Gardening with Light & Colour Marylyn Abbott, photographs Clay Perry (1999, Kyle Cathy Limited).
This book is about the experience of a remarkable and energetic woman, Marylyn Abbott, who gardens simultaneously on opposite sides of the world and seems to thrive on it!
Gardening in New South Wales, Australia is a vastly different thing to gardening in Hampshire, UK. Apart from climatic differences, the different rates of growth, pests and natural hazards, the light in Australia is vastly different to that in the United Kingdom. And this is the central theme of the book.
Starting with the story of her acquisition the lease of West Green House in Hampshire, the book leads into its main theme by a discussion on the deep reds and maroons - the jewel colours - which had never appealed, rarely been used in the bright, harsh light of Kennerton Green, her Australian garden. The book then leads you through the colour spectrum, with advice on which plants to chose, how to handle them in northern and southern hemisphere gardens all backed up by glorious photographs that must surely have every gardener rushing out to acquire them.
While few of us have a beautiful, historic home of mellow brick in Hampshire with lovely old walls and features to be uncovered 'Sleeping Beauty'fashion, there are many lessons that can be translated into our New Zealand gardens. We are fortunate in that many of the plants that thrive in Hampshire but shrivel up in New South Wales do beautifully for us, yet we too have the clear bright light that drains life from so many colours that glow in the soft Northern Hemisphere light. We can take planting cues from both Marylyn's gardens and enjoy the result.
'Gardening with Light & Colour' does not preach, it Is lively and fun, yet cram full of advice, handled so lightly that you scarcely realise how much good, solid stuff is there. It soon becomes clear that Marylyn Abbott knows her plants and her gardening.
In all, an interesting, informative, chatty, and beautifully illustrated book. Buy it, or at the very least read it!