Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Garden Jungle: or Gardening to Save the Planet” as Want to Read:
The Garden Jungle: or Gardening to Save the Planet
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Garden Jungle: or Gardening to Save the Planet

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  205 ratings  ·  37 reviews

The Garden Jungle is a wonderful introduction to the hundreds of small creatures with whom we live cheek-by-jowl and of the myriad ways that we can encourage them to thrive.

The Garden Jungle is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 11th 2019 by Jonathan Cape (first published 2019)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Garden Jungle, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Garden Jungle

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  205 ratings  ·  37 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Garden Jungle: or Gardening to Save the Planet
Tanja Berg
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ecology
Dave Goulson has changed the lives of thousands of insects in my neighborhood. He has inspired me to let the lawn grow, to grow bee friendly flowers from seed, to only buy peat free earth for my pots. He has opened my eyes to the ecological collapse happening right before our eyes.

Intensive agricultural farming has had devastating effect on earth worms, insects and birds. In this book he shows how effective growing your own vegetables can be. There are plenty of tips on how to make the world a
Goulsons books are all great, but also all of a piece, such that you could pick just one to read (and it might as well be A Sting in the Tale) and dont necessarily need to follow it with the rest. His focus in all his books is on insect life, what it says about the state of the environment in general, and what we can do to protect and encourage wildlife in the places where we live. Here, he exposes the damage done by gardening and farming as usual, and suggests what and how regular people can ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
If you are fortunate to have a garden but dont really pay it much attention, then you might not be aware of the insects and other wildlife that inhabit it at the moment. It is a jungle out there, but one that you need to get down on your hands and knees to see properly. Everything from the microbes, worms and ants in the soil, to the insects that pollinate and right up to the small mammals and birds that prey on all of these creatures lower down the food chain.

If you can tear your attention away
Nina 321
I bought this book for its title: Gardening to save the planet, and the blurb promised a discussion of the kind of re-wilding I had learned about from Isabella Trees Wilding as applied to a smaller-size garden. Id already stopped mowing and weeding, and this seemed to furnish the scientific justification for it. The author is a professor of biology.

And indeed, I learned a number of interesting and entertaining things about my garden: its earwigs, its ants (very militant!), its worms and how
Sarah Gregory
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed this book. It is not really about gardening at all but the author is passionate about insects and small animals. The book is full of the amazing and often funny habits of ants, ladybirds, earthworms and so on. But there is always a serious side. There is much to be said in praise of composting and digging. Dave Goulson goes overboard about the modern garden centre but he does admit it too! I learned a lot and started to look much more closely at my log pile.
Karen Mace
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that will make you look at your garden differently! It doesn't only focus on how it looks, but the goings on underneath the soil and the insects and wildlife that visits your little part of the earth daily, and as a keen gardener and fan of wildlife, I'm even more eager now to do more bit and take time out to notice the little things - and leave things a little more 'wild' to help do my bit!

This is a really relevant book for the times we are living in - and no more than now, with
Feb 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
As with his other books, the writing is really good, engaging, informative, and occasionally funny. There are a lot of negative topics (the pesticides chapter being the worst I think), however he always counters with something positive that you can do. It's not all doom and gloom, thankfully, and there are plenty of positives to takeaway from the book, though I don't see many people being persuaded to eat road kill!
Cliff Moyce
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational. So much of what I do in the garden will now change, including what I plant, how I feed those plants, and where I buy them. A whole new world of flora and fauna (under my nose all along) has been opened up for me by Dave Goulding. What a great book.
Goska A
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dave, please never stop!


I have just put my name on the list for allotment :)
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Saving the planet starts with looking after my own patch.
I learned a lot, e.g.
Rhododendron nectar contains grayanotoxins at sufficient concentration that it can actually kill some bee species, yet honey bees somehow manage to make honey from it and this honey can induce hallucinations or death in humans if consumed in excess.
(1) Rhododendrons are not as sterile as I had been led to believe and (2) this would make a great plot for a Tales of the Unexpected.
The image of Yellow Rattle as a plant
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you have a garden, read this book!
Dave Goulson's stories are always a pleasure to read. They are informative, hopeful and quite funny sometimes. The book is pragmatic even when the message is very grim (for example on pesticides) he doesn't make you just angry or sad, but really motivates you to do better and also give possible solutions for the problems, and things you can do.
Last year I planted 20.000 - 30.000 square metres of wild flowers after reading his book The Sting in the Tale and I
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
British biologist Dave Goulson, author of A Buzz in the Meadow and A Sting in the Tale, is your tour guide in this captivating look at all the organisms that even small, chemical- free gardens can support: earwigs, bees, moths, aquatic creatures, ants and worms. He's an intelligent, witty and passionate writer who sees hope in eco-gardening in our backyards and in community gardens (less so than in industrial farming, but that is another book topic). The book, naturally, has a British slant (for ...more
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An important and yet entertaining book to read! Lots of mind-blowing facts about the scale we are destroying the planet but also ways we can (and sometimes do) make a huge positive impact in our own gardens. After reading the book you probably never eat Turkish grapes again, you will love and welcome all the little creatures in your garden (especially earwigs!♥), you will have bought and planted an organic fruit tree or two, will detest garden centres and will probably have started a vegetable ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dave Goulson's The Garden Jungle is a great introduction to gardening for the environment. It touches on a wide variety of issues about making a positive contribution to local biodiversity and reducing carbon footprint through growing your own veggies in an environmentally conscious manner. He touched on issues such as the use of pesticides in food production, the use of peat in commercial composts, integrated pest management, biocontrol and feral animals, and reducing meat consumption (and ...more
Aug 03, 2019 added it
Dave Goulson has a lively and engaging writing style. He manages to be informative, amusing and depressing about the state of our natural environment, especially with respect to insect diversity and pollinators.
The majority of readers are likely to be converts to the environmental cause but anyone will learn at least a few new ways we can help.
I read the Kindle edition, which works well with links to footnotes. I was anticipating another 30% to read when I found I'd come to the end! Lots of
Hilary May
Oct 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Three is a bit mean, 3.5 at least really. Ive read all Dave Goulsons books. Hes one of my favourite nature writers. Sting in the Tail being the standout. I found this book slightly less engaging. I did learn some new (shocking) things about pesticide use etc and it does inspire me to carry on gardening as I am in my own garden jungle but not sure its simple or engaging enough to capture the unconverted though. Loved the recipes - already made one with our own apples - delicious 😊 ...more
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
3.75 stars - so close to a 4 star read for me so I rounded up :)

