Potted History: How Houseplants Took Over Our Homes

by Catherine Horwood | History |
ISBN: 9781910258941 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 2/20/2022
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, February 20, 2022
I got this UK-edition softcover at Toadstool Books in Nashua. Looks to be a "biography of things" about house plants - interesting concept, as I'd imagined that people who grew plants at all would have brought some indoors right away. But apparently the concept of ornamental houseplants isn't quite that ancient!

Later: A charming account of how ornamental plants made their way indoors - and into a major international business. There are illustrations of different plants, and lots of quotes from period books, newspaper articles, and letters, mainly starting in the 16th and 17th centuries, with a significant upswing by the 19th century.

The early-adopters tended to be fairly well-off, necessary if they were to have the space and money to procure and maintain plants that didn't pay off with fruit, but interest did spread - and eventually social media (in the form of fashion magazines and newspaper articles) made many more people interested in decorating their homes with living plants. [One of the early avid-gardeners was Mary Somerset, Duchess of Beaufort, who sounds like a pretty fascinating person; the quotes from her letters are charming.]

There are discussions of the types of containers, methods for climate-control and pest-control - and the intersection between scientific explorers bringing back samples of rare plants from around the world, and a budding (sorry!) industry in propagating those plants. Oh, and anecdotes about especially spectacular - or tragic - plants: apparently, a shipment of a new and rare variety of Norfolk Island Pine was being sent from the UK to New York - on the Titanic...

The book does cover care-of-houseplants in more recent times; one example is from a 1960s magazine article, warning party-givers to protect their houseplants from guests who might empty unwanted cocktails into the pots! [I don't know if the article also cautioned against urging people to keep drinking when they wanted to stop, but if I recall the 1960s correctly, that may not have occurred to most party-folk.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, February 4, 2023

Released 1 mo ago (2/4/2023 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I'm adding this to the Biographies of Things bookbox. (The bookbox journal includes my selections and replacements.) Hope someone enjoys it!

Journal Entry 3 by winghaahaahaa98wing at Biographies of Things, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Released 1 mo ago (2/7/2023 UTC) at Biographies of Things, A Bookbox -- Controlled Releases


Found in the current Biographies of Things bookbox; returning back into the box.

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