There must have been a secret memo that went around NZ publishers of gardening books and most acquiesced. Henceforth, gardening books should be chatty, friendly, folksy wolksy and not too technical. This book fits those criteria, as have too many other recent publications. So this book is probably adequate and user-friendly for absolute beginners. By the time you have enough experience to spot the shortcomings, you will probably have learned enough not to need it any longer. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that it is from the same mould as the earlier Yates Garden Guides which were the bible for NZ gardeners over many decades, just as the Edmonds Cookbook was the kitchen stalwart. This is not. Aubergines are listed under E (for egg plant). Sweetcorn can be grown in old recycling bins and dropped over to the neighbours to look after if you are going away for the weekend. Melons can be sown as late as January in warm climates (Bali, perhaps?). Product placement by the sponsor is intrusive.
Maybe one day soon, NZ publishers will realise it takes quite a bit of experience and knowledge to be able to sift through information and distil it down to its simplest, most user-friendly form. Friendly enthusiasm is not sufficient.
(Harper Collins; ISBN: 978 1 86950 928 6).
First published in the Waikato Times.