Time to get Digging……

The weather is getting warmer, which means your soil is warming up, time to get your gumboots on and get out in the garden.

Spring is such a vital time in the garden…..

  • Time to get  your compost back into shape after a winter slow down.
  • Get mulching.
  • Prune, snip trim and dead head to encourage all that new spring growth.
  • Plant pretty summer flowers like Alyssum, California Poppies, Petunias and Lobelia.
  • Decide where you’re going to plant those amazing Dahlias.
  • Get your Summer vegetable patch off and flourishing.
  • Time to get those seed potatoes in – the delight of digging your own new potatoes on Christmas Day
  • Plant Strawberries and Raspberries, don’t forget to feed them well for a bumper Christmas crop.

So I have chosen a few of my all time favourites from our gardening section to give you some inspiration……

Back to the Land – A Year of Country Gardening by Lynda Hallinan

This is currently my all time favourite. Above all else because of it’s practical NZ content. Also it’s just downright gorgeous and full of wonderful recipes for all the abundant produce your garden will magically grow after reading this book 🙂  I’m insistent that one day I will make the very intriguing Zucchini Jam on Page 185

at home in the gardenGardening guru Lynda Hallinan shares a full year of her gardening exploits. Peppered with practical advice and more than 60 recipes for making the most of her harvests, Lynda’s monthly accounts of country life reveal her unstoppable energy and down-to-earth enthusiasm for living off the land.

Having met a man with land, she’s now happily ensconced with her husband, Jason, and young son, Lucas, on a 20-hectare property at the foot of the Hunua Ranges, with a pantry full of preserves, a shed full of home brew, 26 cattle, 12 ewes, a geriatric ram called Rambo, 13 chooks, three ducks, four cats and two dogs. She’s ditched her high heels for gumboots, high street shops for online seed catalogues and mail-order nurseries, and has let her gardening talents loose creating a country-sized vegetable garden and heritage fruit orchard.

Reserve ‘Back to the Land – A Year of Country Gardening’

Native by Design – landscape design with New Zealand plants                         Edited by Ian Spellerberg and Michele Frey

This is the book to grab if you want to go all out native. It’s full of great design ideas and the photography shows you just how striking NZ native gardens can look….

native by designTwenty of New Zealand’s top landscape architects and designers offer their wisdom and advice on the subject of landscaping with native plants in this extraordinary book.

With photographs capturing the uniqueness and splendor of each location–from Kaeo in the Far North to Queenstown in the south–this account is a forum by which the experts communicate their vision, passion, experiences, and challenges while imparting their knowledge unto present and future gardeners.

Reserve ‘Native by Design’

The Kitchen Garden Companion by Stephanie Alexander

This compendium of garden delights lists nearly every known garden like ingredient, A-Z from  from Amaranth to Zucchini. And as stated on the cover will teach you how to dig, plant, water, grow, harvest, chop, and cook. Each chapter covers the growing of each ingredient and is then accompanied with a selection of yummy recipes using that ingredient. At over 750 pages this book is officially a brick, but a fabulous one at that……

alexanderIf you have ever dreamed of picking fresh salad for the evening meal, gathering vine-ripened tomatoes or pulling up your own sweet carrots, this is the book for you. Follow in the footsteps of one of Australia’s best-loved cooks and food writers as she reveals the secrets of rewarding kitchen gardening.

Be encouraged by detailed gardening notes that explain how adults and children alike can plant, grow and harvest 73 different vegetables, herbs and fruit, and try some of the 250 recipes that will transform your fresh produce into delicious meals. Whether you have a large plot in a suburban backyard or a few pots on a balcony, you will find everything you need to get started in this inspiring and eminently useful garden-to-table guide.

Reserve ‘ Stephanie Alexander’s ‘Kitchen Garden Companion’

The Grow it Yourself New Zealand  series of books by Andrew Steens

Andrew Steens is a well know NZ horticultural GURU, and these are bibles to growing NZ fruits and vegetables. I love how in the vegetables book it clearly states when to sow and when to harvest.

gifvegetablesA down-to-earth practical guide to growing vegetables for you and your family. Internationally best-selling author and industry-acclaimed gardening guru Andrew Steens is your right-hand man in the vege patch, and here he gives expert advice that will inspire you to give it a go and grow it yourself. Includes an A¿Z of the vegetables best suited to New Zealand gardens, with quick-reference to sowing and harvesting for each of the 33 crops. Plus, handy sowing and harvest charts by climate zone give detailed information about what grows best where and when, along with tips on companion gardening, green crops, planting by the moon and weed control

gif fruitsAnother down-to-earth, practical gardening guide from best-selling author Andrew Steens – a companion volume to Grow it Yourself Vegetables. Packed with sound advice and information, Andrew Steens and his new book, Grow it Yourself Fruit & Nuts are your first port of call when planting a new orchard, or looking for guidance on how to care for your fruit crops. With space-saving new dwarf varieties for today’s smaller gardens and multi-grafted trees that are more resistant to pests and diseases now available, growing fruit in the home garden is becoming increasingly popular

Reserve either of the Grow it Yourself books here

And finally but in no way least

Common Lives by Janice Marriott & Virginia Pawsey

Of course this book gets a big thumbs up because of its local links, and I really enjoyed the first two of their books ‘Common Ground and ‘Common Table’.  This beautiful hardcover its full of correspondence regarding the authors everyday lives, as they discuss developments in their gardens, kitchens and general everyday snippets. The sprinkling of recipes are a bonus….

common livesJanice Marriott and Virginia Pawsey went to Gisborne Girls’ High together and met again after thirty years at a school reunion. They rekindled their friendship and began writing, discovering in the process a shared passion for gardening and cooking – despite having lived very different lives. In their first book, Common Ground, they wrote about their very different gardens and lives. In their eagerly received second book, Common Table, their wise and witty letters traced a seasonal journey through their kitchens. Now the best of both books is brought together in Common Lives.

Their correspondence tells the stories of their lives, their gardens and their kitchens, as well as their loves and their losses. Beautifully written, their letters are funny, poignant, clever and perceptive, as two wise women provide a delightful insight into a wonderful friendship.

Reserve ‘Common Lives’ by Janice Marriott & Virginia Pawsey

I still have a pile of others I want to recommend but don’t want to ramble 🙂 I will display them on a table in the library. Pop on in and check them out.


About HB Williams Memorial Library Staff

The HB Williams Memorial Library includes five community libraries and supports the multi-cultural community of Gisborne and the East Coast of New Zealand.
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