Monday, April 28, 2014

The Plant Recipe Book

My friends over at Artisan Books sent me a copy of Baylor Chapman's gorgeous book entitled The Plant Recipe Book so I could take a peek. (While they did send me the book for free, the opinions are my very own…just in case you were wondering). Now back to the book: it is filled with gorgeous photos, inspiring projects and completely do-able instructions. I was so excited about all the possibilities that I drug my family all over town hunting for unusual planters.

The book guides you in planting 40 popular, easy-to-find plants on their own, then proceeds to arrange that same plant type “With Company,” and then reveals some show-stopping “Special Occasion” recipesSome traditional vessels and methods are used, but so are less conventional ones, like window shutters, wooden boats, and planting under glass (perfect for coffee tables). The transformation of everyday household objects into containers is ingenious: think light fixtures and tote bags as pots, and upside-down jars as terrariums. And because they are living and durable, they can serve statement pieces that can decorate your home for months or even years.

One of my favorites is an arrangement that appears to sit directly on the table. Genius. I cannot wait to whip that one out for a dinner party centerpiece. I'm also going to try the living wreath that I've been intimidated by for years. This book definitely gave me a boost of green-thumb confidence. 

Now for a little show-and-tell. I was so excited by the book, that I created a few arrangements of my own. I definitely need some more practice, but for my first real try, I'm pretty happy with my efforts. I picked up this vintage coffee canister at a second-hand store for $2.00 and I think it makes a fantastic planter.

I stuck with mostly succulents and drought-tolerant plants, because I have a horrible track record with keeping houseplants alive. It's been over a month since I planted these babies and they're still alive (mostly). I've even had enough new growth on some of the succulents that I've taken clippings and re-planted them so I can have even more arrangements scattered around the house. I may be getting out of control.

I realize that using containers that are meant to be planters--like the cute wall planters above--isn't the most groundbreaking discovery. But I've never dared to decorate with plants because I kill everything I touch. And a wall full of dead plants isn't very pretty. But I'm giving it a go here, because I love the texture and dimension it gives the space. (This space is in my living room, and is part of a different project I'll be revealing later on this week).

Finding some plants listed in the book proved to be a bit of a challenge, but I have since discovered a few great local sources, which will make my next round of planting projects a breeze. When I run out of space to display my new creations, I'll just have to give some away. I think making a creative arrangement would make a fantastic hostess gift. So if you invite me to dinner anytime soon, just act surprised when I show up with a living arrangement.

The Plant Recipe Book would also make a fantastic gift, while we're on the subject. Perfect for Mother's Day, hostess gifts, housewarming, etc. It would also make a beautiful coffee table book. I'm still in search of the perfect coffee table…but once I find it, this book will definitely make the cut. Even better: give your mom the book AND make her a spiffy arrangement for Mother's Day. Chances are your mom is better with plants than I am, so she'll be able to enjoy her gift for a very long time. 


Dear Baylor: 
You are a genius. I love your work; and I'm sorry my sad arrangements are even in the same post as your beautiful work. I'd love to take a class from you next time I'm in the Bay Area. It's quite obvious that some additional instruction wouldn't hurt me. But until then, I'll keep trying. And next time I'll follow the recipes a little more closely. xo

1 comment:

Lila B said...

Dear Christina,
nothing makes me happier than seeing what people create with plants and a few ideas. i love love what you've done - the vintage coffee can - now why didn't i include on of those in the book?! - fabulous. wish i had - love what you've done and your blog. thank you for trying out a few recipes at your home. and for sharing great ideas to loads of folks. warmly, baylor