Books & Literature

Book Review: The Plant Rescuer, by Sarah Gerrard-Jones

NON-FICTION: A simple, stylish and complete guide for any houseplant owner.

It feels like every part of this book has been carefully considered.

Plant rescuer Sarah Gerrard-Jones shares her knowledge, values, and experiences of caring for indoor plants in her debut book The Plant Rescuer. As RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner for the Plant Clinic in 2002, she has educated many on the task of restoring troubled indoor plants back to life.

Suitable for the layman or the seasoned, topics such as adequate lighting, humidity levels, nutritional needs, propagation, and pest eradication are all covered. Yet are these things all that a plant needs? Written with tremendous passion, for the first time ever in a book about plants, one will begin thinking of a plant as a pet. Does it suit my lifestyle? Which plant suits which location? Can you maintain its needs?

Furthermore, the book poses another question: what is my environmental footprint? Simply purchasing and having indoor plants is non-problematic, right? Actually, no. The environmental impact of plant production is likely something most people do not consider when purchasing a houseplant or fertiliser and is considerably higher than one would think. Author Gerrard-Jones does not preach, just informs.

She also makes reading an instructional manual about plants interesting and relevant with her use of analogies or explaining ideas to the audience with just a tiny element of humour here and there. Have you ever read a book that gives pests an “evilness rating” with the use of a symbol?

Amazingly structured with a good layout and use of visuals, it was unsurprising to learn she is also a freelance picture editor for The Sunday Times, Guardian, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. The Plant Rescuer is as enjoyable to feel and see as it is useful.

It is divided into three main parts: Nurture and Grow, Houseplants for Your Home, and How to Rescue and Propagate. With many different plants to discover in part two, it has been divided according to their lighting needs, with selections chosen for both beauty and variety. The living stone plants, for example, are a rarely known type of succulent unique in their appearance.

In the final section, the use of flowcharts and everyday terms for issues makes it easier to diagnose and treat your plants. The thick-style pages have wide margins, and use bold text for the headings, as well as for the most pertinent paragraphs or points, making it an excellent reference guide.

Quite simply, this is the most delightful book I have yet come across on indoor plants, written by someone who truly appreciates nature. From a young age she learnt from her grandfather (a former groundsman on a Scottish estate) so it is more than her lifetime of experience chronicled in these pages.

Reviewed by Rebecca Wu

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not necessarily of Glam Adelaide.

Distributed by: Bloomsbury Publishing
Released: May 2022
RRP: $39.99

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