The New Zealand Plant Doctor, Andrew Maloy

A friend and colleague suggested that maybe I could be offering a garden problems section on the garden pages of the Taranaki Daily News and I recoiled a little so I was really pleased to get a copy of this book which lets me off the hook. It is cheap and cheerful (though on a nice quality of paper) and it will answer many of your queries about common garden problems. Most importantly, the advice given is good – knowledgeable, practical and not driven by sponsor’s products. Organic solutions are given where there is good evidence that they will work. Readers who subscribe to the Weekend Gardener magazine will recognise the content. It is pretty much a cut and paste collation of the author’s problem solving column in that publication but what makes it useful and accessible is having it in one book with a good index at the back. I read the section on buxus blight and, to my relief, the advice was very much in line with what I have previously written. If you want to know why your citrus have warty skins, your carrots grow forked or how to deal with narcissus fly – the answers are all here. There was nothing on witches broom in cherry trees but there is pretty good coverage of many common problems. Worth having on the bookshelf so go out and buy yourself a copy.

(New Holland, ISBN: 978 1 86966 273 8) Advertised price $NZ24.99