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A Good Read...what's current in print (and on disk)?

Reviewed in this issue are "The Grevillea Book" by Peter Olde and Neil Marriott and the computer version of the well known book "Grow What Where" by the Australian Plant Study Group.

The Grevillea Book; Volume 1
Peter Olde and Neil Marriott

Published by Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, New Sourh Wales, Australia
Hardcover 355 pages

Reviewed by Merv Hodge

This book is the first of a three volume set suitable for a wide range of readers, from laymen to professionals.

It carries a wealth of information on the genus, including a bibliography of all known publications and authors on the subject, and a history from the first recorded discovery of the Grevillea species by Europeans in 1770 up to the present. Readers have the benefit of results of an enormous amount of research which has been compiled into one publication.

The book is well laid out in such a manner that readers can readily find any information they are likely to require. The contents include:

  1. A Historical Perspective of the Genus Grevillea
  2. The People of Grevillea
  3. On the Structure, Evolution and Biology of Grevillea
  4. The Distribution and Habitat of Grevillea in Australia
  5. A History of Grevillea in Cultivation
  6. Cultivation of Grevilleas
  7. Propagation
  8. Pests and Diseases
  9. Landscaping with Grevilleas
  • The Complete Grevillea Checklist
  • Appendix: New Names and Combinations in Grevillea
  • Keys to Groups and Species
The book should appeal to specialist enthusiasts, professionals and students in horticulture or botany and should be a very useful addition to any library, particularly those of horticultural, biological and botanical institutions.

The book may appear to be of limited use to average gardeners. However, the chapters on cultivation and landscaping are fairly comprehensive and could assist all gardeners, particularly those wishing to set up a native garden. Also, it may encourage them to increase their range of Grevilleas. It is written in such a way that the average person could easily understand it, except for botanical terms, which are well explained in the glossary.

There has been a great deal of confusion for many years on the names of various Grevillea species and this has led to differences in publications and errors in nursery labels. It is up to the reader to select which authority to follow. To my mind, Olde and Marriott have updated the genus to the point where readers who accept their determinations should have any confusion removed.

The text is well supported by black and white photographs, colour photographs, line drawings and diagrams. They have been well selected and appropriately placed. The printing of the colour plates is very good, showing crisp images and good colour. The book appears to be well hound and should stand up to normal use. The size of the book is such that it would be easily held and should not be significantly damaged if dropped.

The Complete Grevillea Checklist, whilst useful, has some errors which I understand were not the fault of the authors. This is mainly in the plants suited to specific areas.

The Key to Groups and Species is easy to use for those wishing to identify species. The use of small diagrams in the key is most useful in illustrating particular points.

The Glossary is helpful to those whose knowledge of botanical terms is limited or rusty.

There is a good index in the back of the book to help the reader pinpoint a particular name or subject contained therein,

The only subject that I feel is lacking is an alphabetical list of synonyms, together with their new names, but I am informed that there will be one included in Volume 3. I feel it would have been more appropriate in Volume 1.

There are many aspects of the book which readers may find useful after some time, eg. the groupings of species may be used as a starting point for closely related species for compatibility in grafting.

This book differs from the coming Volumes 2 and 3. which contain all known species, with colour plates for each.

Buyers, who decide to skip Volume 1 and only buy Volumes 2 and 3 covering the species, may later regret that they do not have the complete set. It is very likely that, after becoming more familiar with the species, there will be a desire to learn more about the genus and it is Volume 1 which contains that information.

The Set covers the 343 Grevillea species, plus all subspecies, and does not concentrate on cultivars or hybrids.

Volume 1 sells for a recommended retail price of $AUS65. This is a fair price: for a book of this size containing colour plates.

It is worth noting that the authors, Peter Olde and Neil Marriott, are members of SGAP who, through their interest, have devoted a tremendous amount of time and travelled thousands of kilometres throughout Australia in field studies to gain the knowledge to produce this fine work.

