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Noah's Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards Paperback – April 24, 1995

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What kind of grass is planted behind your house? What insects burrow in your soil, and what birds eat them? What's happening in that compost pile you're so proud of? This book may well change the view from your patio. A former old-style suburban gardener, Sara Stein writes convincingly of the ecological history of suburbia and the necessity of good stewardship of the land stolen from prairies and forests to make our back yards.

From Publishers Weekly

Suburban development has wrought habitat destruction on a large scale, notes the author; our tidy lawns and gardens have wiped out numerous plants and animals, including predators that keep pests in check. Science writer Stein ( My Weeds ) calls our attention to the critical role yards play in supporting biodiversity. She describes how she rebuilt her garden in Westchester County, N.Y., using native plants to create pocket woodlands, berried hedgerows and a meadow. Stein gives a fine explanation of the difference between cool-weather lawn grasses and the hot-weather varieties. She disdains the popular "Meadow-in-a-can," reporting that making a real meadow requires approximately three years, and discusses the need to attract the declining frog, toad and turtle populations. This is a valuable book. Illustrations. Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 24, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395709407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395709405
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #972,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book actually changed my WHOLE outlook and approach to gardening. I've never had a garden book change me like this. Its just so incredible. I ate up every chapter and couldn't put it down and when I was done I went out into the garden and got my hands dirty like never before. This author completely breaks through the mysteries of gardening and basically shows us how we need to simply plant with nature (i.e. planting native plants, planting them where they will thrive) versus fighting against nature. She also wakes you up to the horrible ways that we are poisoning the early in this fight against nature by using pesticides and not realizing thhe impact. Oh its just such an incredible book. It more subtle than I'm making it sound and its not preachy at all. It just woke me up in such a way that I can't express enough how incredible this book is. And by the way, by following the ideas expressed in the book we've got some fantastic gardens growing where birds and bees and butterflies all come to vist. Its a wildloife adventure right in our back yard. I've given this book as a gift to friends and relatives and they agreed with how incredible it is. Her second book is ok, not as good as this one but still good
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Format: Paperback
I wanted to learn some answers to some basic ecological questions of the "where did they go" and "how can I get them back" variety. This book answers those questions and more. What really surprised me was the emotions this book invokes. I laughed and I cried, sometimes on the same page. I think this is probably the best book I have read in several years, on any subject.
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By A Customer on March 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
For "challenged" gardeners such as myself, what a relief it is to read that such chores as double digging can actually be harmful by creating conditions even more inviting to invasive weeds and pests. In addition to being a great inspiration for changing one's approach to that of "ungardening," Noah's Garden presents an environmentally based manifesto against suburban sprawl and the cookie cutter tract developments it has engendered. Sarah Stein presents many creative thoughts for encouraging the return of wildlife in the suburbs. Some ideas can be carried out individually on one's own property, but when one starts to look at ecologically impoverished neighborhood environments the way Sarah Stein does, it seems reasonable to start applying her principles to larger areas. Stein suggests, for instance, that the small wilderness of trees and shrubs an enlightened homeowner can set aside in a back corner can be joined with other small thickets created by like-minded abutting property owners to form a small suburban forest. The material presented here has as much value for the local planning board or environmental commission as it does for the individual gardener. Sarah Stein, like Noah, is warning of the impending loss of all signs of life in our own communities if we don't amend our ways. I for one will be building my ark!
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Format: Hardcover
It is rare that a book actually makes a change in your life but Noah's Garden did for me. Years ago my husband and I tried to explain to a landscape architect the natural effect we wanted. He did a pretty good job but suggested all sorts of exotic plants. If we had only had Sara Stein's book then! It is full of lower care native and natural planting tips and information. For those of you who find the sameness and sterility of suburban landscaping unattractive, Sara Stein has paradise waiting for you in this book. Do you wonder why you no longer have fireflys? Find out why and how to right this in Noah's Garden. A great, great book
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Format: Paperback
This book is that it is the story of one woman and her husband's journey toward unlandscaping and restoring their property. It chronicles their process of doing it but at least as much as the journey toward gathering the information, an ongoing effort. That can be the most difficult thing. It's really interesting and instructive to hear about their journey.
I read this book cover to cover in a few days. I found it truly rivoting. I read a lot of native plant related books and even research about plant allies and plant communities. I had even been planning to my shady backyard with more understory woodland plantings. So of course this book was right up my alley.
But what really impressed me and inspired me most about this book is her non-technical yet very instructional discussions of the interdependence of plants and animals on each other throughout the year for food habitat and precreation. This illustrates well how utterly crucial it is to have plant communities be as full abd widespread as possible. I plan to buy this book for several clients and friends.
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Format: Paperback
We are so disconnected from the natural world, we can't see the damage we are (maybe) permanently doing to our own backyards and other common areas. Sara Stein examines our disconnected state, and proposes some ways to reconnect and salvage our place in the natural world. This book is a breath of hope- read it and restore your own Eden!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was sorry to hear Ms. Stein died before I had a chance to write a letter thanking her for this book. As a beginning gardner I attended a lecture she gave at a local college. My only criteria for landscaping at the time was to find the most colorful, longest-blooming plants, despite their area of origin. Ms. Stein made me realize how important it is to also provide native plants to benefit the creatures we have displaced with our rampant building. A few years ago I bought a 7.5 acre undeveloped parcel and recently had a small log cabin built on it. I plan to spend the rest of my life restoring the prairies, woodlands and wetlands with the help of this book as well as the sequel, Planting Noah's Garden. I hope Ms. Stein knew she had a great impact on many lives. Thank you, Sara.
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