The Native Garden

Authors: Isabel Gabites and Rob Lucas

Publisher: Random House, $39.95

Subtitled “Design Themes from Wild New Zealand”, this is a revised and updated edition of the 1988 publication when it was pretty cutting edge philosophy.

It is well anchored in a passion for our environment and for our native flora but not so well anchored in a passion for traditional domestic gardening. The gardens photographed do tend to look as if they belong to DOC workers or environmentalists and the underlying philosophy is one of ecology and celebrating our indigenous landscape and flora.

This is not so much a book for the beginner who is wondering how to start a garden. It is a book that you will enjoy more if you are already a convert to the cause and if you envisage your own small plot of land as a microcosm of the wider environment.

Technically very sound and remarkably comprehensive, it concentrates on plant varieties which are available in the market. It is lavishly illustrated with many close-up photographs but also some stunning images of native plants in the wild. This book is a celebration of all that is special about our natural world in New Zealand but also a useful reference for translating it into our home patch.