Friday, June 11, 2021



The Book of Australian Trees

Author: Inga Simpson

If you value, love and respect trees it makes sense that you will want to share those feelings with children. The Book of Australian Trees is an engaging book that discusses 15 iconic Aussie trees and explains the differences between them and the vital part they play in the earth’s ecosystems. From providing food and habitat for birds, insects and animals to why they are important to humans “What trees breath out, we breathe in”.

Trees are often undervalued in our society, particularly in our cities. Educating our children to learn the importance of trees and the stories they tell is crucial to ensure trees receive the love and respect they deserve.

“Australia has some of the tallest, oldest, fattest and most unusual trees in the world. They have changed over thousands of years, adapting to this continent’s deserts, mountains, and coasts.

When you first stand in a forest, the trees all seem the same. But if you look more closely, they are each a little different, like people.

This book is a love song to Australian trees, from the red Ironbark to the grey gum, the Moreton Bay fig to the Queensland bottle tree”.

I think this is a lovely book to gift to a child (and a good way to get them off their electronic devices for an hour) or to introduce to a school library or even for a garden centre to have ‘story time’ while parents are shopping for plants. I loved this book!


Author: Inga Simpson began her career as a professional writer for government before gaining her PhD in creative writing. In 2011 she took part in the Queensland Writer’s Centre Manuscript Development Program and, as a result, Hachette Australia published her first novel MR WIGG, in 2013. NEST, Inga’s second novel was published in 2014 before being longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Stella Prize and shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal. Inga’s third novel, the acclaimed ‘Where the Trees Where’ was published in 2016. Inga won the final Eric Rolls Prize for her nature writing and recently completed a second PhD exploring the history of Australian nature writers. Inga’s memoir about her love of Australian nature and life with trees ‘Understory was published in 2017.


Illustrator: Alicia Rogerson is a regional artist and illustrator that lives in Bridgetown, WA. She creates her artwork within her studio that sits on a hill beside a forest. Inspired by nature, objects and collections of things, her artworks are bold, inspiring and feminine. A recurring theme is weaving in elements from her dreams, childhood and the imagination.

Publisher: Hachette Australia

Hardback 9780734418531

RRP $29.99



BOOK REVIEW: Plants of Power


Plants of Power

“Cultivate your garden apothecary and transform your life”

 Following your passion is hugely rewarding. This was the case with the authors of Plants of Power, Stacey and Miranda when they decided to hang up their corporate suits and high heels when they felt their sense of connection to something bigger was missing.

 “Humans are part of the ecosystem and the faster we reconnect with nature, the fast we will feel better and whole”.

 “Plants of Power is a modern guide to the most important plants to include in your own garden apothecary”. Stacey and Miranda say they wrote this book to encourage us to bring the outside in. They offer a guide that is both practical and demonstrates reciprocity, in which you can discover old wisdom, new applications and accurate growing advice.

 Miranda and Stacey say we should be connecting with the earth, getting our hands in the soil and get to planting for our own health and wellbeing.

You don’t have to be a gardener to find this book useful. Each plant listing has a “how we love to use this plant”.

 With a listing of 66 plant profiles with each covering the seasons they should be grown in Spring, summer, autumn and winter ensuring. Growing seasonally increases your chance of success for propagating and cultivating.

 Each plant listed has the Scientific name as well as common names the plant is known buy and its superpower. There is plenty of detailed information about the plants including harvest and cultivations notes. There are also suggestions about how the plants can be used in a recipe, magical working or guide.

About the Authors:

Stacey Demarco is a bestselling author who specialises in pagan, nature and mythos-based subjects. She is internationally respected, with her works translated into many different languages. She is the author of the popular annual Lunar and Seasonal Diary for both the northern and southern hemispheres and is known widely as ‘the Modern Witch’.

Stacey has an eclectic collection of plant friends and seed-saves and lives in Sydney’s Northern Beaches in a small house with a big garden with her husband, animal companions and about 10,000 bees. Her favourite plant is chickweed because being clumsy she often finds and anti-inflammatory very handy.

Miranda Mueller is a permaculturist who lives with her husband and two children, chickens and other animals in the Dandenong Ranges. She runs a successful herb and vegetable seedling nursery encompassing a gardening business and teaches permaculture from the home farm. Miranda regularly opens the farm gates to encourage others to reconnect with the art of growing food, for people’s health as well as for the earth’s wellbeing. Her favourite plant is the dandelion, a plant that has been labelled a weed, yet delivers so much wisdom and nutrition whilst growing in the cracks of concrete.


RRP $39.99

352 pp

ISBN: 9781925924350

Publisher: Rockpool Publishing


BOOK REVIEW: Spirit of The Garden


Spirit of the Garden

By Trisha Dixon

You know that feeling you get when on a bushwalk or a trek, the smell and sounds of the bush that makes you feel at one with nature. That sense of place! Renowned author and photographer Trisha Dixon captures this in her book Spirit of the Garden. Gardens can be formal or wild, serene or ostentatious, native or exotic, colourful or monochrome. According to Trisha if we like a person, we will probably like their garden.

This book is like no other I have read. There are many books about garden design or how to create a garden, but this book talks more about the connection with nature and country and how you can work with nature to create your own piece of paradise.

As a nature lover myself I could feel myself being absorbed into her words. “Mystery and the evocation of a sense of enigma are the secret ingredients in creating a garden that people will remember long after they have left it”.

Trisha’s vast personal library as well as her research has inspired her to share written reflections from both Australian and International Landscape Designers from various parts of the world.    

