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Description

Product Description

“This thoughtful, intelligent book is all about connectivity, addressing a natural world in which we are the primary influence.” —The New York Times Books Review

Many gardeners today want a home landscape that nourishes and fosters wildlife, but they also want beauty, a space for the kids to play, privacy, and maybe even a vegetable patch. Sure, it’s a tall order, but The Living Landscape shows you how to do it. You’ll learn the strategies for making and maintaining a diverse, layered landscape—one that offers beauty on many levels, provides outdoor rooms and turf areas for children and pets, incorporates fragrance and edible plants, and provides cover, shelter, and sustenance for wildlife. Richly illustrated and informed by both a keen eye for design and an understanding of how healthy ecologies work, The Living Landscape will enable you to create a garden that fulfills both human needs and the needs of wildlife communities.
 

From Booklist

Interest in the native plant movement is slowly growing, but this guide will interest all gardeners as Darke and Tallamy go beyond simple gardening tips to describe how native plants can play “essential roles in gardens designed for multiple purposes, with a focus on proven functionality.” Beauty ranks high as a value and function, and the authors also note such equally important garden purposes as screening and cooling. They cover the various botanical, cultural, and temporal layers in wild landscapes, the interrelationships of living organisms, what landscapes do ecologically, the cultivation of appreciation for the wonder of nature’s processes, and diverse home garden applications. Abundant color photographs of herons, egrets, turtles, and other animals enhance images of biodiverse landscapes and instructions for using native plant cuttings to create interior decor. The authors also provide useful grids showing selected plants’ landscape and ecological functions organized by North American regions. Essential for gardeners and nature lovers interested in sustainability. --Whitney Scott

Review

“This thoughtful, intelligent book is all about connectivity, addressing a natural world in which we are the primary influence.” — The New York Times Books Review
 
“Two giants of the natural gardening world, Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy, have collaborated on their best work yet.” — The New York Times
 
“Gives meaningful definition to the idea of biodiversity . . . . the book offers guidance for creating beautiful landscapes that will be durable and “support life without sacrificing aesthetics.” — Publishers Weekly
 
“Essential for gardeners and nature lovers interested in sustainability.” — Booklist 
 
“A fascinating and beautiful book on creating gardens for wildlife.” — Library Journal

“Together [Darke and Tallamy] explain how to create a beautiful home landscape that nourishes and fosters wildlife.” — Garden Design Magazine

“With beautiful photos and many examples, they argue eloquently that gardens can be civilized, lovely and even elegant while incorporating local plants and creating habitat for birds and the entire ecosystem in which they live.” — Chicago Tribune

“A rich guide on creating sustainable landscapes.” — Sunset
 
“Will become the most popular book of the decade.” — Real Dirt 
 
“Here’s the book of the season, worth contemplating all winter long for the heartfelt and elegant practicality of its environmentalism. . . . Darke’s beautiful photos stress the interconnectedness of nature, while illustrating how to create healthy ecosystems that serve humans, plants, animals, insects and birds.” — Pacific Northwest Magazine
 
“Striking images.” — Coastal Homes

The Living Landscape will enable you to create a garden that is full of life and fulfills both human needs and the needs of wildlife communities.” — The Detroit News
 
The Living Landscape by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy is a beautiful guide to creating and maintaining a landscape that is not only beautiful and functional for its human inhabitants but also offers food and shelter for wildlife.” — Daily Herald
 
“Both a primer on how landscapes develop in the wild and a manual for learning how to observe wild areas and then apply nature’s principles to your own garden, the book has breathtaking photographs by the authors of wildlife including birds, butterflies, moths, turtles, and bees luxuriating in habitats provided by gardens designed with their needs in mind.” — Gardenista

“This book describes how home gardeners can help support sustainability and biodiversity through including in their garden plants that provide food for birds and bugs and serve as a pollination source for bees, including suggested plants for every climate and region.” —The York Weekly

From the Back Cover

The Living Landscape is your roadmap to a richer, more satisfying garden.

Many gardeners today want a home landscape that nourishes and fosters wildlife. But they also want beauty, a space for the kids to play, privacy, and maybe even a vegetable patch. Sure, it’s a tall order, but The Living Landscape shows how to do it. By combining the insights of two outstanding authors, it offers a model that anyone can follow. Inspired by its examples, you’ll learn the strategies for making and maintaining a diverse, layered landscape—one that offers beauty on many levels, provides outdoor rooms and turf areas for children and pets, incorporates fragrance and edible plants, and provides cover, shelter, and sustenance for wildlife.
 
