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Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation Hardcover – Illustrated, February 1, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Northeast of the title refers to the northeastern quarter of the U.S and all of eastern Canada. Leopold lists nearly 700 species of native trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, grasses, and wildflowers. Illustrated with 500 color photographs, his guide provides detailed information on each plant's cultivation and propagation, height, color, natural range, and hardiness. An appendix recommends particular plants that tolerate wet and dry soil and attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and mammals such as deer, opossums, and raccoons. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

"Provides an invaluable resource for using natives in the landscape and restoration projects."
—Viveka Neveln, American Gardener, May/June 2005
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated; 56037th edition (February 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881926736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881926736
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 1 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #59,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you live in the Northeast and want to have an all or mostly native garden, or even just some native plants, this is the book to get. I've been planting herbaceous and woody plants to attract birds, and have only recently discovered the benefits, to myself, the birds, and the environment, of going native. While a lot of this information can be pieced together from other books or the Internet, this is an easy-to-use, all-in-one reference for all types of plants, not just flowers, that make up a well-rounded garden and animal habitat.

Way more than a "seed catalog", this book tells you what ecological niche the plant is native to, the conditions of sun, moisture, and soil it needs, how to propagate seeds, and a paragraph of "notes" with interesting personal observations by the author. There is also a lengthy and fascinating introductory chapter describing some of the many types of plant environments that exist in the NE, and the reasons to go native.

I own 10 books on trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses, gardening for birds, and general gardening, but am buying this one because it tells me exactly what I need to know about all of the above, using plants that grew in the Northeast before Euopeans arrived.
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Format: Hardcover
Just giving attention to plants with showy flowers is one reason why we don't know enough about natives. Even some experts could use retraining on the subject. For example, one respected source lists as natives tatarian honeysuckle, purple loosestrife, and multiflora rose. In fact, these three non-natives are good at taking over a place and chasing out the real natives.

To know natives better, it's important to start with a good definition. Author Donald J Leopold gives a clear definition. Natives are the plants naturally occurring in the United States before European settlers showed up. It's a good definition, because a record goes with it. Early artists, settlers, scientists and visitors left us with drawings and writings on what they found and what they brought with them.

Then it's important to know the big picture of where we are and what tends to grow there. For natives are part of wider natural communities of green things, bugs, birds, and animals filling up the same space over the same time. NATIVE PLANTS OF THE NORTHEAST is about those natural communities east of the Mississippi River. That part of North America hosts eleven such communities. From south to north, those communities are southeast pine, riverbottom cypress-tupelo-sweet gum, oak-pine, oak-hickory, northeast hardwood, transition pine-aspen, mixed, acadian, boreal, and subarctic forests; and tall grasslands.

As a girl of the oak-hickory forests, I know my native trees. They are American beech; American chestnut; bitternut and shagbark hickory; black, northern red and white oak; eastern hophornbeam; eastern redbud; flowering dogwood; pawpaw; serviceberry; and spicebush.

In addition, wetlands take up about 5-10% of each state.
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Format: Hardcover
Very informative and chocked full of valuable material pertaining to specific types of plants you may desire for your garden. I have only one complaint - the pictures of shrubs and trees show only, in most instances, just the branch containing the leave or flower. I wanted to see pictures of the entire shrub or tree since I desired to observe the fullness or lack thereof of specific species for my garden. In other words, to get an idea how the plant would look when it is in place.
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Format: Hardcover
I know how to garden in Kansas, Maryland, Australia, South Texas and Florida, but now I'm learning what plants work for New England. This book is a life saver with descriptions of ferns, grasses, wildflowers, vines, shrubs and trees suited to the region.
The photos are good, full-color, but aren't always on the same page as the description. Each plant is listed with its scientific name, followed by its common names and family group. It gives the zones, soil requirements, and light needs plus a short description. There are propagation tips for each and notes for special information and an indication of the plant's natural range. It is really a pretty exhaustive book.
Some helpful lists at the end includes:
Plants that tolerate wet soil
Plants that tolerate dry soil
Plants that tolerate shade
Plants with flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds
Plants with fruits that attract birds
Plants with fruits that attract mammals
This can be used as a wildflower identification book or to select plants for special needs in your northeast garden.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is alot more than a seed catalog read. I enjoyed the Professor's introduction, in which he shares a great deal about many plants in the book, his favorites, why, and how they work in his own garden. Not particularly applicable to me personally was a good deal of information on ecosystem types in the Northeast and wetland information.

The appendices are very useful, but one of the best features are the multitude of pictures for nearly every species.

The info given on each species is more in-depth than a seed catalog reference, and tells you what you need to know if you're interested in using that plant.

Compared to the message of introduction of a more recent book that was just released, Prof. Leopold presents the subject in a much friendlier way, and is writing for a receptive audience, not attempting to defend his position as if under attack... .

I keep referring to this book again and again as I continue to add native plantings to my backyard.
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