Sep 172014
 
Book Review:: Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden

As one who spends a fair amount of time crawling around my yard in search of interesting insects, I was, needless to say, excited to see a new book from Timber Press with the title Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control. It’s written by horticulturist and self-proclaimed ‘bug lover’ Jessica Walliser. With a quick glance through the book, it’s easy to see it’s up to the typical high standard of Timber Press books and full of wonderful and inspiring images of beautiful bug-friendly gardens. As this is not a typical sort of book that …continue reading

Jan 202014
 
Hedgerows From Romans to Habitat

This is a revised and updated post which was originally published on June 2, 2010. History Although not as significant in the US as in the UK, hedgerows nonetheless offer a valuable design opportunity for wildlife habitat. In the simplest terms, a hedgerow is a row of wild trees and shrubs, packed closely together. In the UK they have a very long and interesting history, dating back thousands of years. They were a mixed blessing, good for wildlife, but very bad for peasant farmers. Historically, hedgerows were the remnants of woodlands cleared to make way for agricultural fields. With the …continue reading

Oct 172013
 
Book Review:: Gardening for the Birds

Whenever I see another book about landscaping or gardening for the birds come out, I’m usually dubious. My shelves are full of generic guides on how to attract birds and unsurprisingly, they’re much the same. They usually focus heavily on bird feeders, bird baths and plants which are often labeled as native, yet are only really native to small portions of the country. It’s a very hard thing to write a book for the whole, giant, diverse continent and nearly every single one I have seen makes little attempt to address this in the plant choices. They instead list various …continue reading

Aug 092013
 
Book Review:: Ladybirds

The newly released 2nd edition of Ladybirds is number 10 in Pelagic Publishing’s Naturalist’s Handbook series. If this series sounds familiar it’s because I reviewed the Bumblebees book here and found it a phenomenal resource for learning about the life history of bumblebees. Thus I was very excited to receive a copy of Ladybirds and hoped it would be just as enlightening about a very common insect. I found I wasn’t disappointed and learned a great deal about an insect which we often overlook simply because they’re everywhere. Like Bumblebees it focuses on British species, but the first few chapters are about …continue reading

Apr 022013
 
Book Review:: Ecosystem Services Come to Town

The most important objective in the management of the environment must the the maintenance of biodiversity and the habitats that support it, because without this we cannot survive. When a book has a quote like this, it’s a must-have for me. Ecosystem Services Come to Town: Greening Cities by Working With Nature is a new book by Gary Grant, published last year by Wiley-Blackwell. It’s an excellent overview of urban design which features a topic near and dear to this blog, urban biodiversity. Too many books on urban design focus on solar power, alternative transportation, energy efficient buildings, zero waste and other …continue reading

Mar 012013
 
Travis Beck Interview

Travis Beck is author the newly published Principles of Ecological Landscape Design, which I recently reviewed. He kindly agreed to an interview so I could ask him some questions about his book, what inspired him and his views on the current state of Landscape Architecture. What inspired you to write this book? For a long time I asked myself, “What would a designed landscape that was truly based on ecological principles look like?” I kept looking for a book that would answer that question. Eventually I set out to write it myself. What ‘natural’ landscapes inspire you most? Right now I am …continue reading