Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded

Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded

4.3 10
by Douglas W. Tallamy
     
 

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“If you cut down the goldenrod, the wild black cherry, the milkweed and other natives, you eliminate the larvae, and starve the birds. This simple revelation about the food web—and it is an intricate web, not a chain—is the driving force in Bringing Nature Home.” —The New York Times

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Overview

“If you cut down the goldenrod, the wild black cherry, the milkweed and other natives, you eliminate the larvae, and starve the birds. This simple revelation about the food web—and it is an intricate web, not a chain—is the driving force in Bringing Nature Home.” —The New York Times

As development and subsequent habitat destruction accelerate, there are increasing pressures on wildlife populations. But there is an important and simple step toward reversing this alarming trend: Everyone with access to a patch of earth can make a significant contribution toward sustaining biodiversity.

There is an unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife—native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plants disappear, the insects disappear, impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals. In many parts of the world, habitat destruction has been so extensive that local wildlife is in crisis and may be headed toward extinction.

Bringing Nature Home has sparked a national conversation about the link between healthy local ecosystems and human well-being, and the new paperback edition—with an expanded resource section and updated photos—will help broaden the movement. By acting on Douglas Tallamy's practical recommendations, everyone can make a difference.

Editorial Reviews

Indianapolis Star
"My book of choice of the year."

Plain Dealer
“Tallamy explains in beautiful prose the importance of native plants to our wildlife.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Marianne Binetti
"This book not only shows how important native plants are but also how easy they can be to incorporate into a landscape plan."
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Ann Lovejoy
"This book not only shows how important native plants are but also how easy they can be to incorporate into a landscape plan."
USA Today

"This book aims to motivate parents and caregivers who are concerned about childrens' lack of connection to the outdoors."

USA Today - Anne Raver
"This book aims to motivate parents and caregivers who are concerned about childrens' lack of connection to the outdoors."

New York Times - Elizabeth Licata
"The book evolved out of a set of principles. So the message is loud and clear: gardeners could slow the rate of extinction by planting natives in their yards. This simple revelation about the food web—and it is an intricate web, not a chain—is the driving force in Bringing Nature Home."
Garden Rant - Judy Brinkerhoff
"A fascinating study of the trees, shrubs, and vines that feed the insects, birds, and other animals in the suburban garden."
Petaluma Argus-Courier - Sally Cunningham
"We all know where resistance to natives, reliance on pesticides, and the cult of the lawn still reign supreme: suburban America. And suburban America is where Doug Tallamy aims the passionate arguments for natives and their accompanying wildlife."
Eco-Libris Blog - Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp
Bringing Nature Home opens our eyes to an environmental problem of staggering proportions. Fortunately, it also shows us how we can help.

From the Publisher

“A fascinating study of the trees, shrubs, and vines that feed the insects, birds, and other animals in the suburban garden.” —The New York Times
 
“Provides the rationale behind the use of native plants, a concept that has rapidly been gaining momentum...The text makes a case for native plants and animals in a compelling and complete fashion.” —The Washington Post

“This is the ‘it’ book in certain gardening circles. It’s really struck a nerve.” —Virginia A. Smith, Philadelphia Inquirer

“Reading this book will give you a new appreciation of the natural world—and how much wild creatures need gardens that mimic the disappearing wild.” —The Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“A compelling argument for the use of native plants in gardens and landscapes.” —Landscape Architecture
 
“An essential guide for anyone interested in increasing biodiversity in the garden.” —American Gardener

“I want to mention how excited I am about reading Bringing Nature Home...I like the writing—enthusiastic and down-to-earth, as it should be.” —Elizabeth Licata, Garden Rant

“An informative and engaging account of the ecological interactions between plants and wildlife, this fascinating handbook explains why exotic plants can hinder and confuse native creatures, from birds and bees to larger fauna.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
 
“Tallamy explains eloquently how native plant species depend on native wildlife.” —San Luis Obispo Tribune
 
“will persuade all of us to take a look at what is in our own yards with an eye to how we, too, can make a difference. It has already changed me.” —Traverse City Record-Eagle
 
“delivers an important message for all gardeners: Choosing native plants fortifies birds and other wildlife and protects them from extinction.” —WildBird Magazine
 

"Buy, borrow, or steal this book! It is essential reading with ideas that need to become part of our understanding of how life works on this planet."