 

About the Author

Rick Darke is a landscape design consultant, author, lecturer, and photographer based in Pennsylvania who blends art, ecology, and cultural geography in the creation and conservation of livable landscapes. His projects include scenic byways, public gardens, corporate and collegiate campuses, mixed-use conservation developments, and residential gardens. Darke served on the staff of Longwood Gardens for twenty years and received the Scientific Award of the American Horticultural Society. His work has been featured in the New York Times and on National Public Radio. Darke is recognized as one of the world''s experts on grasses and their use in public and private landscapes. For further information visit www.rickdarke.com.



Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has taught insect-related courses for 40 years. His most recent book with Timber Press, Nature’s Best Hope, is a New York Times Best Seller.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Introduction
No matter how much any individual garden may seem like a separate place, a refuge, or an island, it is in truth part of the larger landscape, and that in turn is made of many layers. The layering of the larger landscape varies over place and time, and is profoundly influenced by the life within it.

Some landscapes have more layers than others, and some layers are more apparent than others. The richness of life in any given landscape is generally linked to the richness and intricacy in its layering.

A bird’s-eye view of typical urban and suburban landscapes reveals that they lack many of the living layers characteristic of broadly functional ecosystems. In addition, many of the layers that are present have been stripped of much of their complexity, and because of this, the biological diversity and ecological functions of these landscapes are greatly diminished.

Since we spend so much of our time in such landscapes, it’s easy to adjust to their simplicity and unconsciously to accept it as the norm. However, if our intent is to create beautiful, livable landscapes that are also highly functional in environmental terms, integrating meaningfully detailed layers has to be a primary design goal.

Many suburban residential landscapes already include a few or many of the literal layers that have made traditional habitats and other long-evolved ecosystems so full of life. Existing layers can be enhanced and missing layers can be appropriately created. The key is to develop a familiarity with the basic functions, inter-relationships and living dynamics of layered landscapes, and then to use horticultural skills to reprise and maintain them. Learning to read and draw lessons from the structure, composition, and processes of functional ecosystems will be increasingly essential to good gardening and the making of broadly functional landscapes for life.
 
The lack of biological layers is especially evident in many commercial landscapes and in the majority of urban landscapes since so much of their available area is dedicated to buildings and to the extensive paving necessary to accommodate cars and other motorized vehicles. Although there are opportunities to reintroduce layers to such landscapes, the greatest opportunity lies in the suburbs, which are now home to approximately half of the United States’ population.

Despite frequent remnant patches of layered woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands within the broad suburban landscape, they are just that: patches. These isolated fragments are typically surrounded by highly altered expanses with minimal habitat functionality. Their separation and relatively small size is insufficient to sustain the great diversity of wildlife that requires larger, continuous habitat. Reintroducing layers to residential landscapes is the best strategy for restoring biological function on a vast scale, contributing to habitat and to a wide range of ecosystem services that are broadly beneficial, including replenishment of atmospheric oxygen, carbon sequestration, groundwater recharge and filtration, soil conservation, and moderation of weather extremes.

The first chapter of this book examines the patterns and processes in wild, unmanaged systems. Using a woodland as example, the chapter unpacks the components of the literal vertical and horizontal layers in a wild landscape. It also addresses cultural and temporal layers, edges (transitional areas), and wildness (the ability of a natural habitat to perpetuate itself).

Chapter 2 looks at relational biodiversity—the interactions of plants and wildlife in a regional ecosystem. Although we often measure biodiversity in terms of the numbers of different species present in an area, this chapter makes the case that biodiversity encompassing long-evolved interrelationships is more meaningful, more functional, and worthy of conservation and enhancement.

