Gardening & Ecology

The Best and Most Current Books We Know: Must Reads

  • Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies
    Xerces Society. Storey Publishing, 2011.
    A fascinating and thorough book about the importance of native pollinators to our ecosystem and the food supply for both humans and wildlife. Offers good information about creating pollinator friendly gardens and landscapes.
  • Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens
    Douglas W. Tallamy. Timber Press, 2007.
    This book breaks new ground on the critical role of native plants to biodiversity because of their importance to insects and the food web as a whole. Since it was published, Professor Tallamy has been a sought after speaker traveling the country with this new message.
  • Designing Gardens with Flora of the American East
    Carolyn Summers. Rutgers University Press, 2010.
    A great book for learning about the importance of native plants as well as for practical information about designing and creating your own gardens with native plants.
  • The Green Garden: A New England Guide to Planning, Planting, and Maintaining the Eco-Friendly Habitat Garden
    Ellen Sousa. Bunker Hill Publishing, 2011.
    A wonderful overall guide to gardening with the ecosystem in mind. Full of great photographs and practical, accessible information on the many aspects of habitat creation and stewardship. A great book for all gardeners.
  • Urban & Suburban Meadows: Bringing Meadowscpaing to Big and Small Spaces
    Catherine Zimmerman, Matrix Media Press, 2010.
    A great primer on methods for installing and maintaing meadow environments, large or small. Available with a companion DVD. Highly recommended for anyone creating meadow habitat.

More Really Good Books

  • The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest
    Richard Darke. Timber Press, 2002.
    Replete with wonderful photographs, this book captures the beauty of native plant landscapes. Even if we don’t have acres of space to work in, this book provides valuable inspiration and insight.
  • The Bird Garden: A Comprehensive Guide to Attracting Birds to Your Backyard throughout the Year
    Stephen W. Kress. National Audubon Society, 1995.
    The principles of habitat creation, along with specific information about recommended native plant species as food sources, are both well covered.
  • Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Back Yards
    Sarah Stein. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.
    This was a seminal book about gardening from an ecological perspective. Ms. Stein’s beautiful writing and fresh view laid much of the groundwork for today's increased awareness of native plants and the ecological importance of our managed landscapes.

Articles and Downloads

  • Gardening for Life  
    Douglas Tallamy, 2009.
    The shortest and best summary available about why native plants are so essential to our gardens. An urgent call to action.

Key Organizations and Websites

  • Soil Biology Primer — USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service
    Teeming with both stable and decomposing organic matter and living organisms— bacteria, mychorrhizal fungi, protozoa, nematodes, arthropods, and worms— soils form their own complex ecosystems. This website on the basics of soils is fairly comprehensive, and provides just a start for understanding what we need to know.