Author: Andrew Steens
Publisher: Random House, $34.99
Lawrie Metcalf has updated his book which was first released in 1995.
The fact that the earlier edition ran to two reprints is an indicator of demand for this type of reference. And a technical reference book it is, on how to reproduce native plants. It is remarkably user friendly and will take the complete novice who knows nothing about propagation through to competence while also providing a useful reference for those who start with more skills.
The propagation techniques are explained clearly and in simple, logical fashion and are applicable well beyond native plants. The first 76 pages are transferable information covering raising plants from seed, cuttings, layering, budding and grafting. The next 70 odd pages give specific detail on the methods of reproducing over 200 different native plant varieties.
This book does not pretend to be anything except a technically accurate, really useful reference book. If you buy this book, then you are already converted and don’t need to be convinced of the merits of natives so there is no preaching or wowing the reader. For a book that is likely to have a long lifespan, Random House could have been more generous with a heavier duty cover. My copy is already curling badly. I can see that in a bookcase where other, glossier, fashion garden books will be culled over the years to come, this one will live on although probably tattered and worn.