The third chapter answers the question, “What does your garden do for you and for the environment?” Some of the human-oriented functions that might be asked of a home landscape include the following:
  • create living spaces suitable for play, meals, entertaining
  • add beauty and sensual pleasure including color and fragrance, framing, and order
  • offer shelter and refuge, privacy and screening
  • yield sustenance through edible plantings
  • produce opportunities for storytelling and other artistic expression
  • inspire and educate by providing exposure to or immersion in natural phenomena including seasonal cycles, cycles of plant and animal growth and migration
Likewise, a home garden can be designed to serve a variety of environmental functions:
  • recharge groundwater
  • replenish atmospheric oxygen
  • sequester carbon
  • furnish shelter/cover for wildlife
  • promote a stable food web for wildlife
  • support pollinator communities
  • provide the right conditions for natural hybridization and the continuing development of biodiversity
 Because many gardeners confess to an inability to see the life present in local habitats and in their gardens, chapter 4 provides examples and illustrates strategies for developing one’s visual acuity and capacity to observe and recognize local biological diversity.

Chapter 5 applies the concepts and strategies of wild landscapes to a home garden. Drawing on personal experience, the authors look at the composition, content, functionality, and maintenance of the literal layers described in chapter 1, starting from below ground and moving up. Other themes such as managed wildness and edge dynamics (primarily a function of lateral spatial design) are addressed as appropriate within each layer, as are varying site conditions such as moisture gradients (dry, average, moist, wet), drainage (sharp well-drained to nearly anaerobic and poorly drained), pH (acidic to alkaline), and available light (full sun to dense shade). Authentically related plants and animals are shown in various settings.

Although the concepts and strategies discussed and illustrated in the book are applicable to many parts of the world, the book’s specific examples are drawn from temperate eastern North America. They integrate Rick’s conservation-based planting design and management strategies, with Doug’s vision of the roles residential gardens can play in sustaining local and regional insect and animal biodiversity. A chart at the back of the book lists selected plants and the functions they support by region, giving home gardeners ideas for getting started wherever they live.

In sum, this book addresses both the practical and ecological functions of the home landscape. It is not a how-to book. Rather it aims to provide readers with inspiration and strategies for making and maintaining truly living landscapes—gardens that are full of life and truly vital to both human needs and the needs of local and regional wildlife communities. Such gardens offer homeowners beauty at multiple scales, outdoor rooms for a variety of social functions, turf areas for kids and dogs to run and play, fragrance, and edible plants, while simultaneously meeting various ecological functions and providing cover, shelter, and sustenance for wildlife.

 

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
276 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Ginger Woolridge
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An Important Addition to Works on Native Gardening
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2014
Living Landscape is an important addition to the works on native gardening. The collaboration between Darke, a knowledgeable plantsman and designer of natural landscapes and Tallamy, an entomologist with a terrific understanding of ecosystems, is an excellent pairing.... See more
Living Landscape is an important addition to the works on native gardening. The collaboration between Darke, a knowledgeable plantsman and designer of natural landscapes and Tallamy, an entomologist with a terrific understanding of ecosystems, is an excellent pairing.

I trained as a landscape architect and have been frustrated by the gap between conservation theory at the university level and practical applications that could be helpful to the homeowner who desires a healthy landscape.

The book takes one past the concept of reducing one''s lawn to real examples of space planning and the use of plants to support diversity. Tallamy''s first book, "Bringing Nature Home", made the critical link between the survival our native bird population and available insect protein for fledgling birds. Native insects have, of course, co evolved with native plants and primarily, require our native plants to survive. So there is a very important link between the native plants and our native bird populations. He makes the equally important point that homeowners can help bring back diminishing bird populations.

The book is thoughtfully structured around design principles and ecological function. Observations of "Layers" in the wild landscape, including topics like the canopy, understory, waters edge and so on, are discussed relative to layers within the home garden. "The Art of Observation" is educational too. Significantly, among other valuable observations, Tallamy points out the importance of interrelationships of organisms, ecological function and ecological benefits for humans as well as wildlife, and the critical role of biological corridors.

Yes, the book primarily approaches the larger suburban property, but it''s principles are important to consider at any scale. Several properties are discussed. I found the authors'' observations of their properties over time to be valuable.

An important gift of The Living Landscape is to empower the important and even urgent work of the property owner with a framework. This book does not cover all of the details, but landscape are complicated. There is a helpful list of the benefits of various plants in the book.

Given the triple threat of habitat fragmentation, overpopulation of deer and invasive plants crowding out our natives, this is a well-timed publication, so thanks for your work, gentlemen.

