Category Archives: houseplant

Sustainable living starts in your garden

February marks the beginning of the The National Sustainable Living Festival here in Melbourne and with the horrifying summer we have just experienced, the need for community education and change is at an all time high. 

The mission of the festival is simple: to accelerate the uptake of sustainable living and to seek solutions to global warming. It is the largest sustainability festival in Australia and has proudly been a part of our calendar for 20 years. It showcases cutting-edge solutions to ecological and social challenges, fostering and providing tools for the change we want to see and the difference we want to make in the world.

You don’t have the live in Melbourne to take action, in fact, the best place to start is in your backyard: take a look at what you’re growing. Why not make 2020 the year to start growing your own produce? We have rounded up the leading titles that are being launched on the market which all aim to educate and help us become that little more sustainable in our garden. 

Attainable Sustainable by Kris Bordessa

Whether you live in a city, suburb, or the country, this essential guide for the backyard homesteader will help you achieve a homespun life, from starting your own garden and pickling the food you grow to pressing wildflowers, baking sourdough loaves, quilting, raising chickens, and creating your own natural cleaning supplies. In these richly illustrated pages, sustainability guru Kris Bordessa offers DIY lovers an indispensable home reference for sustainability in the 21st century, with tried-and-true advice, 50 enticing recipes, and step-by-step directions for creating easy, cost-efficient projects that will bring out your inner pioneer. Filled with 340 colour photographs, this relatable, comprehensive book contains time-honored wisdom and modern know-how for getting back to basics in a beautiful, accessible package.

Small Garden Style by Isa Hendry Eaton

A stylishly photographed guide to creating lush, layered, dramatic little gardens no matter the size of your available space; an urban patio, a tiny backyard, or even just a pot by your front door. Petite gardens align with the movement to live smaller and create a life with less stuff and more room for living. But a more eco-friendly and efficient space doesn’t have to sacrifice style. In Small Garden Style, garden designer Isa Hendry Eaton and lifestyle writer Jennifer Blaise Kramer show you how to use good design to create a joyful, elegant and exciting, yet compact, outdoor living space for entertaining or relaxing. A style quiz helps you focus in on your own personal garden style, be it traditional, modern, colourful, eclectic, minimalist, or globally inspired, then utilise every inch of your yard by considering the horizontal (floor), vertical (walls), and overhead (ceiling) spaces. Eaton and Kramer recommend their favourite plants and decor for small gardens, along with lawn alternatives and inspiration for making a fire pit, front door wreath, instant mini orchard, boulder birdbath, patterned vines, perfumed wall, and faux fountain with cascading plants. You’ll learn how to design stunning planters and container gardens using succulents, grasses, vibrant-coloured pots, and more. Nothing lights up a little garden more than a well-considered planter. It’s the welcome statement at the front door, the conversation centerpiece at the outdoor dining table, and the piece that naturally softens the patio. However small your garden, Small Garden Style will transform it into a magical, modern outdoor oasis.

A Year in Flowers by Erin Benzakein

From star flower farmer and bestselling author of Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden, Erin Benzakein comes this gorgeous and comprehensive guide to enhancing every occasion with floral beauty. With hundreds of stunning photographs and an inviting narrative style, this book offers approachable tips for caring for and arranging cut flowers, plus how-tos for designing more than 25 seasonal arrangements including magnificent centrepieces, infinitely gift-able posies, festive wreathes, and breathtaking bridal bouquets. Plus, an A to Z flower guide provides photos and care tips for more than 200 varieties, making it easy to identify and use a wide range of beautiful ingredients. Strikingly beautiful and full of authoritative advice, this book is an invitation to live a flower-filled life and the perfect gift for anyone who loves flowers.

Nature’s Best Hope by Douglas Tallamy

Douglas W. Tallamy’s first book, Bringing Nature Home, awakened thousands of readers to an urgent situation: wildlife populations are in decline because the native plants they depend on are fast disappearing. His solution? Plant more natives. In this new book, Tallamy takes the next step and outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Nature’s Best Hope shows how homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats. Because this approach relies on the initiatives of private individuals, it is immune from the whims of government policy. Even more important, it’s practical, effective, and easy, you will walk away with specific suggestions you can incorporate into your own yard. If you’re concerned about doing something good for the environment, Nature’s Best Hope is the blueprint you need. By acting now, you can help preserve our precious wildlife and the planet for future generations.

The Earth in Her Hands by Jennifer Jewell

In this beautiful and empowering book, Jennifer Jewell, host of public radio’s award-winning program and podcast Cultivating Place, introduces 75 inspiring women. Working in wide-reaching fields that include botany, floral design, landscape architecture, farming, herbalism, and food justice, these influencers are creating change from the ground up. Profiled women include flower farmer Erin Benzakein; co-director of Soul Fire Farm Leah Penniman; plantswoman Flora Grubb; edible and cultural landscape designer Leslie Bennett; Caribbean-American writer and gardener Jamaica Kincaid; soil scientist Elaine Ingham; landscape designer Ariella Chezar; floral designer Amy Merrick, and many more. Rich with personal stories and insights, Jewell’s portraits reveal a devotion that transcends age, locale, and background, reminding us of the profound role of green growing things in our world and our lives.

The Family Garden Plan by Melissa Norris

Do something good for your family by learning how to plant a garden that will yield healthy, wholesome food throughout the year. Melissa K. Norris, fifth generation homesteader and host of the popular Pioneering Today podcast, will walk you through each step of the process, from planning your food crops and garden space to harvesting and preserving the food you grow. Even intermediate to experienced gardeners will discover dozens of new ideas.

This book is more than just practical advice, you’ll learn how gardening can contribute to a sustainable lifestyle and give you a sense of accomplishment, peace of mind, and overall joy. Make the Family Garden Plan your “grow-to” guide for good eating and greater well-being for you and your loved ones.      

Enjoy!

It’s February!

It’s February and that marks the start of the Sustainable Living Festival here in Melbourne. Throughout the month we’ll be sharing the top books on living sustainably with a focus on your garden, home, craft and fashion. Have a great Monday everyone.

How we can eat our landscapes

What should a community do with its unused land?

Perhaps plant food.

With energy and humour, Pam Warhurst shares the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.

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!