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Houseplants Anyone Can Grow, Part III with Tovah Martin
In part III of a special series created for Greenwood Gardens, Tovah Martin, the delightful “Queen of Green” horticulturalist and award-winning author of The Indestructible Houseplant: 200 Beautiful Plants that Everyone Can Grow, shares ideas for designing a comforting and delightful indoor garden.
When you design a garden outdoors, you think about all the components—including color interplay and textural dialogues. Why not take the same concepts and translate them indoors? Whether you're working with one plant, multiples, or a single stand-alone specimen, thoughtfully designing your indoor garden makes all the difference. And there's no need to hunt up plants from a specialty nursery, especially now that travel is difficult or impossible. Go with what you've got to compose a scene such as this combination of Cordyline 'Red Star', Carex 'Toffee Twist,' and Croton. A well-placed cat also comes in handy.
Multiples make a statement. You know that it's true in the garden outside, why not try it indoors as well? I am immensely fond of ornamental grasses—especially Carex. So I couldn't resist creating a little savanna inside over the winter. Not only does my waterfall of Carex 'Frosted Curls' flow like a soft waterfall, but Einstein the kitty (above) loves nothing more than to walk by and give the grass plumes a swat with his paw. Confession: I also cannot resist running my fingers through the Carex. When the weather warms up, I'll use these as components in outdoor containers.
From rugs to upholstery, texture is key to your environment and plants can be part of that statement. Tiny trees say so much indoors. They create a sense of a park and remind you of hiking trails when you can't go outside. One of the easiest evergreens to host indoors is the lemon cypress, Cupresses macrocarpa 'Lemon Yellow'. No need to invest in a large plant--the smallest sprig will eventually gain size. And this is the epitome of an Indestructible Houseplant. It doesn't pout even when you forget to water. Give it a great container, and you've got natural sculpture.
In her constant, undying pursuit of all things garden-related, Tovah Martin gets her hands dirty both outside and indoors. She is a perennial, heirloom, vegetable and cottage gardener of fanatical proportions, award-winning author, and is accredited with NOFA as an Organic Land Care Professional. This passion for gardening led her to author over a dozen books, including her most recent, Gold Medal award-winning, The Garden in Every Sense and Season (Timber Press, 2018).
Photograph of Tovah by Kindra Clineff. Plant photographs by Tovah Martin.