This is my second book by this author and while I did like it very much , I enjoyed "A Buzz in the Meadow" more.

The book is very well written and Goulson is intelligent and witty. The one thing that knocked off a bit on the star rating for me is that I feel if you are a U.S reader, like myself, there is a lot that does not apply to you and your environment. Still, I am so glad I read it and plan to read all his books.
Pat Morris-jones
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful book. It is informative, amusing, interesting. I had to skim some of the names of the crawlies but he understood by saying he cut some out so we wouldnt be bored. It is inspirational too. I have re thought my buying habits, which will save me a fortune! I have only given it 4 star as I cant quite say it is 5 star but I dont know why. It is undoubtably 4 and a half, or slightly more, but not quite 5. Almost excellent is worth reading. ...more
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
For everyone who loves gardening and wants to learn how to work with and for nature instead of against it, this is an awesome book. The author is a scientist and the book is very informative, but he's also a gifted and funny writer. He's given me a newfound respect for butterflies, bees, earwigs and worms :)
Jane Petley-Jones
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this, Dave writes very readably. Theres some tips for things you can do in your own garden, especially growing some of your own veg.
Not as engrossing as the previous books as Im already converted!
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read, thought provoking and do able. Read if you want to garden as natural as possible.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Started the book feeling smug. Ended it feeling panicked. Immediately joined all the recommended charities. Great book though!
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
If you really want to leave your grandchildren a healthy planet to live on, its time to get out in the garden and dig. ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful, inspiring book about cultivating biodiversity, even in a small urban garden
Amanda Witt
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Although discussing things in the UK (when I'm in Australia) an interesting read nonetheless, with short chapters on different insects like bees, moths and worms.
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zoology
i liked it a lot, except for the last chapter which suddenly throws fatphobia and racism at you? so cw for that.
Harold Coutts
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
dave, you've done it again
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you like to know more about what goes on in your garden then this is a must read. Where his previous books are mainly about bees 🐝 ( also beautiful books to read who take you on a adventure) this book takes you trough the flower patches and the ponds and the mud of the garden and explains the multiple facets of life that is crawling slithering and flying trough your garden. I really enjoy his writing style its like going on a expedition with your friend. ...more
Neil Crossley
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Super little book detailing the challenges faced by each of the big groups of micro-beasties living in your garden. From bees ants and worms to the effect of pesticides generally and the benefits of creating tiny habitats - for example lagoons for hover-fly larvae. Goulson writes in both an entertaining and educational way and is always inspiring and immensely practical. If you are a nature sensitive gardener or want to start doing your bit it is a must read.
Dave Goulson is Professor of Biological Sciences at Sussex University, United Kingdom, and has spent the last 20 years studying bumblebees. So when he writes, he tells it how it is, and we should read and act. Ive read all his books, and can thoroughly recommend them.
This has fascinating scientific details, frightening environmental facts, and practical suggestions for what you can do in your own garden - large or small. It is also laced with the authors delightful sense of wry humour, and some
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Wilding
  • Insektenes planet: Om de rare, nyttige og fascinerende småkrypene vi ikke kan leve uten
  • Rewild Yourself: 23 Spellbinding Ways To Make Nature More Visible
  • The Bumblebee Flies Anyway: Gardening and Surviving Against the Odds
  • Miss Austen
  • Homesick: Why I Live in a Shed
  • Wildlife Gardening: For Everyone and Everything
  • Hoe gaan we dit uitleggen
  • Underland
  • Thinking on My Feet: The small joy of putting one foot in front of another
  • Feral: Rewilding the Land, the Sea and Human Life
  • Rebirding: Rewilding Britain and its Birds
  • The Offing
  • Mudlark: In Search of London's Past Along the River Thames
  • The Last Wilderness, A Journey into Silence
  • The Secret Life of the Owl
  • Ness
  • The Wild Places
See similar books…
After a childhood chasing butterflies and collecting birds 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 ...more

News & Interviews

April is the most hopeful of months, promising warm days and sunshine just around the corner. The weather is a little unpredictable, sure, but tha...
73 likes · 17 comments