In the chapter Creating Beauty Where We Live Trisha says “The beauty of nature finds a way into our subconscious narrative and so we garden, in order to surround ourselves with beauty. Whether we succeed or not is totally a matter of perception – one person’s paradise is not always another person’s ideal. It’s all in the seeing.”

Trisha says gardening is an art form, but as in art, there are no rules – Individualistic expression is what counts.

The book explores the value in the spirit of gardens and landscape and the different approaches to garden design, framed in the context of a harsh and changing climate that we need to embrace. Trisha welcomes the shift away from the Anglocentric approach to landscape design to one that shows an intimate engagement with the spirit of place, an acknowledgement of the Aboriginal history and mythology embedded in the land.

Beautifully written in her epilogue “Many threads are woven into the fabric of a landscape: the design process, where or who the plants came from, the canvas that underlies the creation – be it urban or rural, man-made or natural - and the layers of time, of history”.

Spirit of the Garden is a new release and is a beautiful book featuring a series of written reflections, interwoven with Trisha’s evocative painterly photographs.

It was a pleasure to read Trisha Dixon’s book Spirit of the Garden

ISBN:  978-0-642-27970-5

Hardcover   RRP $65 NLA Publishing


BOOK REVIEW -SAFER GARDENS: Plant Flammability & Planning for Fire


SAFER GARDENS: Plant Flammability & Planning for Fire

By Lesley Corbett

For those of you who may have been affected by bush fires or even live in an area where it’s a possibility you should read this book. It is excellent and easy to follow. The author, Lesley Corbett says the intention of the books is to provide an overview of fact-based information about plant flammability and related matters. She has bought together scientific research and data from experts in the field. To help us make wise and informed decisions about how to garden more safely in fire prone areas The flammability of individual plants is only one aspect of gardening in fire-prone areas. Good design and ongoing maintenance are also critical (this is outlined in chapter 4. The book includes an excellent Plant Flammability table with a key. I can see that Lesley has put such a lot of work into this book and I think all landscape designers should include a copy as a reference. Having said that it’s a good read for everyone as our climate warms and bushfires are more frequent and more destructive.

The book is broken up into four parts. An introduction -The Big Picture - Individual plants and the Science:

Publishers’ info:

Destructive bushfires are increasing in frequency and intensity around the world. For people living in fire prone areas there are no reliable guides about which plants have low flammability and which are frighteningly flammable. Safer Gardens is that guide, with over 500 plants assessed, based on fire research from around the world.

Readers can look up a plant in the Plant Flammability Table to get an idea of its flammability then turn to the A–Z for more detailed information.

The book contains advice about ways to create a more firesafe garden, including the need to carefully manage the use of mulch and hedges.

This is citizen science, written by a gardener for other gardeners. Complex and potentially confusing science are made comprehensible and usable, to help you make your garden and hence your house safer.

·         Science-based information about a plant’s flammability, invasiveness and particular needs

·         Reliable guide for people living in fire prone areas

·         Over 500 plants assessed

·         Fire research from around the world


Australian Scholarly Publishing

Format: Paperback

Released: April 2021

ISBN: 978-1-922454-60-7

Price: $50.

BOOK REVIEW: The botanical art of WILLIAM T COOPER


For the lovers of nature

The botanical art of WILLIAM T COOPER

This beautiful hardcover book by eminent bird artist William T Cooper is a real treasure.  I admire greatly artists who can create such beautiful images and this book doesn’t disappoint. It is a lovely book for reference but also as a beautiful coffee table book to read at your leisure. It has five chapters which include:

·         Rainforest trees and shrubs

·         Vines, ferns and epiphytes.

·         Dry Country,

·         Swamps, mangroves and Beach Forest

·         Beyond Australia


William T. Cooper was one of the world's most esteemed bird painters. In his paintings, birds nibble at plump red berries, rest on branches covered with lichen, and clutch forest fruits and leaves in their claws. These botanical details, the backdrops to his bird portraits, celebrate the flora of Australia, and are the subject of a new lavishly illustrated book written by his botanist wife, Wendy Cooper.

“Bill always wanted to tell a story in his paintings, with the botanical components as part of that story” I think he succeeded in doing that.

In The Botanical Art of William T. Cooper, Cooper’s sketches, studies and paintings of plants, as well as many of the finished illustrations in which they appear, provide a unique insight into his artistic process.

Wendy Cooper’s notes, in particular those about where a specimen was collected or what attracted Bill to the particular branch or fruit or flower—complement her husband’s art, with their partnership continuing on the page. She also includes

detailed botanical descriptions of each plant and personal notes about where a particular specimen was found.

A beautiful full colour hardback to dip into and treasure, The Botanical Art of William T. Cooper celebrates William’s work and showcases the spectacular flora of Australia and beyond in all its messy, imperfect glory.

Additional Information

• An insight into the botanical art included in many of Cooper's famous bird paintings

• Includes sketches, studies and paintings from the National Library and Wendy     Cooper’s private collection

• A fabulous gift for lovers of birds, nature or art

About the Author

Wendy Cooper was Bill Cooper's partner in life and work. She is a respected botanist who has discovered, and named, a number of new plant species, and has also had species named in her honour. She is the co-author, with Bill Cooper, of Fruits of the Australian Tropical Rainforest and Australian Rainforest Fruits:A Field Guide. Contributor Rupert Russell is a naturalist, writer and friend to the Coopers.


Released 1st May

ISBN 9780642279712

NLA Publishing 324 pp

Category: History/Botanics

I'm back

Well it has been way too long since I posted on this site. It was a good intention but as usual workload takes over. I am hoping to start posting again.

I have reviewed a few books recently and so I may start with sharing those reviews.