As I write this review, The Living Landscape is no. 1 of Amazon''s Landscape Architecture titles. I will recommend and gift this book to landscape designers and home gardeners.
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Jim Anderson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantastic follow up to Bringing Nature home
Reviewed in the United States on June 28, 2014
I heard Douglas Tallamy speak at the Native Plants Conference this Spring, and I''ve been eagerly awaiting his new book since. As a professional gardener at a top US Japanese garden, as well the writer of a garden blog... See more
I heard Douglas Tallamy speak at the Native Plants Conference this Spring, and I''ve been eagerly awaiting his new book since.

As a professional gardener at a top US Japanese garden, as well the writer of a garden blog focused on creating your garden sanctuary, I don''t grow only native plants. In fact long ago, I was one of those turned off by the whole native plant movement.

I have gradually over the years been turned into a convert. I now fully recognize the value of native plants in the landscape. It was Doug''s monumentally important book Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded that solidified my evolving views of how and why I should be pursuing my career and calling.

His new book is lives up to his last.

"The Living Landscape" is more of a continuation of "Bringing Nature Home" than a replacement for it.

If his first book made the case for using native plants in the landscape, this book shows you how in a general sense. This is not a "paint by number book" for creating a native landscape, but it is a broad and detailed covering of how and why it can be done. This also is not a dumb down book for the beginning gardener. By the same token, I can''t imagine a better first book for someone looking to begin landscaping their home to read.

I recommend it without reservation.

Doug''s coauthor, Rick Darke (author of " The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest ") brings not only his writing voice but also his excellent photography. Don''t get me wrong this is a heady book with some pretty in depth concepts, but it also features an abundance of beautiful pictures. So much in fact, it almost qualifies as a Coffee table book.

Chapter 1 - Layers in the Wild Landscapes - This 74 page chapter covers looking at wild landscapes through the view of the different layers in the garden. Not only the vertical layers of the woodland but also horizontal layers where different landscape types meet and layers through time. It was a ironic that the day I posted a blog post on layers in the woodland, that I received this book in the mail that explained the concept I was trying to communicate in a more in depth way.

Chapter 2 - The Community of Living Organisms - This 15 page chapters basically sums up most of the important concepts of the 1st half of "Bringing Nature Home". It will be a worthwhile review for those who have read that book, while readers who have not should read it slowly and take in the important message it presents.

Chapter 3 - The Ecological functions of the Garden - 11 pages. Another short but important chapter. It helps to broaden our view of how our landscapes can provide benefits other than just looking pretty. It covers topics such as species conservation, carbon sequestration, moderating temperature, watershed protection, air filtration, etc.

Chapter 4 - The Art of Observation - This 10 page chapter could be better in my mind. I like the color examples given, but I feel more depth and breadth of this topic could be covered. It is still worthwhile to most readers.

Chapter 5 - Applying Layers to the Home Garden - This massive 156 page chapter is the meat of the book for people wanting examples on how the concepts in the book apply to their landscapes. There are lots of examples and beautiful pictures of applying the information in the 1st chapter on Layers especially to the author''s landscapes. Again, it does NOT give Step by Step instructions so some people may be disappointed here. There is enough meat in the examples, that practical advice can be extracted and applied to your landscape. It may take a bit of study though.

The last part of the book may be the most helpful for some people. It includes a listing of plants and their different benefits and uses by region in the US. The Regions are Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest, Midwest and Mountain states, Pacific Northwest, and New England. These lists mostly cover natives, but some include exotic plants mainly to point out those that provide little value to our ecosystems. Overall the lists are good but I have a few comments about specific regions.

Mid-Atlantic - This is the only one that is personally done by the authors. The other regions were written by other experts. This region gets the most detail and if I lived in this region I would be thrilled by the detail of this list.

Midwest and Mountain states (hmm, Indiana and Colorado has same plant list?) - This list was written by an author of a book on Ohio birds. It looks pretty accurate and detailed for those of us in the Midwest. I am not quite so sure I would be happy with this information if I lived in the Mountain states.

Overall this is a fantastic follow up to Bringing Nature home. It definitely stands on it''s own. If it is viewed as an extension of that book, it is a lovely and worthwhile addition to any gardener or landscaper, or just anyone interested in preserving our living landscape.
101 people found this helpful
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Lily
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Treatise on biodiversity
Reviewed in the United States on November 21, 2016
I love the idea of this book. Natural plants designed to replicate the natural ecosystem supports native wildlife and creates great beauty. The authors spend an enormous amount of content making this point. Frankly, if you are already leaning towards this view, you do... See more
I love the idea of this book. Natural plants designed to replicate the natural ecosystem supports native wildlife and creates great beauty. The authors spend an enormous amount of content making this point. Frankly, if you are already leaning towards this view, you do not need this book to convince you.