Burke Connection
“This book is truly a must-read for all of us.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
"This book is not a rant on nature gardening, nor is it a typical garden design book, or a stuffy academic textbook. The author might be a professor … but he has written a book which is readable, scientific, fascinating, and highly digestible."
St. Petersburg Times
"In an area that is as open and wooded as ours, we may not be aware that there is more to the need for natives than concern about invasive species that upset an ecosystem. According to Tallamy, a balanced ecosystem needs more insects. It is when the balance of the system is disrupted that problems arise."
Buffalo News
"This is the 'it' book in certain gardening circles. It's really struck a nerve."

Warwick Beacon
You can look at this book as a manifesto explaining why we should favor native plants, but it’s much more than that. It’s a plan to sustain the endangered biodiversity and even more, it’s a plan to transform suburbia from an environmental liability to an environmental asset.

Winston-Salem Journal
"Tallamy makes such a compelling case for the importance of insects to birds that I’ve completely changed the way I garden. From now on, insect attractors are my first choices."
Ants
"Tallamy illustrates well how gardeners have contributed greatly to tipping the environment off balance and how they are equally able to turn the trend … Plants and insects are integrally intertwined. Understanding the beauty of these relationships deepens our appreciation of our gardens and the important role we play."
The Recorder
"This book will not only foster a love of the outdoors in all who read it, but also create a deeper understanding and appreciation of the intricate web of wildlife outside your door."
Plant Whatever Brings You Joy Blog
"[It] is the book that is going to change how gardening is conducted over the next century."
Petaluma Argus-Courier

Bringing Nature Home opens our eyes to an environmental problem of staggering proportions. Fortunately, it also shows us how we can help.

— Judy Brinkerhoff

Eco-Libris Blog

You can look at this book as a manifesto explaining why we should favor native plants, but it’s much more than that. It’s a plan to sustain the endangered biodiversity and even more, it’s a plan to transform suburbia from an environmental liability to an environmental asset.

Cabin Life
This updated and expanded edition … is a delight to read and a most needed resource."

Birding Business
"Tallamy's book is a call to arms. There is not much ordinary citizens can do to create large new preserves. But we can make better use of the small green spaces we have around our houses. While the situation in the United States is quite serious, Tallamy offers options that anyone with a garden, even a postage-stamp-sized one like mine, can do to help."
Prairie Moon Nursery blog
"Doug Tallamy's book is a gift. It's not the kind of gift wrapped with a pink ribbon and a tiny rose tucked into the bow. It's the kind of gift that shakes you to your core and sets you on the path of healing. Your garden. Your planet. One plant at a time. Open it."
Loving Nature's Garden Blog
"This book is not a rant on nature gardening, nor is it a typical garden design book, or a stuffy academic textbook. The author might be a professor … but he has written a book which is readable, scientific, fascinating, and highly digestible."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780881929928
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/01/2009
Edition description:
Expanded
Pages:
360
Sales rank:
56,177
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt


Restoring Natives to Suburbia: A Call to Action
Gardeners enjoy their hobby for many reasons: a love of plants and nature, the satisfaction that comes from beautifying home and community, the pleasures of creative effort, the desire to collect rare or unusual species, and the healthful benefits of exercise and outdoor air. For some people, like my wife and me, there is pleasure in just watching plants grow.

But now, for the first time in its history, gardening has taken on a role that transcends the needs of the gardener. Like it or not, gardeners have become important players in the management of our nation’s wildlife. It is now within the power of individual gardeners to do something that we all dream of doing: to make a difference. In this case, the “difference” will be to the future of biodiversity, to the native plants and animals of North America and the ecosystems that sustain them.

For decades, many horticulture writers have been pleading for a fresh appreciation of our American flora, and for almost as long they have been largely (or entirely) ignored. For several reasons, however, the day of the native ornamental is drawing near; the message is finally beginning to be heard. If I were to ask a random group of gardeners to comment on the importance of native plants in their gardens, they would probably recount several arguments that have been made in recent years in favor of natives over alien ornamentals. They might describe the “sense of place” that is created by using plants that “belong” or the dangers of releasing yet another species of invasive alien to outcompete and smother native vegetation. They might recognize the costly wastefulness of lawns populated with alien grasses that demand high-nitrogen fertilizers, broad-leaf herbicides, and pollution-belching mowers. Or they might mention the imperative of rescuing endangered native plants from extinction. These are all well-documented reasons for the increasing popularity of growing native plants.

