I venture that most people in the US get their gardening advice from two places: the big box stores and commercials for chemicals (e.g. Round Up, Miracle Grow, Preen). That's unfortunate, because as environmentalists and too few gardeners know, it's the necessary balance of various plants and animals (including insects-not just bees-and rodents) that make a garden thrive. This is a great book to give anyone just starting out with their first garden-and a palatable and beautifully produced message that too many other gardeners need to hear.
In this eloquent plea for compassion and respect for all species, journalist and gardener Nancy Lawson describes why and how to welcome wildlife to our backyards. Through engaging anecdotes and inspired advice, profiles of home gardeners throughout the country, and interviews with scientists and horticulturalists, Lawson applies the broader lessons of ecology to our own outdoor spaces.
Detailed chapters address planting for wildlife by choosing native species; providing habitats that shelter baby animals, as well as birds, bees, and butterflies; creating safe zones in the garden; cohabiting with creatures often regarded as pests; letting nature be your garden designer; and encouraging natural processes and evolution in the garden. The Humane Gardener fills a unique niche in describing simple principles for both attracting wildlife and peacefully resolving conflicts with all the creatures that share our world.
About the Author
Nancy Lawson is a writer, editor, and naturalist, and the founder of Humane Gardener, an outreach initiative to help people live in harmony with the animals in their backyards. She writes the "Humane Backyard" column for All Animals magazine, published by the Humane Society of the United States. Prior to being a freelance writer and consultant, she worked for 15 years as an editor on Humane Society publications.
"Anyone with a yard, a balcony, or even a windowsill can help support the planet's plant and animal species. Even a tiny garden attracts wildlife and pollinators and peacefully resolves inter-ecosystem conflict..[The Humane Gardener] breaks down exactly how to select native species, optimally cohabitate with "pests," encourage natural processes and evolution in the garden, and provide habitats capable of sheltering butterflies, birds, bees, and baby animals." - sierraclub.com
"[W]e give Lawson a lot of credit for writing a very important book that everyone with a container gardener to a postage stamp yard to a large piece of property should read..Lawson's passionate plea to be humane includes practical and low cost solutions to enable us to cohabitate peacefully with wildlife in our yards." -The Plain Dealer
"With this guidebook in hand, learn how to landscape in harmony with nature - and how to attract and keep different, beneficial species in your outdoor spaces." - Fresno Bee
"This gorgeously written, well-argued title will help backyard gardeners see all creatures, from insects to elk, as visitors to be welcomed rather than pests to be removed..Highly recommended for gardeners at all levels in all regions." - Library Journal starred review
"The Humane Gardener is a dreamy book with ribs of steel. Evoking native plants by color and fragrance, as the author Nancy Lawson does, conveys a palpable sense of beauty. But when describing cruelty to wildlife, Lawson doesn't mince words..With her eloquent and engaging plea, Lawson makes the important case for compassionate treatment of the backyard wildlife with which we share our increasingly diminishing natural world." - The Blazing Star
"The Humane Gardener defies casual note taking, because, along with its compelling argument for welcoming wildlife, it is packed to the gills with relevant facts and fascinating arguments..Humane gardeners are fortunate to have a spokeswoman as eloquent as Lawson." - Wild Ones Journal
"In The Humane Gardener, Lawson does the important work of speaking for the trees-and the bees, butterflies and other living creatures that need healthy ecosystems. It's telling that Lawson opts to use gendered pronouns when referencing animals: Her goal is to show us the wisdom of living in harmony with, and dissolving boundaries between, our habitations and the diverse wildlife that surrounds us..With luxe, matte pages and plentiful full-color photographs, this book is as much a beautiful object as a passionate and well-researched rallying cry." - BookPage
"Give Lawson a lot of credit for writing a very important book that everyone with a container gardener to a postage stamp yard to a large piece of property should read," says The Plain Dealer. "Lawson's passionate plea to be humane includes practical and low-cost solutions to enable us to cohabit peacefully with wildlife in our yards." - Gardenista
"From Nancy Lawson, a columnist at the Humane Society's All Animals magazine, comes this important, insightful and beautifully produced book that sets out to explain why it's hard to call yourself a truly accomplished gardener without paying special mind to your plants and the beneficial creatures that help them grow. With chapters dedicated to topics like choosing the right native species for pollinators such as bees and butterflies, the main takeaway of this is: a garden teeming with, not devoid of, critters is ultimately a healthier and more harmonious one." - Mother Nature Network
"Each year opossums, often seen as nasty nuisances, helpfully ingest thousands of disease causing ticks. That's just on of the good-to-know facts in Nancy Lawson's book, The Humane Gardener, which reveals how you can make your private green patch a safe haven for all creatures." -O: The Oprah Magazine
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