The Essence of Paradise: Fragrant Plants for Indoor Gardens

Tovah Martin, Author Little Brown and Company $24.95 (218p) ISBN 978-0-316-54845-8
Outdoor horticulture is well enough in its season, maintains Martin ( Once Upon a Windowsill ), but the best place for fragrant flowered plants is indoors, particularly in winter, when there is otherwise a dearth of greenery and aroma. After explaining how flowers produce scent and humans perceive it, the author begins with January and takes the reader through the year with her favorite indoor scented plants for each month. Here are plants common and unusual, from stalwart paperwhite narcissus to Cestrum nocturnum (night-blooming jessamine). The best-scented blooms, she points out, are often small and clothed in unassuming shades of white, cream or pale yellow. ``A Few Basics'' covers indoor plant care and common pests and diseases. There is much serviceable information here, but Martin's prose, replete with fulsome adjectives and alliteration, can be as cloyingly redolent as an overblown gardenia: ``At the head of the heady list is `Constantinople' whose blooms send a singularly sensational citrus scent floating forth.'' A list of plant sources is sorely lacking. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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