For many native plant gardeners, 2007 was the year the revolution began.
The publication of Douglas Tallamy’s book, ‘Bringing Nature Home’, was a wakeup call. This book inspired people to see the need to have our gardens do more than just look good and to realize that the way they garden can make a real difference for wildlife.
Several great books followed on the heels of ‘Bringing Nature Home’, but it was the publication “The Living Landscape” in 2014 that really signaled a renaissance in great books of use to the native plant gardener.
Whereas ‘Bringing Nature Home’ was unprecedented in its ability to convince homeowners that they SHOULD garden with more native plants, it was ’The Living Landscape’, by Tallamy and Rick Darke, that first helped many folks start to figure out HOW to do that.
Over the past 24 months we have seen a veritable deluge of new books that make it easier than ever to learn from the professionals who work at the cutting edge of ecological design:
- Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes by Thomas Rainer & Claudia West
- Phyto: Principles and Resources for Site Remediation and Landscape Design by Kate Kennen & Niall Kirkwood
- Planting: A New Perspective by Noel Kingsbury & Piet Oudolf
- Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change by Larry Weaner & Thomas Christopher
- Wild By Design: Strategies for Creating Life-Enhancing Landscapes by Margie Ruddick
These last two books, the long-awaited tome by native plant guru Larry Weaner focused primarily on gardening practices and the critical look by Margie Ruddick at the ways that professional designers can bring ecology into their work, were released in the past few months.
‘Garden Revolution’, especially when combined with the design principles so beautifully articulated by ‘Planting in a Post-Wild World’, offers valuable insight into the ways that working with natural processes – rather than against them – make gardening both easier and more powerful.
I must say that I appreciate folks finally making the case in writing that establishing native gardens requires planning, preparation, and attention.
At no time in history, though, have so many books of such high caliber been published about native plants and ecological gardening in such short succession.
If your summer gardening in on hiatus because of the heat, grab a few of these books and sit down in a cool spot to learn and enjoy what these authors have written.