I never got the chance to see Thalassa Cruso (1909-1997) on television. Known as the "Julia Child of Horticulture", she starred on her own weekly public television show "Making Things Grow" from 1966 to 1969. I would have been only four when her show went off the air, so I'm not surprised that she couldn't divert my attention from Captain Kangaroo. However my mother, a bit of a houseplant doyenne herself, kept Making Things Grow: A Practical Guide for the Indoor Gardener close at hand as her favorite. When I started gardening in earnest decades later, it was this very same book filled with mom's underlining and notations in the margins that I purloined on a trip home. Over the years, I've continually turned to it for advice on how to succeed with houseplants in my New York City apartment. I get the benefit of expert tips from two houseplant experts, Thalassa and my mom, that are as fresh and pertinent as the day they were written.
Like Julia Child, Thalassa's books were published by Knopf but unlike those by her more famous colleague, are now unfortunately out-of-print. Her most popular titles are inexpensive and easy to find on abebooks or alibris. Support your small bookseller and buy a whole set. You won't be disappointed.