simple, foundational info they need to ensure their plants will thrive. Then she introduces us to 28 of her favourites — specimens that are tough as nails but oh-so-stylish, from the eye-catching Rubber Tree to the delicate Cape Primrose. Finally, she guides readers through the home room by room: Place an aromatic plant like jasmine or gardenia to your entry to establish your home’s signature scent.” Add a proper sense of scale to your living room with a ceiling-grazing palm. Create a living centrepiece of jewel-toned succulents for a dining table arrangement that will last long after your dinner party. From air purification to pest control, there’s no limit to what houseplants can do for your home and Decorating with Plants is here to show you how to add them to spaces big and small with style.

Plant Parenting by Leslie Halleck

No matter what kind of plant fan you are, it’s easy to make more of your favourite plants. Plant Parenting is a beginner-friendly introduction to plant propagation. Leslie F. Halleck details the basic tools necessary, demystifies seed starting and saving, and shares easy-to-follow instructions for the most practical techniques for cutting, layering, dividing, and more. She also provides additional information on controlling pests and diseases and transplanting seedlings and cuttings. Charming, richly illustrated, and accessible, Plant Parenting is for anyone looking to make more of their favourite plants.

In Bloom by Clare Nolan

This one is for those of you that just love flowers a little more.

Being able to step out of the back door and pick a single stem for beside the bed or pull together a posy for a friend is a joy. In this beautifully designed book, brimming with inspirational photographs, Clare Nolan reveals her secrets for growing a bountiful harvest as well as styling spectacular homegrown displays that will fill your home with colour and the gorgeous scent of the garden year-round. She takes the mystique out of what to grow and guides you through the entire process – from choosing the plants to suit both your garden and home decor and laying out your cutting patch, to planning ahead so you get your perfect palette of colour, texture and shape to play with at the right time. A whole chapter on arranging will inspire you to create spectacular arrangements for your home without the need for complicated floristry techniques.

Enjoy!

Celebrating amazing women through books this Mother’s Day

Whether you are a mum or not, the world of literature celebrates women from all backgrounds and all with different storylines. We have rounded up six stories that we think will amuse, inspire, resonate and enlighten this Mother’s Day. 

Pop on the kettle and make yourself a cuppa because we think you’ll want them all. 

200 Women by Ruth Hobday

Famous and unknown, celebrated and marginalised, rich and poor, black and white, leaders, victims, survivors, heroes, saints and sinners. Women who will educate and inspire us, teach us empathy, and bring positive change in a time when so many women and girls are still fighting for basic freedom and equality. Founded on original interviews and accompanying photographic portraits, this landmark book is the realisation of an epic global journey to find two hundred women with diverse backgrounds, and ask them what really matters to them. All two hundred women were photographed against the same background and asked the same five questions. Their answers reveal truth, wisdom, and inspiring stories of success and courage, love and pain, redemption and generosity. From well-known activists, artists and innovators to everyday women whose lives are no less exceptional, each woman shares her unique replies to questions that reveal a human being’s deepest motivation, happiness, sadness and hope. With responses that range from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength, inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many people are fighting for basic freedom and equality. It’s a book that confirms what we already know – there are no ordinary women.

Diary of A Crap Housewife by Jessica Rowe

The #craphousewife movement calls to unite all mothers who, like Jess, sometimes feel they are not perfect. Being a crap housewife is a badge Jess wears with pride, and it’s a title she invites other women to embrace. For Jess, the idea of crap is the real-life messes, hiccups, disasters and bad meals that many of us dish up and deal with every day. This mum is tired of the photos of perfectly packed school lunches, posts about gourmet family dinners eaten together over the table, and tales of neat, tidy and obedient children with smoothly brushed hair. Why not cut the crap, take the pressure off and admit to the moments, days, weeks and months when the wheels do fall off? This is a fabulous, funny, down-to-earth book, The Diary of a Crap Housewife, as Jess writes honestly about her cooking, mothering, career, botox, family and many other #craphousewife interests.

In Pieces by Sally Field

Sally Field is one of the most celebrated, beloved and enduring actors of our time, and now she tells her story for the first time in this intimate and haunting literary memoir. In her own words, she writes about a challenging and lonely childhood, the craft that helped her find her voice, and a powerful emotional legacy that shaped her journey as a daughter and a mother. Sally Field has an infectious charm that has captivated audiences for more than five decades, beginning with her first television role at the age of 17. From Gidget’s sweet-faced girl next door’ to the dazzling complexity of Sybil to the Academy Award-winning ferocity and depth of her role in Norma Rae and Mary Todd Lincoln, Field has stunned audiences time and time again with her artistic range and emotional acuity. Yet there is one character who always remained hidden: the shy and anxious little girl within. With raw honesty and the fresh, pitch-perfect prose of a natural-born writer, and with all the humility and authenticity her fans have come to expect, Field brings readers behind the scenes for not only the highs and lows of her star-studded early career in Hollywood, but deep into the truth of her lifelong relationships including, most importantly, her complicated love for her own mother. Powerful and unforgettable, In Pieces is an inspiring and important account of life as a woman in the second half of the twentieth century.

Rolling with the Punchlines by Urzla Carlson

Updated with new chapters and written with her trademark deadpan humour, Urzila’s memoir is full of ripping yarns about both the big and the little things in life (you can click through to her original book here). Urzila’s accidental beginning in stand-up has led to an incredibly successful career in comedy, with regular gigs on Channel 10’s Have you Been Paying Attention? in Australia and 7 Days in New Zealand, as well as sell-out shows across both countries, appearances at international festivals and a Netflix special. But life hasn’t always been a bundle of laughs. Urzila talks candidly about her childhood within a happy family – apart from her abusive dad – and about growing up in South Africa. She shares crazy but true tales about her travels, her move down under, coming out, getting married and having children, and cracking Australia.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen

We were trying to write about this book but came to the conclusion that  there was no better way we could write about Lily Allen’s story. We think the blurb she has written herself is perfect.  

So, this is me. Lily Allen. I am a woman. I am a mother. I was a wife. I drink. I have taken drugs. I have loved and been let down. I am a success and a failure. I am a songwriter. I am a singer. I am all these things and more. When women share their stories, loudly and clearly and honestly, things begin to change – for the better. This is my story.

Say Hello by Carly Findlay

Say Hello is a forthright, honest and rousingly triumphant memoir from a woman who has to live with a highly visible different appearance due to a rare skin condition. Say hello to Carly. ‘In fairytales, the characters who look different are often cast as the villain or monsters. It’s only when they shed their unconventional skin that they are seen as “good” or less frightening. There are very few stories where the character that looks different is the hero of the story … I’ve been the hero of my story – telling it on my own terms, proud about my facial difference and disability, not wanting a cure for my rare, severe and sometimes confronting skin condition, and knowing that I am beautiful even though I don’t have beauty privilege.’ This honest, outspoken and thought-provoking memoir by award-winning writer and appearance activist Carly Findlay will challenge all your assumptions and beliefs about what it is like to have a visibly different appearance. Carly lives with a rare skin condition, Ichthyosis, and what she faces every day, and what she has to live with, will have you cheering for her and her courage and irrepressible spirit. This is both a moving memoir and a proud manifesto on disability and appearance diversity issues.

Enjoy!