Sunday, December 21, 2008

Enter to win Big Prizes!

I'm taking a poll. And I'd sincerely appreciate your input. In fact, I'm prepared to bribe you for your participation.

Some background: My first plant crush was a peace lily. While I've moved beyond the Spathiphyllum, I still love indoor plants and wouldn't be without them. Couldn't be without them. I realize many gardeners take an extended break in winter, putting aside their pruners and gloves till spring comes 'round again, but not me. Now is when I focus on my indoor landscape, and over the next few months you'll be getting your fill of houseplant posts.

But back to my poll. I'm a houseplant expert. There, I admit it. I'm working on a book proposal for a houseplant book. A very big houseplant book. A houseplant book that includes everything anyone could ever want to know about every possible houseplant. What I want to know is: What are YOU looking for in a houseplant book?

Send me your ideas and inspirations, and if I haven't already thought of them (you'll have to trust me on this), I'll give you a prize. In exchange for your suggestion, I'll send you a copy of my CD: Green Up Time: A Botanical Look at Broadway. It's a collection of show tunes about flowers and plants; a project that combines my first career (on B'way) with my second (in horticulture). If you want to listen to a few excerpts to see if it's worth your while, go here.

If you already have a copy of my CD (what are the chances?!) let me know and I'll come up with some other swell thank you gift. I look forward to hearing from you. Really, I do.

I've posted this same entry on both my blogs because I want to reach as many people as possible. If you read both blogs I apologize for the duplication.


At December 23, 2008 at 12:57 AM , Blogger molly said...

1. Can houseplants stay by your windows during the winter if you have old, drafty windows?

2. Should you not move, or TURN, a plant that is growing well in one spot in your house?

3. Do some houseplants like taking an outside 'vacation' in the summer? or on real rainy (but warm-ish) days? to get a taste of the outdoors/the seasons, if you will...

i know i'll think of more...

At December 23, 2008 at 8:16 AM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

These are great ideas, Molly, and JUST what I'm looking for! Thank you! If you think of more I'll be happy to hear them. I know you have my CD already, so when I get back to PA I'll put together a very special PRIZE...I think I know just what you'll like!

At December 23, 2008 at 2:24 PM , Blogger layer said...

1. how do you cope with pests that come in from outdoor plants that need to be overwintered indoors (or better yet, prevent them in the first place)? i have a passiflora edulis that gets a brutal case of scale in the winter that clears up nicely when it goes back outside.

2. how do you get rid of those tiny little floaters that seem to plague office plants without resorting to toxins (i'm sure you already have this one on your list but so far i can't seem to shake them no matter what i do.)

At December 23, 2008 at 3:33 PM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

Layer, thank you! I think the outdoor/indoor pest question is VERY important. I'm not sure what the tiny little floaters are...could you possibly mean fungus gnats? If not, give me more info and I'll try to figure it out. I'm ready to send you a CD! Please email me at and let me know where to send it. Thanks again!

At December 26, 2008 at 10:22 PM , Anonymous Leda Meredith said...

I look forward to your book, and just want to suggest one topic in addition to those already suggested in the comments: vacation care, or at least ways to help houseplants get by when you'll be skipping a few days or a week of their usual maintenance. This is a question I've gotten at several of my classes at NYBG and BBG.

I already have your excellent CD, so this suggestion is on the house ;^)

At January 22, 2009 at 9:41 PM , Anonymous Scott said...

I am interested in edible house plants. Ones that survive well indoors but can also be used as part of an ongoing kitchen garden. Something more than the "box of herbs on the window sill alongside Tom Thumb tomatoes". A new, fresh look at decorative food.

At January 24, 2009 at 6:17 PM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Scott. This is a tough one, because most edibles require more light than most people have indoors. That being said, there are some great citrus for growing indoors, and I'm going to do more research because it's a topic near and dear to my heart. If you email me your address ( I'll mail you a CD!

At January 28, 2009 at 12:11 PM , Blogger Hill8628 said...

I grow two herbal trees--Rosemary and Sweet Bay. It took me three years to find out why my Sweet Bay exuded sticky stuff that got on everything within three feet of it. This happened in the later part of the winter due to self protection from bugs. A guide with symptoms and how to prevent or fix of problems with indoor herbs would be helpful.

At January 28, 2009 at 2:19 PM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

Thanks Jackie! I had totally forgotten that sweet bay makes an excellent houseplant and I'll be sure to include it.

At April 4, 2009 at 9:37 PM , Blogger Kathy said...

Please make sure you cover taking care of gift plants or seasonal plants, stating if it's even possible. I know I don't want to go through the bother of pulling a poinsettia through, but I have a cyclamen that's been blooming for over a month, and while I know it's not hardy outdoors here, I suspect I could pull it through to bloom again.

(You didn't have a deadline on your poll, so I'm not sure if I qualify for a prize or not.)

By the way, have you ever listened to any of Annie of Austin's horticultural songs?

At April 5, 2009 at 9:49 AM , Blogger Ellen Zachos said...

Hi Kathy,

I've submitted the book proposal but it's not too late to add to the table of contents...after all, it's not sold yet. And you've hit on one of my pet peeves: short-lived gift plants. Why waste your money on a poinsettia when you can get the same color combo with an easier and longer-lived plant?

I've got your address in the GWA directory and I'll put a CD in the mail!


At April 9, 2009 at 1:05 PM , Blogger Kathy said...

Thanks! it came today. I hope you get a chance to listen to Annie's songs on Youtube.

At June 20, 2016 at 4:48 PM , Anonymous Lyn said...

The CD was a good prize. I am those who have a copy are glad to be winners. I would want a book on indoor plants that are easy for kids to grow.


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