Plant Talk | Science Talk

From the Library: The Manual of Interior Plantscaping

Esther Jackson is the Public Services Librarian at NYBG’s LuEsther T. Mertz Library where she manages Reference and Circulation services and oversees the Plant Information Office. She spends much of her time assisting researchers, providing instruction related to library resources, and collaborating with NYBG staff on various projects related to Garden initiatives and events.

Manual of Interior PlantscapingThe Manual of Interior Plantscaping: A Guide to Design, Installation, and Maintenance is the newest book from Kathy Fediw and her first with Timber Press. Fediw has over 30 years of experience in the world of interior plantscaping, working as a consultant, author, and speaker. She is quite prolific, and has carved out a niche as a purveyor of information for those in the interior plantscaping business and those who are considering moving into the field.

In the preface for Manual, Fediw writes, “It is my hope that this book will be a bridge between the design community and the horticulture community, so we can all work together to make plants a part of our every day lives.” To this end, Manual promises to show readers how to design different types of interior plantscapes including atriums, indoor gardens, green walls, potted office plants, color bowls, dish gardens, and terrariums—in 296 pages, no less.

Interior plantscaping is not a new discipline, as Fediw herself addresses in both the book’s introduction and with a bibliography of suggested further reading. Still, Fediw does an admirable job of synthesizing many existing concepts and practices. Manual is organized logically and includes many helpful tips for those getting started in the field of interiorscaping.

First impressions of Manual are positive. The layout and design of the book are artfully accomplished, with a balanced mix of text, photographs, and graphic material. The photographs immediately catch the eye as being both representative depictions of the methods discussed and being artistic in their own rights. Image credits are included toward the end of the work, along with the affiliation of the photographers, which is a nice touch.

Experienced horticulturists may be inspired by Fediw’s book, but probably won’t find it to be as practical a resource as a beginner might. For large scale projects especially, further resources must be consulted. For example, green wall design and installation can certainly be introduced in 21 pages, (as Manual does), but to really undertake a larger interior green wall project, it is likely that other research—and the experience of installation technicians/engineers—would need to be employed. Manual finishes with a plant palette showcasing 60 recommended plants for interiorscapes, as well as a slew of additional recommended resources including trade associations, certification and accreditation programs, and additional books and journals authored by Fediw.

I believe that Fediw accomplishes her original goal of weaving together the design and plant care aspects of interiorscaping. As a practical introduction, this book is a beautiful and timely starting point. Manual is a very nice resource for those looking for practical advice about small-scale interior projects or an introduction to the planning and implementation of larger-scaled projects.

The Manual of Interior Plantscaping: A Guide to Design, Installation, and Maintenance by Kathy Fediw. Timber Press, 2015. 296 pages, 198 color photos. Hardcover. $49.95. ISBN: 9781604695571


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