Out of Print But Not Out of Style
There’s something about old books that seem to make a personal library all the more authentic. We stumbled recently upon one that seems all-too-perfect for the upcoming summer season: Foliage House Plants (circa 1972!) by James Underwood Crockett and the editors of Time-Life Books. It still holds relevancy to today’s households, and if anything, it’s a fun flip-through to see how book designs have changed over a 30-year course.
Why I Get a Kick Out of Foliage House Plants:
1. The book comes with a supplement: “Make a plant happy today, Houseplant Chart.” The slide-chart in its two-tone colors of red and green (plus the authentic aged yellow from discoloration) gives short simple directions on water, sunshine, temperature, and other requirements for over 40 different plant types. The slide chart’s quaintness is endearing.
2. The pictured directions on how to build your own terrarium. Terrariums are still a big hit these days (as I saw only a few days ago at ABC Carpet & Home’s window display) and are DIY projects that are easy to tend to (because there is no tending!). As the book notes, terrariums “are as intriguing as ship models in bottles.” Indeed they are.
3. There’s a whole chapter on cacti and succulents. Succulents have been popping up on a lot of the design blogs recently because of their resourcefulness and lack of tending time. This chapter offers another DIY project, “miniature landscapes,” amongst many fun tid-bit facts about cacti (i.e. The Mexican government has forbidden the plants’ exportation because they have so many uses, such as the Indian rituals that rely on peyote cactus for their authentic hallucinogenic visions—a classic testament to the book’s publication year).
4. Each chapter has drawings to accompany the plethora of flower and plants descriptions. With no computer-generated illustrations gracing any page, the book’s drawings add to the authentic retro design. Chapter 5, “An encyclopedia of foliage house plants,” is a nice example of this.
5. The classic unavoidable musty attic smell combined with the vintage brown cover color, Foliage House Plants becomes a nostalgic experience, the ultimate appeal to collecting used books.
You can still buy the book, for a whopping 0.94 on Amazon.com.
Posted by Kyra Shapurji