Garden Problem Solver a useful guide to garden difficulties

YATES GARDEN PROBLEM SOLVER<br>Denise Cleverley<br>HarperCollins
YATES GARDEN PROBLEM SOLVER
Denise Cleverley
HarperCollins
Former New Zealand Woman's Weekly gardening editor Denise Cleverley has given Yates Garden Problem Solver a makeover, so it bears little resemblance to its ancestors, the 1990 Yates Garden Doctor or the 2000 and 2006 editions of Yates Garden Problem Solver.

New illustrations provide a more modern look.

The book starts with problems that may occur when plants are grown from seed, then moves on to a selection of 10 weeds.

This is perhaps the weakest part of the book, as the home gardener is unlikely to want advice on killing gorse or bamboo, while wild ginger, paspalum, kikuyu and Onehunga weed are unlikely to be encountered in the South.

Next up are insects. Again the list is a short one but it is helpful in making it clear which are beneficial (ladybirds and praying mantis, for example) and which are pests. Although grass grubs are omitted here, they are covered later under lawns.

Common problems in fruit, flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs are covered, too, and although the experienced gardener may want more information, the book is best regarded as an introduction, not the ultimate in pest and disease control.

Given that it was published in association with Yates - and that Cleverley now works for the company - Yates Garden Problem Solver naturally leans heavily towards the use of the firm's products, which can be irritating but is understandable.

A problem-solving book may not be essential to a gardener's happiness but it is useful and with a price tag around the $30 mark, this is one to consider as a Christmas present.

 - Gillian Vine is a Dunedin writer.