Unfortunately, they do little to help others create a living landscape. The authors repeatedly highlight examples from their own yard. I found myself becoming became less and less inspired with each narrow example.

The only help toward building your own native landscape are a series of addenda with native plants and functions. The tables are in broad US regions (despite the fact that the authors negate such categories in the text) and are written by outside authors. The tables are included as pictures and cannot be enlarged. Thus, reading them is somewhat like deciphering blurry sandskrit. The functions are cited as symbols. Thus, caterpillar for example tells you caterpillars eat or cocoon here. It does not specify which caterpillar nor say if the tree or shrub hosts one kind or many (the importance of which is well made in the text.) This vague information is not what is needed to truly design a living landscape.

The book could have been so much better. With detailed plant information, It could have been the reference. Instead it is merely a treatise on biodiversity. For that alone it is worthy of three stars.
41 people found this helpful
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Janet Allen
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Inspiration and strategies for creating a living landscape
Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2014
I have been a fan of Doug Tallamy''s book Bringing Nature Home since it was published. It changed the way I thought about the plants in my yard and has guided my choice of plants. I''ve been looking forward to this new book since I heard that it was being written. Finally a... See more
I have been a fan of Doug Tallamy''s book Bringing Nature Home since it was published. It changed the way I thought about the plants in my yard and has guided my choice of plants. I''ve been looking forward to this new book since I heard that it was being written. Finally a "how-to" book for creating the entire landscape, not just the individual plants within it! But as the introduction says, "It is not a how-to book." And after all, given the diversity of people''s yards and personal preferences, a cookbook approach could hardly work.

Instead, it "aims to provide readers with inspiration and strategies for making and maintaining truly living landscapes..." In this it has succeeded. It has given me many new ideas to think about, has provided many images of the natural world as well as home landscapes to serve as guides, and has strengthened my understanding of the importance of what we do with our own yards.

I happen to live in the ecoregion pictured in the book, so it''s especially useful for me, but plant lists are provided for each region in the country and indicate both the ecological and landscape functions of each plant. (Even so, it might not be as useful for someone in the Southwest, since it''s so different from the examples used throughout the book.)

Like Bringing Nature Home, this book has further extended my thinking about my home landscaping, and I highly recommend it.
51 people found this helpful
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aiwf
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Best Book for Ecosystem Design
Reviewed in the United States on August 8, 2015
Living Landscape is the best native plant book I have read. Been a California native plant gardener for years, selecting plants with the intention of supporting my local ecosystem (bees, butterflies, moths, caterpillars and birds – both local and migratory –... See more
Living Landscape is the best native plant book I have read.

Been a California native plant gardener for years, selecting plants with the intention of supporting my local ecosystem (bees, butterflies, moths, caterpillars and birds – both local and migratory – we''re on the pacific flyway), reducing water use and planting native edible plants.

As good as Doug Tallamy''s Bringing Nature Home was, Living Landscape is better because it addresses design, while adding all the info – quantitative info! - about how to design a garden to support local ecosystems.

You want birds? You need caterpillars to feed adult and baby birds. Living Landscape has the numbers of caterpillars needed – 9000 per baby bird clutch! So get out there and plant native plants because caterpillars cannot eat leaves from imported plants. I planted blueberries (native to the mid-Atlantic states) – blueberry leaves don''t get eaten by my local California caterpillars.

For those who plan to select plants based on how many caterpillar species that plant supports, Doug Tallamy and his graduate students have their quantitative data available for free in an easy to use excel spreadsheet. This data optimizes my garden''s ecosystem – and can optimize your garden''s ecosystem.

http://www.bringingnaturehome.net/what-to-plant.html

Living Landscape is downright gorgeous. Full color photos of natives from the mid-Atlantic states. Scented azaleas and scented rhododendrons are pictured in all their glory in this book. Sigh.

If you like Living Landscape''s ecosystem approach to gardening, then consider a few additional books (below) that provide more detail about pollinators and human edible and medicinal uses (ethanobotany).

