Sigh. Another joint venture infomercial from Penguin Books and Tui Garden Products whereby you, the customer, get to pay about $50 to be told what Tui products you need to buy in order to grow lovely flowers like the ones in the photographs. That is about it in a nutshell. On the plus side, this book does at least have an index and, hallelujah, it actually gives the botanical names in small print of the main plant families. It is just a shame that neither author nor editor understand the conventions of plant nomenclature. Common nouns like daffodil, magnolia, lily and bluebell do not have a capital letter every time they are used.
The bulk of the book is alphabetical listings of flowering plants (trees, shrubs, climbers, bulbs, perennials, annuals – yes, apparently you can cover the greater part of the plant kingdom in just one book) and it appears completely random as to whether the plant will be listed under its botanical name or its common name. Recommended varieties are equally random.
I am afraid the author lost us when we read the page on magnolias. It was bad enough to mislabel a photo of our Magnolia Vulcan as Genie, let alone misspell our famed Magnolia Iolanthe as Lolanthe but when we got to read that the evergreen Magnolia Little Gem is a small growing form of the aforementioned deciduous Lolanthe, we threw our hands up in despair. And we have actually managed to grow quite a few magnolias here without planting them into Tui Garden Mix and fertilising them each year with Novatec.
When the recommendation came that you plant anigozanthus (kangaroo paws – Australian plant that thrives in marginal desert conditions) with Saturaid, we worried about the advocacy for routine use of a soil wetting agent. There is no faster way to kill a woody plant or a dry loving plant in humid areas with high rainfall.
By the way, Penguin, it is time you dispensed with the auto spellchecker. The author of this book winning prizes for exhibiting her Gladys rivals a previous author counselling readers to throw out their Algarve. The author may have been using the colloquial term of gladdies, but even that is inappropriate for the text on page 164 and 165 where poor Gladys has her name taken in vain repeatedly. Gladiolus stands for one, gladioli for more than one. Gladdie is the vernacular, not the common name. Gladys is somebody’s grandmother.
Otherwise, it is a typical Penguin/Tui book which sits alongside its three sister volumes on vegetables, kid’s gardening and the infamous fruit one. I am hoping they have called it a day and don’t plan to inflict further volumes (maybe on organics or natives?) on the buying public.
The Tui NZ Flower Garden by Rachel Vogan (Penguin; ISBN:978 014 356553 6) reviewed by Abbie Jury.
First published in the Waikato Times and reproduced here with their permission.