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RHS Encyclopedia of GardeningBOOK REVIEWS

RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening

Edited by Christopher Brickell
Published by Dorling Kindersley
Distributed by Penguin

PEDIGREES don't come much stronger than the Royal Horticultural Society and the bicentenary edition of this classic is everything a gardener could want and possibly more - in the best possible way, that is. For this is no dusty tome to haul out as an occasional reference, but a giant "how-to" handbook which will be of great practical use.

Editor-in-chief Christopher Brickell was with the RHS for almost 40 years, retiring from the position of director general in 1993. He had a similar hand in the impressive companion volume, the RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers and is widely published as a horticulturist in his own right.

The work is split into two parts: Creating the Garden and Maintaining the Garden. The aim of the first part is to cover all aspects of planning, plant cultivation and care. It opens with a comprehensive section on planning and design, crammed with ideas on achieving an ideal garden to suit a range of lifestyles. If, rather than starting from scratch, you want to make over an existing garden, there are some great tips on incorporating existing features in your project. The individual chapters in this section focus on the main plant groups and areas of the garden, ranging from ornamental trees and perennials. Each chapter has in-depth, illustrated instructions.

The second section is equally as comprehensive and focuses on garden equipment, landscaping and so on.

There's also useful coverage of issues like water conservation and organics. The illustrations in the section on pest and diseases are a bonus and an aid for quick identification and control.

The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1894 with the aim of "the improvement of the practice of horticulture". The RHS has lost none of its vigour and insight, judging by this work. The keen gardener won't be able to go past it.

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

Weekend Gardener

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Last updated: March 1, 2021