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Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants
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Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants

4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  428 ratings  ·  83 reviews
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
Paperback, Updated and Expanded, 360 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Timber Press (first published November 6th 2007)
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Tomatoland by Barry EstabrookThe Botany of Desire by Michael PollanThe World According to Monsanto by Marie-Monique RobinThe Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane JacobsDesign With Nature by Ian L. McHarg
Urban EE Collective Library
66th out of 125 books — 14 voters
Pest Control for Organic Gardening by Amber RichardsMaking More Plants by Ken DruseBringing Nature Home by Douglas W. TallamyThe Garden Primer by Barbara DamroschPerennial All-Stars by Jeff Cox
The basic gardening bookshelf
3rd out of 6 books — 9 voters

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Community Reviews

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Doug Tallamy brings the concepts of biodiversity, systems for ecological benefit, and conservation for the health and well-being of life on earth, right into our very own back yards. And he uses his own back yard as an experimental station for his entomological studies, tying together for the reader the tight interelationships between plants and animals. This book is a gardener's bible, a landscaper's helper, and just an all-round good read for any of us who tend any kinds of plants in any size ...more
Tim Gannon
I found this a wonderful book. The author writes quite well. He explains the difference between native and alien plant species (NO Rob - I am talking about plants from Europe and Asia, not another planet).

He demonstrates how we need insects in our world for life to continue and how insect numbers are hugely impacted by the types of plants we have. It has taken thousands of years of evolution to put the right insects with the right plants and since we started bringing in plants from other countr
This is the best books I've read on why we need to focus on growing native plants. Because of ever expanding habitat destruction most of our plants are declining in numbers, thereby threatening everything that depends upon them for food. Tallamy makes an extremely strong argument that local gardens are fast becoming the only place left for native plants but most are filled with alien and invasive plants bought at local nurseries and big box stores. Each of us has only so much space and we must c ...more
An extremely thoughtful book that is an accessibly written and exciting read. The author explains in clear language supported by numerous studies why biodiversity is important, why alien plants are problematic (I never knew that many native insects do not eat them and the resulting impact on the larger food chain) and how to balance your planted environment whether in the city or suburb to restore balance. The appendixes at the end are quite useful. I checked this out from the library but am ord ...more
Aug 12, 2014 Karla marked it as looks-good-check-it-out
Now that I've got a 6 acre hayfield that's no longer being used, this book is PERFECT.
This is a vital book not only for gardeners and landscapers but anyone with influence over a campus, office park landscape, or plot of land large or small. Driven by basic principles of ecology and clear information about plants and their evolutionary relationships to the landscapes they developed in -- or didn't, in the case of alien or invasive species -- this book makes a clear and simple point: if the first link in the food chain is inedible, everything moving up from tiny insects to bigger ...more
Jun 30, 2008 Clare rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with a garden
This book changed the way I think about my garden. Tallamy's argument is simple and totally convincing: in order to sustain local bird populations, you need an insect population. In order to sustain a population of native insects, you need native plants. Tallamy also provides practical details for planning a garden of native species, and a guide to the plants and insects inhabiting such a garden. From now on I'm going to focus on making my garden contribute to the local wildlife food chain.
Doug Tallamy was the keynote speaker at last week's annual Native Plants Conference in the high mountains of NC. An entomologist, he's working on detailed research on how bird populations are impacted by the availability of insect larvae on native plants, and how important it is for us to jam-pack surburbia with natives. Good speaker, good book - excellent plant lists at the end.
I read so much nonfiction I rarely take the time to review but this was a step above the other books about native plants I've read. Douglas W. Tallamy recommends native plants for wildlife but he also, in palatable detail, discusses the importance of native plants to insects and insects to wildlife. The talking points he gives throughout the book are invaluable as you convert your yard from lawn and/or cultivated aliens to native plantings and may be faced with explaining to neighbors or communi ...more
Apr 08, 2014 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gardeners, suburbanites
The clearest argument for going native in your garden that I have ever heard. Native plants provide food for native insects which provide food for native bird/animals. Without native plants, the insects die and so do the birds and animals. What we will be left with are invasives like kudzu, japanese beetles, pigeons, house sparrows -- a sterile monoculture lacking interest and variety. I was recently privileged to hear Dr. Tallamy speak and he is a great lecturer. The photos he had at the lectur ...more
This was not an easy book to read, but it WAS an inspiring book to read. I was lucky to have been inspired to read it in response to seeing Dr. Tallamy lecture. Dr. Tallamy does an incredible job of building a case, step-by-step, on how important native plants are to the food web. He tries, almost too hard, to interest us in the beautiful array of insects, spiders, and butterflies that will come to inhabit our yards if we plant native species that provide them with the only food they can eat. He ...more
After getting frustrated with how little permaculturists paid attention to real restoration science, I turned to the native gardening movement for ideas on how to mix human uses and habitat value. That was definitely a good idea. As an entomologist, Tallamy focuses on insects here. He discusses many of the lessons of Plant-Animal Interactions (a direction that class should have pursued), using them to explain why native plants are more ecologically beneficial even though bees may seem to prefer ...more
I love this book! It's the most thought-provoking book I've ever read on gardening and environmental stewardship. I had never really realized that exotic plants don't participate as part of the food chain. As I came to realize after reading this book, planting a garden with exotic plants is like setting a table with fine silver and china, inviting your guests to dinner, and omitting the food.

The author would have us completely eliminate exotic plants from our gardens. I'm sure he'll wince if he
Jul 10, 2011 Robin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Fiery
Thank you Fiery Cushman for lending me this book. I have never thought about the bug-bird-plant relationship and its connection to landscape design. Tallamy makes interesting arguments are why all non-native (alient) plans are problemmatic, not just the invasive ones. The problems created are just not obvious to this non-bug person. How would have thought that bugs could be picky eaters?