It is a feather in the cap of SGAP to have members who are capable and willing to put the effort into producing such a professional work.

Peter Olde, proprietor of a small business, amateur botanist and horticulaturist, is leader of the Society for Growing Australian Plants' Grevillea Study Group. He has named many new Grevillas, most jointly with Neil Marriott. Don McGillivray named Grevillea oldei after him.

Neil Marriott, a Victorian nurseryman, established "White Gums" native plants nursery and arboretum and is now growing grevilleas at Panrock Ridge in the Black Range, near Stawell in western Victoria. Grevillea marriottii was named after him by Peter Olde.

This review has been reproduced from the June 1995 issue of the newsletter of the Queensland Region of SGAP. Volumes 2 and 3 of "The Grevillea Book" are now also available at $AUS65 each. These describe all species and include one or more colour photographs of each. Line drawings, distribution maps, conservation status and notes on cultivation and propagation are also included in these comprehensive volumes.

Grow What Where - Computer Programme
The Australian Plant Study Group

DOS; 284k $AU100

Reviewed by Bev Courtney

The book "Grow What Where", by the Australian Plant Study Group, has been around for some years now. It is not a gardening book in the sense of giving information on how to grow Australian plants but it is nevertheless a very useful tool for the gardener and the garden designer. The book consists of over 2300 plants grouped into 100 numbered lists. By starting with a particular situation or criterion, eg rockery plants; plants with blue flowers; fence screeners, etc. it is possible to find a list of suitable plants, in various height categories, for that situation. By starting with a named plant, the index can be consulted to give all the possible lists (ie situations) in which the plant will occur.

The book has now been released as a computer programme and Version 2 appeared in December 1994. It contains several new features not found in Version 1. The programme covers 3115 plants in 183 numbered lists. All the lists covered in the book are included as well as many new categories. The lists can be viewed in alphabetical or numerical order. A particular list can be selected by highlighting it and pressing the + (plus) key. Any number of lists can be selected at once. This feature makes the programme much more versatile than the book, where a great deal of searching would be needed to find a selection of plants common to more than one list. A list can be deliberately deselected by highlighting it and pressing the - (minus) key.

For instance if you wanted a plant with red flowers for dry sandy soil in full sun, you would highlight these three lists for your selection. If you wanted to exclude prickly plants from the selection, you would deselect prickly plants. Pressing the search function key will result in a complete listing of all red-flowered plants suitable for dry, sandy soil in full sun, and none of these would be prickly species. The search range normally covers all plants from A to Z, however it is possible to narrow the search range to cover only one particular genus. This would be useful, for instance, if a design project was to feature plants from one large genus, such as Grevillea.

In addition to the 183 lists available, five user defined lists can be prepared and plants from the main list added to any of these. A user defined list might include plants in your own garden, plants on a nursery stock list, or plants being used in a specific landscaping project. User defined lists can be cancelled and re-used at any time. If it is desired to find a situation for a particular plant, its name can be entered and all the lists in which it occurs will be displayed.

Much additional, useful information has been included in the new version. This includes:

  • Current plant name changes listed alphabetically. under both the new and the old name.
  • Two family/genus listings. The first gives an alphabetical list of genera and the family in which each genus occurs. The second gives an alphabetical list of families and the genera belonging to each family.
  • Lists of plants which are rare, endangered or vulnerable.
  • Lists of plants protected by Plant Variety/Plant Breeders' Rights.
The programme works from DOS and occupies 284 k of hard disk space. It costs AUS$100 and is available on either 3.5" or 5.25" floppy dlsk from the Australian Plant Study Group, PO Box 70, Park Orchards, Victoria, 3114. No written information is supplied with the programme, other than instructions on how to copy the files from floppy to hard disk, but the programme is very simple to use and there is ample information available at the press of a key. I can highly recommend it for professional landscapers or for gardeners simply interested in making garden design easier.

This review has been reproduced from the February 1995 issue of the newsletter of the SGAP's Garden Design Study Group.

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