Book Reviews » The Coastal Garden

April 2nd 2017


Design inspiration from wild New Zealand

by Isobel Gabites

Publisher Potton & Burton

RRP $50

Reviewed by Mike Whittall

When I first picked up this weighty publication I immediately thought it was another gardening book, in the same mould as I view the plethora of cooking books. Even the blurb on the back cover which stated, “essential reading for gardeners and garden designers,” reinforced my initial thoughts. It wasn’t until I flicked through the many sections of the book I found myself totally absorbed by the wonderful array of photographs – and some helpful diagrams – all placed to illustrate key points the author is making. Throughout the theme of ‘connecting with nature’ prevails, taking into consideration the wide diversity of location, landform, geology and life forms in our small island nation. In this respect the reader will find chapter two particularly helpful. Here the author has identified 13 diverse geographic regions of our islands, then set about identifying key features of each. My attention was immediately drawn to the Tasman Bay- Golden Bay section, given my family has recently bought a coastal property there. Here I was introduced to buggar grass, sand sedge and trip me up. A wonderful photo of Wainui Bay estuary also caught my attention. Elsewhere I also read about kohekohe that grows well in the lower