trouble with a gardening book that tries to present a
month-by-month guide to all New Zealand in 250 pages is that
nothing can be covered in depth.
For southern gardeners, sections on tropical and subtropical
areas in Judy Horton's Yates Month by Month are irrelevant,
although it's nice to dream of popping a few avocados and
mangoes into the garden and harvesting ripe fruit a year or
The inclusion of suggestions for tropical gardens reflects
the fact that the writer, Judy Horton, is Australian and
Yates clearly intends this book to serve New Zealand and
Australia. And naturally every imaginable pest and disease is
to be controlled with a Yates product.
Yates Month by Month fails not only because of the relevance
issue but because the advice for the South Island's temperate
and cold climates is not always applicable. For example,
gardeners in cold areas, including Central Otago, are told to
finish planting spring bulbs in May, much later than the
usually recommended February or March.
It is also surprising to see Horton suggesting sowing
lettuces in temperate and cold regions in June and July - and
in Dunedin, I certainly don't plant potatoes outside in July.
The other major criticism of Yates Month by Month is the
layout. Despite a reasonable index, it is not easy to find
material, as general topics, such as propagating by layering
or sowing seeds, are tucked into individual months.
Rather than spending about $35 on this inadequate book, I'd
suggest gardeners buy a nice shrub.
Gillian Vine is a Dunedin gardening writer.