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Book review: House of plants by Caro Langton & Rose Ray

How to look after your plants

I came home from two weeks in Marrakech to find three of my plants: an Areca, an Aloe Vera and a Pachira (if you don’t know it, is a gorgeous looking plant) looking very green and beautiful + a copy of the House of Plants by Caro Langton and Rose Ray which is an inspiring, beautifully written and photographed book.

I’ve always thought of myself as someone who was not being able to look after plants simply because until recently, I had a track record of killing plants and the only ones that survived, were the ones I collected on Pinterest in my urban jungle folder.

However, last Sunday, my beautiful green friends were waving at me, saying: “YES YOU CAN, LOOK AT US!!”

I can’t tell you how happy it made me feel to have such green beauties still alive in my home.

One thing I really enjoyed in Marrakech was walking through the Majorelle Jardin, previously owned by Yves Saint Laurent & Pierre Bergé, which is filled with the most gorgeous cacti and the Secret Garden museum in the Medina.

So I decided to shift the paradigm and from now on to define myself as someone WHO CAN look after green plants.

In all honesty, I also have another Areca covered with cochineal and a cactus and Aloe Vera in need of major TLC but I’ve set up a clinic to give them extra attention and I’m on a mission to help them to recover. How to look after your plantsWith this new version of myself in mind (aka Karine with green fingers), I made myself a nice cup of tea and settled down on my sofa to read my new book…

HOUSE OF PLANTS is not only a very pretty book but also very useful. It was written by Caro Langton and Rose Ray, two self-taught gardeners and indoor plant stylists who met at university where they studied fashion design.

While both grew up with naturally green-fingered parents, neither of them had embraced gardening until they found themselves looking after the house of Caro’s grand-mother, which was filled up with cacti, succulents and tropical plants and a study with gardening books where they started to learn about their new green friends. Over the course of several months, their confidence and gardening skills grew and they began to experiment, casting concrete pots, making macramé hanging planters, styling plants. Eventually, they took an assortment of the products they had designed and plants they had nurtured to sell them at Broadway Market in east London. Upon the positive feedback and encouragements they received from customers, they started running workshops, creating products to help people to make their own indoor gardens and launched their company called Ro CoHow to look after your plantsHow to look after your plantsThis book covers lots of interesting things:

  • How to look after your plants be they cacti, succulents, air plants or tropical plants and understanding their needs
  • Find plants that suit your lifestyle. Some plants like the snake plant or fern leaf cactus are quite resilient and perfect for those who travel a lot as they require little watering.
  • How to look after them when you go away on holiday and to clean and prune them when you are at home.
  • How to take cuttings to share with friends, which I think is a very thoughtful thing to do
  • and a few creative projects to learn how to make your own fertilizer, a macramé hanging planter, a wall hanging out of a piece of wood collected during a walk in the forest and a few more.

All in all, it’s a delightful book that I’m planning to use to rescue my poor looking plants and help the healthy ones to grow and flourish.

Ideally, next year, I would love to start a little spot of permaculture in our garden. Now that we have space and some happy chickens that grace us with fresh, organic eggs every morning, I see it as a normal extension of how I want to approach life but let’s do baby steps first and focus on my indoor plants.

HOUSE OF PLANTS by Caro Langton & Rose Ray, Photography by Erika Raxworthy, is published by Frances Lincoln. The Book officially releases on 5th November but you can pre-order your copy here (£20).


Filed under: Interiors


Founder of Award-Winning Concept Store BODIE and FOU (now closed) & Photographer, UK's Top 10 Design blog, mum of one cool surfer, 23 years in London, now living by the beach in France, married to a kiwi.


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  3. Gorgeous inspiration! I’m one of those people, who doesn’t have a green thumb but I get better every year. So far I’ve managed to keep 6 Plants alive this year, yeyy! Also I really feel like going to Marrakech right now, thanks for the wanderlust :)

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