Yates Garden Guide 77th edition

Publisher: Harper Collins, $39.95

There are reasons why Yates Garden Guide is still being updated and is into its 112th year (since 1895, in fact) boasting over one million sales.

It remains one of the most comprehensive gardening books for New Zealand conditions and sits alongside the Edmonds Cookbook as a basic resource for bookshelves in most homes. We have several editions of it sitting around our house and Mark still refers to it on occasion as a technical reference. So it will meet the needs of the beginner gardener right through to the very experienced. It is not so much a glossy motivational book, though it is constantly adapting to new directions in gardening with new sections on organic gardening and permaculture as well as container gardening.

It is a practical guide. The modern editions are somewhat more upmarket than the early version we have, with boxed garden hints by celebs and experts and colour photos which makes for interesting browsing.

If you are only going to have one garden reference book, this is probably the best one to have. It is not necessary to buy each new edition, but if you are still using a version which was printed in the middle of last century, you might like to suggest that Santa could bring you the update. And gardening parents could make sure that their adult children have a copy on their bookshelves too. You won’t go wrong with a Yates Garden Guide.