Review of 100 Best Native Plants for New Zealand Gardens – Fiona Earle

Posted: December 19, 2014 in nonfiction, Review
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100 Best Native Plants for New Zealand Gardens

I’m no expert on gardening, but like most New Zealander home-owners we do have a garden, and like many, we’re keen to introduce more native plants to our patch. So, is this the book to tell us which plants will to choose, which will do well on our plot? It certainly looks like it might be. There is an extensive and informative introduction. Then there are detailed articles on the one hundred selected plants. Thankfully, they’re not ranked from very best to least best, but grouped sensibly into broad types – trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous plants, ferns and groundcovers. This allows the prospective gardener to choose among the plants that serve in a particular role. Each of the individual species is given a thorough description, including what it likes and dislikes, pests, care, landscaping, similar species and a list of cultivars. So, this is helpful not just in choosing a native plant for your garden, but in looking after it thereafter, so it doesn’t up and die on you! Mind you, one advantage of choosing a native is that they evolved here, belong here, and are therefore harder to kill, even for amateurs like me. I was particularly interested in the section about the totara because of the mature specimen that graces our front verge – apparently there isn’t much even I could do to hurt it. The book itself is gloriously illustrated, with close-ups of foliage and pictures of whole plants, which is useful if you’ve inherited a garden and are trying to identify the flora. I’m sure this book will help us make the right choices of plants for our garden, and I’d recommend a look for anyone interested in growing New Zealand native plants.

Godwit

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jacqui

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