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A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm
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A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  673 ratings  ·  95 reviews
A conservationist's deeply personal and fascinating reflection on owning and revitalizing a farm in rural France.

A Sting in the Tale, Dave Goulson's account of a lifetime studying bees, was a powerful call to arms for nature lovers everywhere. Brilliantly reviewed, it was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize for the best nonfiction book of the year, and debuted the alr
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Picador (first published September 4th 2014)
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Tanja Berg
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone who cares about the world we live in
"Conservation is not just about Javan rhinos and snow leopards; it is just as much about bees and beetles, flowers and flies, bats and bugs."

I read my first Dave Goulson book "A Sting in the tale" sometime in the fall of 2016. I was a this time already a rather inspired hobby gardner, with a strong preferance for flowers and plants that drew bumblebees and butterflies. However, this was limited to potted plants on my terrace. Goulson's book inspired me to look at the rest of the plot. I have a s
As Goulson did in his book about bees, A Sting in the Tale, he treats readers like friends he is taking on a gentle tour to have everyday encounters with nature. The low-key, humorous anecdotes are reminiscent of the writings of Gerald Durrell, but – like Durrell – Goulson has a serious environmental agenda. By incorporating details of his own academic research as well as projects he’s overseen, Goulson makes science sound exciting. Some of the most amusing chapters are about the sexual habits o ...more
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decade ago Goulson decided to buy a derelict farm deep in the French countryside with 33 acres of land so he could realise the dream of creating a place for his beloved bumblebees to live and thrive. But as he works on the farm and the land he comes to realise there is a lot more going on in what looks on the surface to be a simple meadow.

He writes about how everything is interconnected, from the way that the plants attract pollinators, the sheer numbers and variety of insects that fulfil a sp
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature-fauna
Funny, clever, learned and very thought provoking about the damage we are doing to our planet. The chapter about the proliferation of flies directly linked to two weekly refuse collections (a hot topic right now in England) was extremely worrying.
A book that will make me think differently (and look differently) at the insects in my garden - and occasionally in my home, even if it is just an annoying house fly.
Learnt so much - but as Goulson says, we are only merely scratching the surface of all
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: gardeners, Vegetarians, Vegans, conservationists, entomology students
Rated 4.5 - I've included pictures of bees in my garden within this review at my new blog, Enjoy :)

A BUZZ IN THE MEADOW: The Natural History of a French Farm by Dave Goulson is so much more than its title suggests. Dave Goulson is an entertainer with his words and style, which is perfect for those of us who love this earth we live on and the creatures who share it. The book is divided into three sections and those sections will appeal to readers based on their interests and pri
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After reading A Sting in the Tale last month I was so keen to read the next book by Dave Goulson. In this one he talks about the plethora of wildlife discovered in the meadow he owns. I feel like Goulson's enthusiasm is so infectious and there were times that I wanted to turn my backyard into a giant pond and wildlife hub. The book is just so interesting and there are so many good points bought up about conservation and preserving what we have to enjoy it while it's here and in the future. I fee ...more
Jul 14, 2016 rated it liked it
A 3.5. I should probably round up because the message is important: we need to save fauna and their habitat by changing all kinds of human behavior , including the use of neonic pesticides, destroying swaths of wildland, global warming etc.

The biologist author charms you first with several chapters about the rural property he buys in Charente, France, to create a small nature preserve and to run experiments on preserving and repairing habitat. Amusing anecdotes, many experiments with good backg
Danny Daley
An interesting, but overlong look at insects and other random species, the book is part natural history, part memoir, and a very convincing appeal to drastic and immediate conservation. I lost interest in the book a few times, and I was surprised by how unsophisticated and random some of the scientific methods were that were used to gather data of various species of insects discussed. But the very beginning and very end of the book were the payoffs. I deeply believe that much more urgent conserv ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
3,5 gwiazdki. Wciągająca, lekko napisana książka o bioróżnorodności, a przede wszystkim o różnych owadach.
Marysya Rudska
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Дейв Голсон - один із моїх найулюбленіших авторів, що пишуть про природу.
Він науковець, що досліджує комах, особливо бджіл та джмелів і займається їхньою охороною.
Одного разу Дейв вирішив зробити свій маленький заповідник і купив закинуту ферму в Франції. В книзі він одночасно розповідає про те, як він допомагав (або принаймні не заажав) відновлюватися дикому життю, а також про те, що ми знаємо про наших крихітних сусідів - зелених клопів, короїдів, джмелів і богомолів. Багато досліджень зробив
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, non-fiction
That awkward moment when you realise you returned the book to the library before writing down all the quotes you had marked with sticky notes...

