Saturday, July 4, 2015

Rooted in Design: Sprout Home's Guide to Creative Indoor Planting

Title:  Rooted in Design: Sprout Home's Guide to Creative Indoor Planting
Author:  Tara Heibel, Tassy De Give
Publication Information:  Ten Speed Press. 2015. 224 pages.
ISBN:  1607746972 / 978-1607746973

Book Source:  I received this book through a publisher's giveaway free of cost in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Blogging for Books!

Opening Sentence:  "Lush, living greenery is undoubtedly beneficial to so many aspects of our lives."

Favorite Quote:  "Living with indoor plants is a way to create a more calming and natural environment in your home."

Rooted in Design is the creation of garden designers Tara Heibel and Tassy de Give. Together, they head up the Sprout Home garden design centers, now located in Chicago and Brooklyn. Sprout Home provides design services for gardens and special events.

This book is not what I expected. The subtitle references "creative indoor planting." The back cover copy states, "Transform your home with one-of-a-king green creations." Based on the background of the authors and these descriptions, I expect to see creative uses of plants in room designs. The introduction however states a different goal, "This book focuses on the joy of choosing, caring for, and displaying indoor plants, while guiding you through some of their challenges so you can delight in all the benefits indoor gardening offers." In other words, this is a gardening book more than it is a book of design.

This book jumps into the details of gardening how to appropriate for a novice gardener - appropriate container, soil, drainage, light, pruning, etc. With the word "Design" in the title, I expected more ... well, more design in the book. I expected more of a discussion about topics such as how to incorporate plants into an overall design plan for a room or how to choose and design plantings for a particular "look." I expected more of a resource list beyond the Sprout Home locations and a very short list of websites. I expected the many images included in the book to have much more of a "wow" factor as design books do or at least be more than simply images of plants in a variety of containers. Those elements are lacking in this book.

The book is organized by where in your space you may want to place plants:  on the wall, on the ledge, on the floor, in the air, on the table, in the kitchen, or undercover in a terrarium. A final chapter presents the fundamentals of plant care for novice gardeners. The organization around plant placement assumes that the design decision about how plants may work best in a room has already been made. Much of the advice in each section takes the following forms - questions about what you (the reader/gardener) want, things to consider, and statements about if you want ..., then... Again, this structure is about the implementation of a design rather than the design process needed to determine what role plants may play in a room design.

Some of the information also appears relatively commonplace for a book on gardening design. For example, the book includes directions on creating a macramé plant holder. Is that look back in style? It also has a do-it-yourself project for creating self-watering planter out of a two-liter soda bottle - useful, perhaps; part of a artistic, aesthetically designed plant scape, probably not.

The authors clearly know their plants and how to create a garden; I would love to see a book that truly documents their design ideas or images of entire actual projects. This book is not bad, but it is not the inspiration the title implies.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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