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Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation Hardcover – Illustrated, February 1, 2005
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—Viveka Neveln, American Gardener, May/June 2005
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a wonderful resource for growing native plants in New England for landscaping, restoration, just for fun, etc. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
One of the primary botanical references for ecological landscaping (which is primarily based on native species), for wildlife habitat restoration, and for other features like rain... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Eastern Sue
Excellent reference for anyone interested in getting away from lawns and non native gardens. Well documented and illustratedPublished 16 months ago by Mary C. Clark