I am disappointed that Tallamy did not include a list of native plants with wildlife value and desirable lands
Oct 07, 2008 Tinea rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tinea by: a neighbor
Shelves: ecology-diy
There are lots of books that make the case for planting native species in your home garden. Bringing Nature Home is neat because it's written by an entomologist, a bug scientist. Native plants don't just provide food and habitat for native birds, mammals, and butterflies. Tallamy gets almost giddy about the cool caterpillars you'll find on the underside of an oak leaf. The color photos of fantastic bugs throughout the book are pretty convincing. Who knew we had neon grubs here in New Jersey!

I li
Douglas Tallamy's message is that gardeners can slow the rate of extinction of plants & thus the animals & insects that depend on them by planting native plants. What we chose to plant can impact the diversity of life on our planet. This well-researched book includes extensive regional lists of native plants. This is a very important book that should be read by everyone especially those who think manicured grassy yards with a few exotic non-native plants are the greatest thing since slic ...more
Want to know what all the fuss about using native plants is about? Read this book. Before I read this book I knew that using plants native to a region was good for water conservation, but I had no idea how critical they are for sustaining the local food web. After I finished the book I felt guilty about the exotic plants I had purchased for my yard (mainly roses), and resolved to do better in the future.

Basically this book lays out the science that native plants support native insects which feed
Sue Tincher
This really inspired me to plant native plants. As an entomologist, the author focused on the bugs you can attract with native plants--and what a lot of fascinating ones he profiled! I had no idea what a variety of caterpillars there were out there. Looking forward to attracting some of them--and the birds who eat them--to my yard!
I loved this book for many reasons, most importantly because now I understand the concerns with invasive alien plants and the need to preserve our native varieties in a way I never have before. Most alien species to North America are not recognized or eaten by local insects. As local insect populations decrease the base of the food web decreases, thereby limiting the number of other species that can exist within the local food web. The book describes many interactions between specific native pla ...more
I've known for years that it's "important" to use native plants in our gardens, and that alien species are "bad". But not until I read this book did I fully understand the whys and whats of it all. I'm one of those people who isn't likely to really get on board with a movement unless I know WHY it's important, so I'm now motivated to take action in my own yard and I feel better able to explain to other people why it matters. And the best part of the whole book was his comment that our efforts to ...more
Apr 05, 2013 Elyse rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Members of the Herb Society of America
Obviously the author is an entomologist. He did write about native plants but it's mostly about native bugs and what they eat. In spite of my dislike of insects I really enjoyed this book. I read every word about the insects and it was very entertaining. If I want to have pretty songbirds in my yard they need those bugs to feed their young. And I need to learn to ignore those munched leaf parts where my native bugs had dinner. It's a trade off. I was so inspired by this book that I just bought a ...more
Wonderful book. Want to know why native plant species are better for our yards and communities than alien plant species? Tallamy explains this in approachable language for the non-expert. Best aspect of the book, for me, is that the author is very positive about our capacity at the individual level to improve our local environment, starting with our yards. Personal note: for those who live in communities with an HOA or condo board, convincing other homeowners to install a native habitat, rain ga ...more
Wow. I'm going to be coming back to this book for a long time. So much to think about. So much to learn and understand.
I really had no idea how damn important it is to plant natives. That insects are that particular about what they eat, and reproduce on. And that this sets off a whole chain of events which eventually reaches us. It made me want to rush out and fill my garden full of native plantings! Granted, I already new the importance, and have plenty integrated already, but the TRUE scale o
Amy Chan
So far, pretty good. The intro is interesting. The author show that he knows both side (the lure of exotic plants and benefits of native plants). The writing is clear, easy to understand, and speaks to the audience.
Update: Read it all the way to the end pretty quick. A book that talked about a very controversial and complicated issues in a simplistic but well-informed manner - not a easy task to do. Supports his book's perspective well with both scientific studies and previous events that happen
If you want to geek out about plants and insects, this book is awesome. Tallamy makes a really compelling case for native plants based on their relationship to herbivorous insects and how important they are to us. It's the kind of thing you never explicitly thought about, but once you've heard it's as though you always knew - it just makes so much sense. He is extreme on the native plants only front, which plant lovers like me will never want to stick to. I've had my own evolution from natives-a ...more
Erin Markel
This book makes a compelling case for how gardening with native species can turn sterile suburban yards into refuges for wildlife. Native species provide food for insect larvae in ways that nonnative species can't, and the larvae are themselves important food sources for birds and other wildlife. Tallamy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware, explains the science behind all of this in a way that is both accurate and accessible. The book's appendices include lists of the host plants of s ...more
Jun 21, 2010 Tina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: nature
This book will change the way you look at gardening. The author does a great job of presenting his premise (that by planting native plants, anyone can help preserve local biodiversity) in a very interesting and readable manner. He points out that we need to do more than plant plants that feed butterflies and birds; we need to plant ones that sustain the entire life cycle of butterflies and birds by providing places for them to lay eggs and to glean the insects and caterpillars they need to raise ...more
I really liked the book, it has a slant towards people with lawns, but I don't know very many people that have a 10 acre plot of land that is all sod. Otherwise interesting if you live in the Northeast, but interesting none-the-less.
Best book read in 2014! Should be must read, by birders, gardeners, anyone interested in the future!
Yes. This. This is the most hopeful environmental book I've read. The main thesis: each of us has it in our power to help the global ecology, and it's not that hard. All we have to do is increase the biodiversity in our own yards by eliminating alien plants and replacing them with native ones. Simple. And it can be done a little at a time. There's lots more to the book than that, but that's the main point. I'm giving it 5 stars not because it's great literature, but because it made me so hopeful ...more
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