Anyone who just wants to keep a few house plants will do just as well with Aileen Paul's Kids' Gardening (KR, 1972). The thorough Ms. Cutler has us learning the principles of photosynthesis and digging our own compost heaps before we've even seen a philodendron, though it must be admitted that she's never at a loss for a colorful comparison -- the compost, for example, is like a ""double-decker sandwich"" and ""if you can get some manure, put some of it on. . . like mustard or ketchup."" Curler's best ideas are on gardening specialties -- a wildflower garden (in accordance with conservationist principles) for outdoors and terrariums of carnivorous plants or desert and tropical dish gardens indoors. And despite a certain unevenness (there's a lot of detail on fertilizers, organic and otherwise, but insecticides simply aren't mentioned one way or another) Cutler covers a lot of ground in good order.