Wildlife-Friendly Plants: Make Your Garden a Haven for Beneficial Insects, Amphibians and Birds

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9781552979549: Wildlife-Friendly Plants: Make Your Garden a Haven for Beneficial Insects, Amphibians and Birds
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A practical and inspiring guide.

Wildlife gardening books have traditionally focused on large gardens in rural areas where there is ample space to plant large trees and hedges. For many new gardeners or those living in urban areas, working with a small space presents a variety of challenges when trying to attract beneficial wildlife.

Wildlife-Friendly Plants is a practical guide specifically designed to help gardeners chose the best plants for encouraging and supporting wildlife. By attracting beneficial wildlife, gardeners can eliminate the use of a range of chemicals and create a healthier environment. This book is intended for any size garden from large to small in the city or country.

Wildlife-Friendly Plants includes:

  • Beautifully photographed directory of wildlife friendly plants
  • Helpful step-by-step projects for planting, pruning and dividing
  • Extended backflap with a guide to the symbols used throughout the book.

Many of these plants are perfect for use in small spaces, such as a patio, terrace or window box. With the valuable suggestions for use, planting and maintenance, anyone can create a safe haven for beneficial insects, amphibians and birds.

Wildlife-Friendly Plants is the ideal book for gardening and wildlife enthusiasts everywhere.

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About the Author:

Rosemary Creeser is a garden writer and editor. She is an active member of the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

In recent years I've planted a window box outside my first-floor apartment in central London with a selection of wildlife-friendly herbs, nectar-rich perennials, and trailing vines. As well as the enjoyment I've had watching beautiful pollinating insects close-up, it is satisfying to see firsthand that even the smallest of backyard habitats like this can play a vital role in sustaining wildlife throughout the year.

For too long wildlife gardening books have tended to focus on people who garden in rural areas, where there is sufficient space to plant large trees and hedges. But there is evidence that small suburban and inner-city spaces can also help to support diminishing populations of wildlife, by replacing some of the native habitats that have been lost from the countryside. In New York, the patchwork of community gardens created from barren, litter-strewn parking lots has become a haven for songbirds. In one of the larger gardens, the Clinton Community Garden, there have been sightings of more than 50 species of birds, several of which are now rare in the wild.

If you have a small vegetable garden or fruit trees, including plants that will attract pollinating insects is essential. Although some edible crops, like tomatoes and lettuce, are self-pollinated, others, such as runner beans and squash, rely on insects to pollinate them. The plant directory will help you to choose the nectar-rich plants that are favored by pollinators, such as bees and flower flies. With honeybee populations threatened by the Varroa mite, gardeners are being encouraged to attract alternative species of bee as pollinators of edible crops. One way of doing this is to grow plants like the lily-of-the valley shrub (Pieris japonica) that bloom early in the year, when solitaty bees, like the red mason bee, are most active.

Many wildlife-friendly plants are magnets for the "good bugs" (lacewings, ladybugs, flower flies) that can help you to control common garden pests, without using chemical sprays. The developing larvae of these beneficial insects often have particularly voracious appetites. A ladybug larva can eat between 30 and 40 aphids a day, while a single lacewing devours between 1,000 and 10,000 aphids in its lifetime. As the range of pesticides available for domestic use is reduced, gardeners are likely to become more reliant on methods of natural pest control such as these in the future.

Several of the plants featured in this book bloom exclusively at night, attracting moths and other night-flying pollinators. Because most night-blooming plants have white or pastel-colored flowers that reflect the moonlight, they can he used to create an unusual nocturnal garden that comes alive after dark. Exponents of this style of "moonlight garden" maintain that it is a great way to observe wildlife undistracted, when the daytime commitments to work, family and community have been met.

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9781552979532: Wildlife-Friendly Plants: Make Your Garden a Haven for Beneficial Insects, Amphibians and Birds

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ISBN 10:  1552979539 ISBN 13:  9781552979532
Publisher: Firefly Books, 2004
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