Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants
By Douglas Tallamy
Have you ever had a book completely change the way you think about something? When John Manion, Kaul Wildflower Garden Curator, suggested this book for The Library book group because it changed his life, I couldn’t imagine a book about gardening/nature changing someone’s life. So I picked it up and read it (this is a big challenge for me since I listen to most books on CD). And I have to say that it changed my life too, well at least my gardening life. Doug Tallamy states in his book, “All plants are not created equal, particularly in their ability to support wildlife.” Most of our native plant-eaters are not able to eat alien plants, and we are replacing native plants with alien species at an alarming rate, especially in the suburban gardens on which our wildlife increasingly depends. If our native insect fauna can not, or will not, use alien plants for food, then insect populations in areas with many alien plants will be smaller than insect populations in areas with all natives. This many sound like a gardener’s dream – a land without insects! But because so many animals depend partially or entirely on insect protein for food, a land without insects is a land without most forms of higher life (Wilson 1987). I have to say that this scared me at first, I was thinking I would have to get rid of all the non-native plants in my yard but then I realized I just needed to add natives in with all of the other ornamentals that I already have. This book is worth reading, or better yet, join us for the Central South Native Plant Conference where Doug Tallamy will be speaking and hear it straight from him.