Touchwood Books Newsletter June 2008
If you stood on one of the town bridges
when the Wanganui River is in flood the equivalent of 42 truck and trailer loads
of dirt would be passing under your feet every second. That was one of the figures
given at the NZ Institute of Forestry Conference in Palmerston North last month.
We went up the Pohangina Valley to see the terrible erosion at Goulter's Gully
and in the steep surrounding hillsides. The eroded soil is building up the riverbeds
on the fertile flats, and this is going to lead to more flooding in the future.
Feilding and Palmerston North are both under flood threat. It's scary stuff.
the carbon credit scheme was sorted out there could be an incentive for those
sheep and beef farmers on steep, eroding hillsides to get rid of all their stock
and plant trees. With the current indecision about carbon credits, no-one is planting
forests, though the Horizons Regional Council has set up a Sustainable Land Use
Initiative to encourage farmers to plant up erodible hillsides. Erosion in this
area is a bigger threat than climate change. I am a great believer in climate
change - it is always changing and always has - but as for man's assumption that
he can do anything about it, just how arrogant and silly can we be?
a Notable Trees Trust Conference in Wellington that was about finding and recording
the biggest, best and historic trees of New Zealand. Bob Burstall published "Great
Trees of New Zealand" in 1984 after many years travelling around the country
measuring our giants. Since then many of the trees have died or had their tops
blown out. The Trust is to set up a network of tree recorders to find out what
is still there, and what has emerged since Burstall's survey.
A very positive
meeting, with much emphasis on planting trees for future generations rather than
spending thousands of dollars propping up rotting, old geriatrics. This day, run
under the auspices of the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture, was organised by
David Sole, curator of the Wellington Botanic Gardens. For further information
go to www.notabletrees.org.nz.
The next day the RNZIH New Zealand Gardens
Trust Conference began with a visit to two Wairarapa gardens. The purpose of this
Trust is to set standards for those with gardens open to the public. They have
published a small 64 page booklet "New Zealand Gardens of Significance"
which we sell for $12. At the AGM that evening I was made an Associate of Honour
of the RNZIH. Jack Hobbs, head of the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens, presented
me with the award and made some nice comments about Touchwood Books' contribution
to the NZ horticultural scene over the last 21 years. I was very flattered.
more info about the RNZIH see the enclosed flier or go to www.rnzih.org.nz.
Bawa - The Complete Works" by David Robson was published in 2002 but I'd
never heard of it till we got a new book by the same author, "Beyond Bawa".
The late Geoffrey Bawa was a Sri Lankan architect, born in 1919, who fused local
construction traditions with modern forms to create buildings that have become
legendary. A very satisfying blend of different cultural and religious styles.
There are two chapters on two of his life-long projects - his house in Colombo
and his estate Lunuganga. The book is a 278 page hardback, well illustrated with
500 photos, 250 of them in colour. $175.
I think the above is such an interesting
book I have ordered copies of "Lunuganga", about Bawa's own property
in Southwest Sri Lanka. Here he transformed an abandoned rubber plantation into
a series of carefully orchestrated mystical gardens, a place of varying moods
and sensations. It is now administered by a trust and can be visited by appointment.
I loved the comment he once overheard one visitor making to another - "This
would be a lovely place to make a garden." The text is by Bawa himself. I
haven't yet seen a copy of the book but all the photos are black and white. I
don't even know what the price will be. Over $100.
Cape Expedition Diary. Auckland Islands, 1942-43", edited by Mary McEwen,
is a fascinating account of a year spent on the islands (which are about 300km
south of Stewart Island) as a Coast Watcher during the Second World War. It covers
the birds, plants, animals, people, fish, boats, geology, the food they cooked
and ate, plus their day-by-day activities. Black and white line drawings by the
author. In 1977 the author was knighted for his services to science and conservation.
A 256 page paperback, $40.
"The Wild Trees" by Richard Preston
is about a group of madmen who go climbing to the tops of the world's tallest
trees to find out what is living there - in the treetops. A good read recommended
by Clive Higgie. A 294 page paperback, no pictures, $37.
Options For New Zealand" by Peter Hall and John Gifford of SCION looks at
all the options for making fuel from using waste wood, short rotation forestry,
municipal rubbish and sewerage, farm waste and algae. It deals with the different
processes that can be used to convert the different forms of biomass into various
useable fuels. An A4 sized ring-bound, 83page paperback with a CD giving even
more information. $80.
We have a large number of back orders for Lawrie
Metcalf's "The Cultivation of New Zealand Native Grasses" and are greatly
relieved to learn it will be reprinted in September. $35.
Also coming again
in September will be the second reprint of Audrey Eagle's huge 2 volume set "Eagle's
Complete Trees and Shrubs of New Zealand", $250. Order now and we will send
this book to you post-free.
Issue Two of "The Gardener's Journal"
edited by Margaret Long is now available. It is a quarterly literary journal (4
issues per year) for $49 per year. Send subscriptions to Margaret Long, 139 Old
Tai Tapu Road, Halswell, Christchurch, or contact her at email@example.com.
It is a good read covering all aspects of gardening.
"The Shade Garden"
by Beth Chatto is amazingly good value at only $35. It is a 224 page paperback
and I assumed that at $35 it would be all text with a few photos. Not so. It is
packed with colour photos showing shade loving plants for year round interest.
to Grow Fresh Air. 50 House Plants That Purify Your Home or Office" by Dr
BC Wolverton, a NASA lunar habitat scientist. Houseplants can absorb the nasty
chemicals released by furniture, carpets and building materials. This 144 page
paperback describes the best 50 plants to use to purify your indoor environment.
We sent a parcel of books to Hamilton - took 12 days to finally reach
the anxious customer. We ordered a book from England - here in 5 days. NZ Post
charges have all gone up.
All of our titles are listed on the internet at
http://touchwoodbooks.co.nz. If you wish to order any of these books just email
us or use our secure online order form at https://ssl.ramhb.co.nz/touchwoodbooks.
Postage and packaging is $5 per parcel for NZ orders less than 2kg. Overseas orders
and NZ orders heavier than 2kg will be quoted. All titles mentioned have been
in stock but may not be when you order. We accept all New Zealand book tokens.
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gardening and reading