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Friday, 13 June 2008

Worth A Read Or Two

I buy a fair amount of gardening books, and I read a whole lot more. But my frustration is that they are often not easily translated to a South African context. I see tons of books that are almost useless to South Africans because they have information that is very specific to a northern hemisphere temperate climate. I feel sorry for the people who unwittingly buy these gardening books and will never be able to use them apart from coffee table books or as drool material.

Fortunately some good quality books are starting to come from places with a similar climate to ours - mainly Australia. Added to this is the fact that South African gardening books are also improving. They're starting to look less like the gardening books that I inherited from my grandmother that contained information that is now either irrelevant or outdated.

An excellent book that I found recently is - The Self-Sustaining Garden: A Gardener's Guide to Matrix Planting
Simply put, the idea behind matrix planting is a completely natural one. It is based on choosing the right plant for the right space. This minimises the amount of pruning, fertilising, weeding and all round extra work that is necessary to enable plants just to survive let alone thrive. It is a principle that is extremely important for people with minimal time and energy, as well as in places with minimal water and other resources.

I noticed a quote on the back of the book that was something to the effect of - 'The thing that separates this book from the host of gardening books out there is that it actually has something to say'.

This post will be the first of many in which I'd like to bring attention to books that I feel have something to say, especially in a South African context.

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