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One Magic Square

Magic_SquareI read gardening books with the same avid attention I reserve for watching gymnastics, magic and ballroom dancing on TV. The reason being that with all of these activities I have absolutely NO idea how they happen.

I have at least tried one of them - gardening - but I would have as much success with magic tricks, I reckon. Instead of green thumbs, mine are a sort of blackish-purple when it comes to growing anything.

So, of course this appropriately square book, One Magic Square, caught my attention. "Grow your own food in one square metre" its author, Lolo Houbein, has subtitled it. Her aim is to demystify the gardening process for klutzes like me and show us all how easy it is to grow berries, salad and other vegetables, fruits and herbs in a tiny space almost any of us (even apartment dwellers) can find.

"Be kind to yourself. Enjoy your garden," is the author's advice. "You will experience abundant satisfaction."

With a lifetime of experience (in fact it is in her genes as her great-great-grandfather was a market gardener in Holland) and as a gifted writer, this is a book full of advice, gardening and cookery hints, and her own abundant satisfaction in the growing process. It is the book to give to  anyone, gardeners or hopeless wannabes like me, and best of all it is written in Australia, for Australian conditions.

One Magic Square may not cure my ineptitude in the garden but with no gifted gardeners in my immediate family or circle of friends, this will certainly be a book that I will refer to, at least to see if I can save the odd plant or two.

One Magic Square, Lolo Houbein, Wakefield Press, 2008, $45, paperback, 356 pages.


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