Six of the season’s best

With but a few short weeks until Christmas, gardening writer CEDRIC BRYANT looks at a selection of the latest books with gift potential for green-fingered friends and family…

WHO in gardening is not familiar with the Ross family, Sandra and Graham Ross and daughter Linda? With their long-running TV program, it was only natural that they would publish a book, namely “From the Ground Up”, a complete garden guide for NSW gardeners (h/back, 280pp, $59.95). I question why just NSW? The answer is they have Victorian and SA editions if you are sending to friends in those States. It is packed with garden information in a clear and concise manner from propagating to planting and pruning.

THE rush is on to write books on organic gardening. At present three out of five books I received for review are on this subject. I am all for it and ABC Books are right in there with “The New Organic Gardener” by Tim Marshall (360pp, h’back, $55). The subtitle is “The Ultimate Guide to Organic Gardening in Australia”. I am always wary of the word “ultimate”, however this gets very close. Former ABC gardening expert Peter Cundal states: “Without question, this is the great informative book gardeners everywhere have been waiting for.” I guess you cannot have a better recommendation.

A COMPANION ABC Books’ publication is “Organic Fruit Growing – Your complete guide to producing beautiful fruit all year round” by Annette McFarlane (p/back, 221pp, $35). Detailed how-to-grow instructions starting with getting the soil right, drainage, purchasing and planting of 60 shrubs, vines and trees. Organic methods of pest and disease control are included, keeping those nasty chemicals right away from your garden. McFarlane is a regular writer for “ABC Organic Gardener” magazine and author of the best seller “Organic Vegetable Gardening”.

“Birdscaping Australian Gardens” by George Adams (D&G Publishing h/back, 364pp, $59.95) is possibly one of the best bird books that I have seen or is it a book just about birds? The subtitle describes it more accurately as “A guide to native plants and the garden birds they attract”. The first half is devoted to growing wildflowers and native grasses that will attract a wide range of birds to your garden. The second half lists 55 of the major bird families, with superb photography of birds and exquisite line drawings. If you want to attract native birds to your garden, then this is undoubtedly the book – and what a magnificent present.

ALLEN Gilbert’s books are great value and always straight to the point. His latest “Berry Bounty” (p/back 215pp, $29.95) looks at how to grow traditional and unusual berries from strawberries and blueberries to feijoas and more. When in the bookshop check out his books on tomatoes, very relevant at present, apples, citrus and nuts.

IF you like recording progress in your garden, then “My Garden  Journal for Australia and New Zealand” (h/back, 145pp, $49.98) is divided into the four seasons with what to do when and followed at the end of each season with a section you can enter your successes and failures. Room is provided for storing plant labels, seed packets in tabbed pockets. This is ideal for friends who are new to gardening.

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