Owners of native nurseries are also finding it easier and easier to enumerate the benefits of their offerings. Native plants are well adapted to their particular ecological niche and so are often far less difficult to grow than species from other altitudes, latitudes, and habitats. After all, these plants evolved here and were growing just fine long before we laid our heavy hands on the landscape.

Most compelling to me, however, is the use of native species to create simplified vestiges of the ecosystems that once made this land such a rich source of life for its indigenous peoples and, later, for European colonists and their descendants. That most of our ecosystems are no longer rich is beyond debate, and today, most of the surviving remnants of the native flora that formed them have been finished off by development or invaded by alien plant species. Too many Oak Parks, Hickory Hills, and Fox Hollows—developments named, as the environmentalist Bill McKibben has noted, for the bit of nature they have just extirpated—have been built across the country. Although relatively small, strategically placed and connected patches of completely restored habitats might foster the survival of some of our wildlife, I will describe later why such habitat islands can only protect a tiny fraction of the species that once thrived in North America. With 300 million human souls already present in the United States and no national recognition of the limits of our land’s ability to support additional millions, we simply have not left enough intact habitat for most of our species to avoid extinction. All species need space in order to dodge the extinction bullet. So far we have not shared space very well with our fellow earthlings. In the following pages, I hope to convince you that, for our own good and certainly for the good of other species, we must do better. Native plants will play a disproportionately large role in our success.

The transition from alien ornamentals to native species will require a profound change in our perception of the landscaping value of native ornamentals. Europeans first fell in love with the exotic beauty of plants that evolved on other continents when the great explorers returned home with beautiful species no one had ever seen before. It quickly became fashionable and a signal of wealth and high status to landscape with alien ornamentals that no one else had access to. As the first foreign ornamentals became more common in the landscape, the motivation to seek new alien species increased. Even today, the drive to obtain unique species or cultivars is a primary factor governing how we select plants for our landscapes.
 

Meet the Author

Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, where he has published 68 research articles and has taught insect taxonomy, behavioral ecology, and other courses for three decades. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. The Garden Writer’s Association awarded Bringing Nature Home its silver medal in 2008. Doug was awarded the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation and the Tom Dodd Jr. Award of Excellence in 2013.

Rick Darke is a landscape design consultant, author, lecturer, and photographer based in Pennsylvania who blends art, ecology, and cultural geography in the creation and conservation of livable landscapes. His projects include scenic byways, public gardens, corporate and collegiate campuses, mixed-use conservation developments, and residential gardens. Darke served on the staff of Longwood Gardens for twenty years, and in 1998 he received the Scientific Award of the American Horticultural Society. His work has been featured in the New York Times and on National Public Radio. Darke has studied North American plants in their habitats for over three decades, and his research and lectures have taken him to Africa, Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, and northern Europe. His books include The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes (2007), The American Woodland Garden (2002), and In Harmony with Nature: Lessons from the Arts & Crafts Garden (2000). For further information visit www.rickdarke.com.

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Bringing Nature Home-Rev and Exp 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Asclepias More than 1 year ago
As a landscape professional, I think this is a book to live by. I was educated in traditional horticulture, and slowly began to find that the contrived and sterile landscapes that we are somewhat accustomed to are a detriment to our environment and a resource drain. I found this book to be well written, well researched and fairly easy to read. Mr. Tallamy outlines statistics that are mind boggling. Everyone should read this book, because after reading it you won't look at your backyard, neighborhood, or public spaces the same way again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A professional with our local Audubon Society recommended this book to my husband and me. We are building a new home surrounded by wonderful old trees and natural drainage. We wanted to enhance, not harm. This book gives great insight into the factors that lead to harm and the plants that enhance. Just what we needed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So wonderfully eye opening. Thoughts on how ecosystems work have changed in the past decade and he really shows how it all works together...and How and Why we should help. We are fixing the landscape of our new house and I am thrilled to have read this before going out to buy any trees, shrubs and other plants. Planting the right tree is a small thing that can really help our community!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dr. Tallamy sets out the extraordinary linkage between flora and fauna, as well as compelling arguments why restoring our native landscapes counts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. Greaet information and inspired me to garden better. I've bought 9 copies as gifts...always well received. His new book is more practical guidance if that's what you are looking for. Can't recommend this book highly enough.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Any one who has a yard should read this. Any one who cares about nature should read this too.
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