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Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded Paperback – April 1, 2009
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Tallamy takes an obvious observationwildlife is threatened when suburban development encroaches on once wild landsand weds it to a novel one: that beneficial insects are being deprived of essential food resources when suburban gardeners exclusively utilize nonnative plant material. Such an imbalance, Tallamy declares, can lead to a weakened food chain that will no longer be able to support birds and other animal life. Once embraced only by members of the counterculture, the idea of gardening with native plants has been landscape design's poor stepchild, thought to involve weeds and other plants too unattractive for pristine suburban enclaves. Not so, says Tallamy, who presents compelling arguments for aesthetically pleasing, ecologically healthy gardening. With nothing less than the future of North American biodiversity at stake, Tallamy imparts an encouraging message: it's not too late to save the ecosystem-sustaining matrix of insects and animals, and the solution is as easy as replacing alien plants with natives. Haggas, Carol --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
“Provides the rationale behind the use of native plants, a concept that has rapidly been gaining momentum. . . . The text makes a case for native plants and animals in a compelling and complete fashion.” —The Washington Post
“This is the ‘it’ book in certain gardening circles. It’s really struck a nerve.” —Philadelphia Inquirer
“Reading this book will give you a new appreciation of the natural world—and how much wild creatures need gardens that mimic the disappearing wild.” —The Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A compelling argument for the use of native plants in gardens and landscapes.” —Landscape Architecture
“An essential guide for anyone interested in increasing biodiversity in the garden.” —American Gardener
“I want to mention how excited I am about reading Bringing Nature Home. . . . I like the writing—enthusiastic and down-to-earth, as it should be.” —Garden Rant
“An informative and engaging account of the ecological interactions between plants and wildlife, this fascinating handbook explains why exotic plants can hinder and confuse native creatures, from birds and bees to larger fauna.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Tallamy explains eloquently how native plant species depend on native wildlife.” —San Luis Obispo Tribune
“Will persuade all of us to take a look at what is in our own yards with an eye to how we, too, can make a difference. It has already changed me.” —Traverse City Record-Eagle
“Delivers an important message for all gardeners: Choosing native plants fortifies birds and other wildlife and protects them from extinction.” —WildBird Magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
The appendix's save the book. Appendix 1 covers Native plants (not just trees) per region of the United States. Appendix 2 lists types of insects like the Monarch butterfly and what you can plant to attract and provide for it.
The book is informative, but spends most of the time trying to convince the reader Why this is a method to consider as opposed to How to do it.
Even in neighborhoods without HOA's, the trend has been toward sculpted yards and the planting of ornamentals that are often non-native. As a result, there are fewer and fewer songbirds, butterflies, and more and more "pests" that the birds and other wildlife would have managed. I was contributing to this without realizing it, by planting non-native trees or shrubs based only on "beauty," but not with an eye to the species they support or the healthy ecosystem they make possible. Dr. Tallamy explains all of this so easily and clearly, and the many charts and lists provide accessible and quick information.
This book can guide you to better choices when you're adding a new tree or shrub or flower to your yard, it can guide you to simple steps that add a very important diversity to your yards plants, and the species they support. It's like, without realizing it, you can offer so many beneficial species food to support a healthy complex web, or inadvertently be part of the starving and loss of beneficial species we want and need, just by choosing a different plant or tree, or doing things a little differently.
He shows you how to do this within what you already have. And you notice the difference in even a short period of time. The word seems to go out, and the species arrive! In the past two days I have seen two different species of butterfly I never saw here before. Even things as simple as leaving a "weed" I would have otherwise removed - milkweed - we were actually able to watch monarchs go from egg to larvae to chysalis to butterfly, in our own yard, from plants in my ditch I would have just mowed down.
There are so many things we can't do as we see the loss of farmland and wild places around us. This book shows how much we can do, even on a little yard, or even balcony. My yard is more beautiful, and the birds and wildlife is a joy every single day. I even appreciate and notice beneficial insects I never would have noticed, and possibly would not have had.
It also helps us pass on the information so our friends and neighbors - and HOA boards - don't inadvertently contribute to the problem, and help them see how easily they can make a positive difference.
The book is well written, clear, positive, approachable. It is not a "just for scientist" kind of book, and he does not lecture. It's delightful to read.
I love this book and recommend it highly, for yourself, and as a gift for every gardener/homeowner that you know. It is not a book your gardening/homeowner friends might have known about or thought of, but they will appreciate it, and use it, and pass the information on to their children. And in the best kind of way - it doesn't preach, it's like taking a walk outside with a favorite uncle who knows all about the beauty and wonder around you, and is generous and fun enough so you can too.
As an entomologist, Tallamy's attention focuses on the insects, and his book contains relatively little discussion of some of the other aspects of a bird-friendly yard: berries which the birds can use in winter, water, shelter, etc. Cats are not found in the index and it's important that they not be found in the yard.
I was already biased towards using Native plants before reading this book. I was motivated to select landscape plants that naturally do well - that are well adapted to local conditions and that are resistant to disease and drought. While I knew that many native plants are an important food source for local wildlife, I didn't understand the relationship between native plants, insects, and the larger ecosystem.
This book explains the critical opportunity to mitigate the loss of habitat by using natives in Urban landscapes. It should be read by anyone with an interest in helping wildlife survive and is also an important resource for landscape designers and others in the landscape trade.