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Book celebrates love of New Zealand’s native plants

New Zealanders talk about their love of native plants

Politicians, artists, academics, farmers, business people – growing numbers of New Zealanders are committed to a passionate love affair with native plants.
This collection of 44 personal narratives is sumptuously illustrated by photographs by John Maillard, who travelled from Invercargill to Auckland to bring to life contributors’ garden stories. Contributors include Peri Drysdale, Jeanette Fitzsimons, Tim Shadbolt, Steven Tindall, and a host of conservationists and gardeners esteemed in their locales.

A richly illustrated celebration of New Zealanders and their passion for native plants has been published by Canterbury University Press.

Living with Natives, edited by Professor Ian Spellerberg from Lincoln University and Napier-based environmental and planning consultant Michele Frey, is a collection of 44 moving and informative narratives by people of all ages and from all walks of life who talk about their love of, and experiences with, native plants.

“These are such wonderful and inspiring stories,” said Professor Spellerberg.

“Some will bring not only tears of joy but tears to your eyes because they are so personal and so moving. I dearly hope that all those who read this book will be inspired to make a place for native plants in their lives.”

Sumptuously illustrated with images taken by Christchurch-based photographer John Maillard, each garden story records the author’s successes and failures with native flora, many offering helpful tips to the reader.

Those telling their gardening tales include Untouched World founder Peri Drysdale, Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt, children from Kimbolton School in the Manawatu, Coromandel potter Barry Brickell, Canterbury botanist Hugh Wilson, Black Cap Mathew Sinclair plus a host of conservationists and native plant enthusiasts from around the country.

Ms Frey, whose passion resides in ecological restoration, said finding out about the projects going on around the country had been so exciting and encouraging.

“The book has provided an opportunity to understand and celebrate the outstanding efforts being undertaken with native plants around the country.”

The book follows on from a previous publication Professor Spellerberg edited with the late botanist David Given, called Going Native (Canterbury University Press, 2004).

Living with Natives was published with the support of Resene Paints Ltd.

Author biographies:

Ian Spellerberg is a Professor of Nature Conservation and Director of the Isaac Centre for Nature Conservation at Lincoln University.
He has been involved in a number of native plant projects, including the recently established Te Ara Kakariki Greenway Canterbury Project. He is president of the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network and Vice-President of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand.

Michele Frey is an environmental and recreation planning consultant in Napier. She is actively involved in a number of reserve restoration projects, and carries out parks and reserves planning for a range of public and private organisations.

Photographer John Maillard is the programme leader of Photography and Multimedia at CPIT in Christchurch. With over 20 years photographic experience in Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, his specialisation is in documenting landscapes and people.

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One comment on “Book celebrates love of New Zealand’s native plants

  1. I have been trying to recall a Landscaping with NZ Natives book I once owned, I loaned it to someone!
    My problem is that I do not remember the title. It was not a big book, a paperback, maybe at most 200mm x 250mm and only a little over 1/4″ thick. It had suggestions and pictures, for what looked good together, grouping etc.

    I hope you may be of some help- it is much the same dimensions as the paperback book on Propagating NZ Natives.

    Thank you, Joanna

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