Bringing Nature Home - new book!

carol23_gwDecember 2, 2007

Through the NARGS ( N. American Rock Garden Society) bookstore, I purchased a copy of a newly released Timber Press book. Bringing Nature Home is authored by Douglas W Tallamy, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware.

Not long ago the Hardy Plant Society Mid-Atlantic Group included an article by this author in their newsletter.

Native insects, a crucial part of the food chain, are threatened by the lack of native plantings and the abundance of invasive alien trees, vines and herbaceous plants. These insects depend on native flora for survival. It is truly a wake up call to homeowners and gardeners as suburban sprawl has eaten up all remnants of natural, native habitats, and in its place are large housing developments with huge expanses of lawn with mostly alien tree species. Wild bird populations are threatened as well as many small animals. The impact affects our lives.

Seven years ago the author purchased ten acres of land in southeastern PA , 35% of which was covered in alien invasives. He and his family have removed the invasives and planted natives and recorded the results.

The book contains wonderful photos of a wide range of insects and their host plants and discussions of them. The most important natives to be included in gardens are listed by region in Appendix 1. There are lists for Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest, Pacific Northwest with a break down for moist and dry sites as well as the type of plant ( tree, grass, herb, )Appendix II is a list of host plants for butterflies and showy moths.

Now to try to change the mindset of landscapers, homeowners, and municipalities...... I'm a volunteer on the Tree Commission in my township and the newly elected officials seem to be receptive. Perhaps the Tree Commission will be able to host a few programs for students in area schools.

We have just planted a traffic cirle with a willow oak, and a dozen Amelanchier....... so progress is being made!

( compare to old plantings of Kwanzan cherry trees along Route 3)

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Picked up a copy today based on your suggestion and am looking foward to time after the holidays to read it. Incidentally, I was at a plant conference last week, and from the state arboretum all participants were given a plant: a Chinese wisteria!! They swore it was not invasive, but...???

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 7:42PM
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If you check through several different states either Conservation or Natural Resources departments many of the plants suggested for wildlife and nature plantings are both invasive and originate in another country. I used to spend Saturday mornings listening to well known writers extoll about the native plants for birds and butterflies. Then when I checked most were considered invasive not just in my area but in other parts of the US.

Giving you a Chinese wisteria does not suprise me at all.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2007 at 11:08PM
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Thanks for recommending this Carol. I got this book as a Christmas gift and have enjoyed the first 60 pages so far!

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to the book on Amazon

    Bookmark   December 26, 2007 at 1:19PM
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evilei(SE PA z6)

I just finished this book! A woman in my Master Gardener training class recommeded it.

The book has so inspired me. In fact it brought me to this forum. I had been visiting other forums on this site but never Natives.

I HIGHLY recommend the book.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 4:04PM
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Just finished reading it and enjoyed it. The book offered some compelling reasons for planting natives that I had not heard much before so it has added something to the discussion.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2007 at 8:52PM
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It is definitely an eye opener! Glad you all enjoyed it and felt it was worthwhile. I'm looking forward to identifying insects by use of the color plates in his book.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 10:46AM
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I've seen Doug speak at the Millersville conference and was blown away. One thing lead to another and I found myself at his research site in Newark. His work is so important. What a great thinker this guy is!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2008 at 8:57PM
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I absolutely agree, Bringing Nature Home is a great wake-up call. I read this book in the spring and it solidified my preference for planting natives. I just have to find a way to encourage a few of my neighbors to read it 8*)!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bringing Nature Home - book review

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 2:59PM
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I used this book as a resource for a class on conservation biology. I also read quite a few other books, but they were often more philosophical. This book is so PRACTICAL and makes sense to the average gardener. GA NPS is having him as a featured speaker in Feb. And yes, I am recommending it to quite a few people.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2008 at 9:59PM
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Thanks for the plug, ncrescue. We are certainly excited about having Tallamy speak at our conference in February.

I have recommended his book to countless others and the ones I've heard back from have all enjoyed it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Georgia Native Plant Society conference link

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 9:54AM
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I am SO looking forward to the GNPS 2009 Symposium. ncrescue is correct in my opinion, the book is good for the average gardener. Practical backyard biodiversity for the bigger picture, not just seed eating birds at feeders, is not easy info to come by for the layman (me).

    Bookmark   December 13, 2008 at 5:09PM
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