No. 89 in the 'Discovering' Series
By Kay N. Sanecki
Published by Shire Publications, UK, 1993
Reviewed by Marian Jones
gives sensible advice on the growing of herbs, evidently taken from
It is a soft-cover book
of A5 size. It begins by describing what constitutes a herb, and
traces the history of herbs to the present day. General growth requirements,
propagation methods, and planting ideas follow. Thorough and detailed
descriptions are given on how and when to harvest and store herbs.
The main body of the
book consists of 78 pages devoted to 118 individual herbs and their
related species and cultivars, with suggestions for their growth
and use. The book finishes with short sections on cooking with herbs
and making potpourri. A section entitled 'Herb Gardens Today' describes
gardens to visit around Britain, and includes a surprising number
of disparaging remarks.
Addresses of sixteen
Collections of herbal relevance under the auspices of the National
Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens are given, followed
by a list of further reading.
The index is quite inadequate,
as it does not list botanical names. This is astonishing, considering
the horticultural background of the author.
Herbs are currently in
vogue, and the market is flooded with books on the topic. So many
of these are 'coffee table' books, full of glossy pictures but very
little useful information, with botanical accuracy and cultural
advice in particular often lacking. However, Kay Sanecki's emphasis
is on growing herbs, and accounts of associated myths and legends
Botanical names are used
throughout the text, including family names (although many of these
are now obsolete). Forty-one photographs illustrate the 120 pages
of text. They are acknowledged to the Iris Hardwick Library of Photographs,
and would benefit from being either larger or in colour.
Most of the listed plants
are available and may be grown in New Zealand. Also, most of the
cultural information is relevant, provided the seasons are reversed
for the Southern Hemisphere.
Kay Sanecki gives up-to-date
information on modern drug uses and research involving herbs, and
states which practices are now obsolete. I was glad to see a caution
on the need for correct identification and preparation methods for
herbs, especially for medicinal purposes. She also rightly advises
against depleting wildflower populations by collecting in the wild.
The most valuable features
of this book are the cultural advice and the herb growing ideas.
However, Discovering Herbs is probably of most use to beginners.
Experienced New Zealand gardeners wanting a book on growing herbs
would do better buying a book written for growing N.Z. herbs under
in New Zealand: Journal of the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture
1993 4(2): 19
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