From ferns in 19th-century British parlors to contemporary “living walls” in commercial spaces, plants and flowers have long been incorporated into the design of public and private spaces. Spanning two centuries, Nature Inside explores the history and popularity of indoor plants, revealing the close relationship between architecture, interior design, and nature. Studying the international modern interior through the lens of plants in the human environment, author Penny Sparke attributes a degree of the interest in indoor plants to urbanization, and, more recently, the climate crisis, which serve as ongoing reminders that people must maintain a connection to, and respect for, the natural world. While architectural and interior design styles have evolved alongside the popularity of various plant species, the human need to bring nature indoors has remained constant.
“Highly accessible and a thoroughly good read”—Katie Dutton, Gardens Illustrated
“Sparke is at her best speculating about plants’ associations with femininity and the domestic…Here the author is in her happy place—the gendered domestic interior...It is an area of design history she grabbed early for herself and has never been afraid of defending.”—Jane Audas, World of Interiors
“At the heart of this beautifully produced and scholarly book is the exploration of our long, and often complex, relationship with indoor plants, from exotic specimens extravagantly displayed in specially commissioned buildings, to the tasteful touches of greenery adding background texture to domestic decor. I found it completely fascinating.”—Monty Don, author of American Gardens