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The Ultimate Book of Small Gardens

Graham Rice
Reviewed by Gordon Roberts

GRAHAM RICE, author of 22 gardening books and Chelsea Flower Show judge, grew up in a small garden, his own first garden was tiny and he has created gardens in small spaces ever since. In a phrase, he's well-qualified on the topic.

Here, then, is a master class offering practical advice on designing a small space to meet your needs, whether in an existing garden or an empty plot.

As Rice puts it, the one thing the size of a garden should not restrict is your imagination.

The book strolls through structural features, the practicalities (such as weed prevention, pruning and composting), garden styles and stocking the garden. There's a brief chapter, too, on preventing problems; looking at pest and disease prevention and control.

Where Rice's eye and experience really excel is in the final chapter entitled Plants for Purposes.

His advice is to the point. On hedging, for instance, he says: "planting hedges in a small garden is a risky business because they can take space that can be better used for more attractive plantings"; on water gardens: "Even the smallest garden has room for a water feature of some kind but, when planting, it is important you choose varieties carefully."

There's also a useful plant list for difficult situations, but remember to reverse the two poles for New Zealand conditions.

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

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Last updated: March 1, 2021