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Hebes and ParahebesHebes and Parahebes

By Douglas Chalk, 152 pages.

Reviewed by Tony Hayter (aj.me.hayter@boltblue.com)
The Hebe Society (UK)
eproduced with his permission from
Hebe News, Volume 16, No. 2, pages 25-28.

Douglas Chalk was a founder member and Vice President of the Hebe Society . Hebes and Parahebes was the first book on hebes. It was published in 1988 in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and is now out of print.

Douglas's book appropriately enough has a foreword by Lawrie Metcalf. Chapter 1 has a brief introduction to New Zealand and a comparison of growing conditions in New Zealand, North America and the British Isles. In chapter 2 Douglas describes the change of name from Veronica to Hebe, the differences between Veronica and Hebe, and the splitting of the sub-shrubby genus of Parahebe from both Veronica and Hebe. Chapter 3 explores the features of hebes: the variety of size, shape and colour of leaves, leaf bud sinus, colour of stems, times of flowering, colour of flowers, types of inflorescences. Lastly there is a table of 46 hebes and 2 parahebes with their sizes, flower colour, leaf colour and times of flowering. The growing of hebes and parahebes is described in chapter 4. Here Douglas considers soil types, frost, wind, preparation for planting, shelter belts, pruning, and lastly pests and diseases. In chapter 5 he discusses the propagation of hebes and parahebes from seed, cuttings and layering. Chapter 6 is devoted to hebe nomenclature. Douglas in chapter 7 advises on which hebes and parahebes to grow in a variety of situations: troughs, ground cover, borders, coastal areas, and hedges.

In chapter 8, the largest chapter, Douglas describes nearly 300 species, varieties and cultivars of Hebe. The description is usually a paragraph or two. Sixty hebes are illustrated in colour, thirty as line drawings. Chapter 9 discusses the Chionohebe species and chapter 10 the Parahebe species and cultivars.

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