In Bringing Nature Home, Doug Tallamy encourages the use of native plants in gardening. This book asks and answers questions for modern gardeners inclined to good stewardship. How can we adjust our planting palette to be both beautiful and envitonmentally useful? How much more does a local oak species contribute to habitat richness then an out-of-ecological-context exotic tree? What do violets and fritillary butterflies, or pawpaws and zebra swallowtails have in common? Where might tomorrow's species come from?
This was a library book that I selected because I’d recently learned about invasive plant species and wanted to know more about them. What I got instead was basically an abbreviated course in sustaining wildlife. I loved this book! I learned so much from it.
Basically the premise of this book is that, if you want to see the return of wildlife to planet earth, you must begin at home. You’re told why alien plant species are not compatible with insects which in turn nourish birds and other larger forms of wildlife that we are now seeing in diminishing numbers.
The author, Douglas W. Tallamy, is professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. Oh, how I envy those who are in his class! His explanations of ecology throughout his book were organized, intelligent (loved learning both the common and Latin names of each plant and insect!), and humorous. He makes his point about sustainable forms of life very clearly and passionately. I much admire his enthusiasm.
Don’t miss this book. It’s a wonderful read, has delightful pictures, and quite a lot to teach you.
That's the first part of the book. If everyone switched to native plants and decreased lawn size for their landscaping, it would help a lot to make our lifestyle sustainable. Tallamy even includes ideas for fitting in with the neighborhood --native landscaping does not equal neglect & ragged weeds.
The second section describes 22 species that support the most insect life. There is no gardening advice, this is more a planning guide.
The third section describes 52 insect species: "What bird food looks like" (which is a nice way of saying "don't be squeamish" and reminding us that--besides their role as pollinators-- we don't really want to wipe out all insect life). Tallamy found some interesting fact to share for most species.
Appendices include 1) a list of native plants by region--shade trees, conifers, understory trees & shrubs, vines, ground covers, perennials for dry or wet sites, grasses/sedges/rushes, ferns. 2)list of butterflies/moths and their host plants. 3)references (he is a professor, after all)
So get it, read it, use it--get with the program!
This is a must-read for all people concerned with the ecosphere remaining alive.
It is not only convincing in its premise, but offers list upon list of native pants to substitute in the landscape.
Can't recommend this on enough!