I read The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History last year. It was a bit of frenzied race around the world looking at different species that didn't gel everything together in the hard hitting argument it should have. I'm concerned it may have had the opposite effect of that intended. I'm team enlightened when it comes to climate change, but this book ma
Mike Sumner
Aug 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Buzz in the Meadow is a captivating look at our natural world through the eyes of Dave Goulson, who I know better as the founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, that august body, of which I am a member. In 2003 DG bought a derelict farm in the heart of rural France, together with 33 acres of surrounding meadow. Over the course of a decade he created a place for his beloved bumblebees to thrive along with myriad insects of every kind. A significant part of the book contains his own researc ...more
I loved Goulson's first book, A Sting in the Tail, which was about bees. I had a harder time with this second book. It's sort of about his efforts to create a wildflower-rich meadow at his French farmhouse, with observations about biodiversity and a call to action about preserving it. That's great, but it was a very musing-y, diffuse kind of book with lots of lengthy asides. I enjoy that style when I find the asides interesting, but here I had a hard time focusing. Also, insect sex squicks me ou ...more
Mar 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A delightful miscellany, more a chatty memoir of the ten acres of land bought in France by the author, with added insects and other wildlife thrown in than a traditional wildfe book, every page contains an erudite gem. I learnt a lt about insect reproduction (I am eminently grateful I am not a female brown meadow butterfly) and life. As a billogist, references to field study took me back to my student years and tinted certain pages with a roseate glow. Fascinating and readable. A must for any na ...more
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gardening
Loved this book! I thought it was going to be a book about gardening in France. It was not. I didn't think I was in the mood to read a book about bugs but I guess I was. Very nice nature writing. The last section was powerful and inspiring and before the book I was buying 75% of my food as organic, now I am committed to 100% organic diet. Highly recommended for gardeners, nature lovers and non-fiction science readers.
Geweldig intrigerende verhalen over de natuur, verteld aan de hand van Goulson's 'verwilderde' boerderij in Frankrijk: bloemen, de mens, dieren en vooral insecten met hier en daar uitstapjes naar interessante onderzoeken uit de wetenschap en Goulson's eigen (wetenschappelijke) carriere, die samen toch een verrassend samenhangend verhaal vormen.
Dan Nortman
Sep 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Decent read but nothing new for an entomologist.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
grellig interessant
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: natural-history
A lovely book about the wildlife found on a small French farm.

It was enchanting and delightful. Though the idea of mice and dormice in the house gave me the willies.

A charming read.
Alberto Simal
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just started, but I'm ecstatic! This guy can write!! His description of the cottage is a rollercoaster of delights. I can't wait to finish work and get into my commute to keep reading!

UPDATE: just finished reading it. So sad. The end of the book is a plea to all humanity to stop destroying natural habitats, and a warning to what WILL befall us. I like the fact that his injunction to act does not come with the promise of deliverance: it's already too late, and we've got it coming. I am sorry for
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natural-history
This follows on from 'A Sting in the Tale', and the main section of the book tells of Goulson's French farm where he has been creating a wild flower meadow over some years, to encourage bees and other wildlife. Goulson is Professor of Biological Sciences at Sussex University, but this is not a dry scientific account. I didn't find it quite as readable as his first book, which had more of an autobiographical element. However, it is still fascinating and, although he doesn't flinch from explaining ...more
Toen ik net begonnen was in dit boek, vroeg ik me af of het wel wat voor mij was. Want ofschoon het gemakkelijk te lezen is, gaat het ook wel op een wetenschappelijke manier in op details.
In het boek vertelt de bioloog Dave Goulson over zijn stuk grond in Frankrijk. Hij heeft daar een rondom zijn huis de grond aan de natuur terug gegeven en bestudeert de dieren die er langzamerhand weer terugkomen. Met dieren bedoel ik dan vooral vlinders, bijen en hommels. Er komen echter allerlei insecten aan
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not nearly as good as Meadowland, but still a good book. Split up into slightly more academic style essays, but with a literary flair. It got gradually more depressing towards the end, as we are told just how buggered we, and the planet we are destroying, are. I now need to go out and plant lots of bee friendly flowers.
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
:O Loved it! A must read for everyone ( I say this about quite a lot of books ), but this is so important, to understand the basic principles of what is happening in the world, of our impacts present and future.
Brecht Van Der Meulen
Interesting book for sure! but what i missed are images and pictures. I wanted to see how some creatures look like so I can start exploring :)
Katharine Winchell
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson is a three-distinct-part book for nature and botany lovers. The first section describes different flora and fauna (mostly insects) that can be found on a large former-farm that the author purchased in the middle of France. If you are an insect or science nerd (like me), these chapters are both incredibly entertaining and educational. If you are hoping for cute stories or romantic descriptions, don't even think about it. You will go to sleep within 10 pages. T ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I have a general interest in natural history and am drawn to books that explain complex scientific concepts in terms that a non-specialist can grasp. Dave Goulson is an academic (he is professor of Biological Sciences at Sussex University) with a reputation for writing high quality popular science books about his specialism - insects and insect ecology.
What drew me to this book in particular was the exquisite cover design featuring beautiful hand painted butterflies, moths, beetles and bugs. In
Maarika Vaara
This book is charming indeed, being written with warmth, humour and scientific precision at the same time. The author is Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex, and his scientific work concentrates e.g. on bumblebees. In this book he describes life at his farm Chez Nauche in France and many curious incidents of everyday life there, but the book also covers more serious subjects including the ongoing exploitation of nature, the accelerating rate of extinction and the disappe ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dave Goulson ist einer von den Wissenschaftlern, die ihre Begeisterung für ihr Fach so runterbrechen können, dass auch der Laie sie mit Genuss lesen und geniessen kann. Anhand der Renaturierung einer Wiese in Frankreich wird eine Lanze für die Insekten gebrochen. Das Buch ist nicht nur ein Plädoier für einen behutsameren Umgang mit der Natur, ein geschärfteres Auge für die kleinen Lebewesen, als auch eine Liebeserklärung an die eigene Scholle und den Beitrag, den man leisten kann. Sehr lesenswer ...more
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After a childhood chasing butterflies and collecting bird’s eggs, I studied Biology at Oxford University, and then did a PhD on butterfly ecology at Oxford Brookes University. Shortly afterwards I got a lectureship at University of Southampton, where I stayed for 11 years. It was there that I began to specialize in bumblebee ecology and conservation. In 2006 I became Professor of Biology and Stirl ...more
“but then who said journalists need to know anything about their subject before spouting their ill-informed opinions to millions?” 2 likes
“Smuts are parasitic fungi that are often spread by pollinators and so, in the case of campions, pollinators pose the double threat of both laying eggs that will hatch into voracious larvae and giving the flower a nasty dose of the clap.” 0 likes
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