Book Review:: Welcoming Wildlife to the Garden: Creating Backyard & Balcony Habitats for Wildlife

Welcoming WildlifeThere are many books about wildlife gardening, but few that focus on balconies. It was for this reason I ordered Welcoming Wildlife to the Garden: Creating Backyard and Balcony Habitats for Wildlife online, to see what information it offered on balconies in addition to wildlife design. The first thing I noticed about the book were the illustrations, which are beautifully done and do an excellent job highlighting points throughout the book. The preface has a good summary about the importance of urban wildlife and the introduction summarizes tips about the proper mindset for planning wildlife habitat. One of the highlights is how to observe local plants and wildlife to get a sense for, and understand their lives. Another key point in this chapter is…

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Seattle University Campus Habitat

Seattle University sits on 48 acres in the middle of Seattle, a five minute walk east from the middle of downtown. It’s in between the First Hill and Capitol Hill neighborhoods and is surrounded by hospitals, medical centers, stores, restaurants and housing. The campus has had a long commitment to sustainability dating back to the 1980’s when the college hired Ciscoe Morris, who is now a local gardening expert and celebrity. Ciscoe ended pesticide use by releasing beneficial insects on the campus which was successful and in turn launched an entire pesticide-free program. The success of the landscaping program spilled over to other sustainable practices such as an award winning recycling program, also begun back in the 1980’s. More recently the campus has seen LEED certified building, Built Green building, a composting program, solar power, electric vehicles, and a multitude of other green practices.

In the…

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Stone Walls for Wildlife

Retaining walls are a fact of life for many landscapes, even those with only a slight slope. The majority of walls however, are constructed as a flat surface, stones bound together with mortar which don’t serve any benefit to wildlife. Stone walls however, can be quite beneficial for wildlife if designed and constructed correctly. Even if a retaining wall isn’t needed, rock shelters could be constructed in a similar manner. A rock wall, with crevices between the rocks add additional places for plants to grow and places for a variety of wildlife to take refuge in from the weather, predators, and further provide somewhere to raise young. Ground nesting bees could find space between the rocks to build their nests, cavities can be planned inside for mammals to hide or even hibernate, and small crevices can be an ideal shelter for reptiles and on lower, damper levels, amphibians. Other wildlife…

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