Thursday, August 23, 2012

Excerpts from introduction

Now I'm going to start something new.  I'm going to start printing excerpts from The Color of Your Thumb Has Nothing To Do With It, which is the title of my book teaching how to take care of potted plants the way the professionals do it; it will be part of a total package of text that goes with the videos.   First, let me just tell you a little about myself and why I'm doing this, for those who don't know me.  I've been a professional interior horticulturist - plant lady, plant tech, interior landscaper, whatever - for around thirty years.  In the course of my daily work, I must have had literally thousands of people ask me questions about their plants at home, or the plants right there in their offices, or just plants in general.  And when I told them I was working on a book of plantcare, they all said wonderful idea, let me know, I'll buy it.   So folks out there in the big world, it's happening.

There are lots of houseplant books out there, with chapters and chapters on taking care of plants,  pages and pages about the hundreds of plants that can be kept indoors.  Here's the problem, as I see it: they're way too simple where they need to be extensive, and too extensive where they need to be simple.  For instance, watering is the core of successful plantcare, yet most books have only from  a few sentences to several paragraphs on the subject.  In The Color of Your Thumb, the first 2 chapters are devoted to watering!  How could I find that much to say about watering, you ask?  Read the book and find out!

How about all those hundreds of kinds of plants.  In interior landscaping, we use only around 40 varieties, because they are the most reliable and easiest to keep beautiful; in my book, those are the only ones we'll deal with, because not only are they the best for commercial purposes, they are also the best for beginners. I think this will be a totally unique how-to experience,  and I hope many people will find it useful.

Without further ado,  here are some excerpts from the Intro to The Color of Your Thumb Has Nothing To Do With It ....

In modern times, the business of interior landscaping developed in the late sixties, when people began to become more in touch with their world and  felt the need to see live plants in their indoor environments.

 Plants began to appear everywhere; but they were living things, and without the proper care, the lovely, expensive greenery often died a very quick brown death.  It  became apparent that some specialized knowledge was involved in keeping plants looking attractive, beyond that of the occasional secretary, maintenance person, or cleaning crew.  Interior Landscaping and professional plant care were thus born.

"That looks so easy," people often say when they watch a pro work,  "anyone can do that."  And it's true -  with a little knowledge and practice, anyone can!

...many professional  ":Secrets of the Green Thumb" wil be revealed to you.  For instance, you'll learn how to have beautiful plants by watering only twice a month or less; how to keep green things attractive in black cave-like corners (black to the plants you understand,  not to insult your corners); and how to understand what your plants are saying to you - you may not need to talk to your plants, but being a good listener is always important.

The first part of this guidebook,  The Secrets of the Green Thumb, will give you a basic working knowledge of how plants operate and how to take care of them.  The second part , The Variety Pages, will get into the specifics of each kind of plant, so you'll know how to apply the information from the first part.

 We're going to start with water, because it's basic to everything, and if you understand watering you'll understand plantcare.  Next we'll look at the soil, dig down in that dirt, get to the real nitty gritty - this is where it's all happenin' baby, yeah -  hope you're not afraid to get your fingers dirty.  Then on to the plants themselves, from roots up to leaves - how they're built, how they work.  Do they talk?  Do they listen?  Do they go ouch?  Well, we'll see.  A look at plant enemies is next; bugs, disease, stress - yes, plants get stressed out -  and they're depending on you to fix it for them.  Finally, we'll consider the tools and techniques of plant grooming; you'll learn to trim, tie, and tidy till all your plants look like first-place winners at a horticultural fair.


That's the excerpts from the Intro.  Please, anybody, if you have a moment, send me a comment.  I'd love to know what you think of my project.
                                                                                (by Marlie Graves)


  1. Hi Marlie! I can't wait to be able to purchase your book! Please keep up all your hard work, even though people don't always commit it doesn't mean they aren't reading and learning a lot from what you have to say. :)

  2. Marianne, my dear,
    You just made my day. Yes, the book is happening, and yes, you will be able to purchase it one day. It's just that, like so many projects we get into. it's taking a lot longer than I thought it would. Of course, along with writing (and rewriting and re-rewriting), I am learning social media, internet marketing, and self-publishing, but it is moving along. The first chapter, on watering, is done basically, needing to have the pictures and illustrations added and a final edit. The video of the first chapter is also done, and the website is sort of kind of getting together. So I'm hoping to have the Water Water Everywhere But Not A Drop To Drink chapter up for sale by, shall we say, mid-summer? Sounds like a good goal. Please keep up with the blog, I promise to start posting regularly again, and I'll let you know when the book happens. Once again, thank you thank you thank you. Love you all. Bona Fortuna to all, and to all a good night.