To support local pollinators, Gordon Frankie''s California Bees and Blooms is an excellent book on California pollinators, including how best to plant to feed and house them. Gordon Frankie has a website with an easy to use plant list. I''ve spoken with him – the plants that he recommends are not just top pollinator plants, but also survive well in gardens (yes, I''m looking at you deerweed. I planted 7 of you and 2 of you survived. Deerweed is much loved by bees, but the plant has a high death rate in cultivation)

http://www.amazon.com/California-Bees-Blooms-Gardeners-Naturalists/

http://www.helpabee.org/best-bee-plants-for-california.html

The fabulous excel-like reference at the end of Living Landscape for all the US areas (except California and Hawaii – Hawaii desperately needs more natives planted – your bird population is crashing) includes some limited human edible native plant references.

The best reference book for human edible and medicinal US native plants is Native American Ethnobotany, by Daniel Moerman. You need Native American Ethnobotany to select the delicious natives you will plant, as well as to know what is safe to eat during the zombie apocalypse. Daniel Moerman''s website, with up to date info on species missing from the book, is available at this link.

http://herb.umd.umich.edu/

Native American Ethnobotany

Unlike Living Landscape, Native American Ethnobotany has no pictures and has no map of the Native American tribes, so you need to know which tribes'' ethnobotany you want to understand and you want to make sure you see a color picture of the plant before you eat any of it. For LA, Native American Ethnobotany''s info on the Tongva and Gabrielino tribes from the LA area is limited.

USDA''s James Duke created an ethnobotany database. This is useful for additional, modern (not historical, as in the ethnobotany research) medical uses.
http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/

James Duke''s gorgeous retirement garden is here
http://thegreenfarmacygarden.com/jim-and-peggy-duke/

Every state has a native plant society. Native plant societies have nice people, great garden tours and often share seeds and cuttings, so consider joining your local native plant society. California native plant nurseries are listed on the California native plant society (CNPS) website.
http://www.cnps.org/cnps/grownative/nurseries.php#s_coastal

Wild Ones is a Wisconsin-based native plant and pollinator support group. Wild Ones support the Xerces Society Million Pollinator Garden Challenge.
http://www.wildones.org/

http://millionpollinatorgardens.org/

One of the joys of gardening with natives includes the opportunity to participate in the US NPN National Phenology Network''s citizen science project. USANPN is studying when our natives bloom and what birds, insects and other animals eat and inhabit those plants, so please consider adding your garden to USANPN.
https://www.usanpn.org/

If fireflies are (or could be) in your area, there is a firefly citizen science project identifying where fireflies still exist. Native plants plus leaf litter = fireflies. Your (east of the Mississippi river) native plant garden could support fireflies – fireflies are gorgeous!
https://www.clemson.edu/public/rec/baruch/firefly_project/\

For California native plant gardeners, Las Pilitas nursery has a wonderful website with California native plant pictures and info about the plant''s water, sun and soil needs, as well as how to support specific birds, including hummingbirds.
http://www.laspilitas.com/

Theodore Payne is an excellent seed source for California native plants. They also offer native plants for sale and have a beautiful demonstration garden.
http://theodorepayne.org/

For Los Angelenos who missed the ethnobotany info they need in Moerman''s book, a combo of the books below are useful.
Foraging California – Christopher Nyerges Foraging California: Finding, Identifying, And Preparing Edible Wild Foods In California (Foraging Series)
Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West – Gregory Tilford
California Foraging - Judith Larner Lowry California Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Evergreen Huckleberries to Wild Ginger
22 people found this helpful
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E. Davis
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Inspirational
Reviewed in the United States on June 28, 2014
I have been a Landscape Architect and garden designer in the SE US for 35 years now. This book should not only change the way we think about designing our gardens but how we think about our role in forming them. I especially like Chapter 4 "The Art of Observation". Thanks... See more
I have been a Landscape Architect and garden designer in the SE US for 35 years now. This book should not only change the way we think about designing our gardens but how we think about our role in forming them. I especially like Chapter 4 "The Art of Observation". Thanks to the authors/editors for including a quick reference chart illustrating the ecological functions of several native plants for the SE (by Dr Larry Mellichamp). I will recommend this book to all my future garden design students.
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Cathie
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This is a book I have been waiting for...
Reviewed in the United States on August 6, 2014
Here''s a test: ask any householder about their "landscape" and I will bet you get a list of flowering plants and possibly some small shrubs and a particularly lovely tree or two. Speaking broadly, almost since the time humans established permanent dwellings, plants have... See more
Here''s a test: ask any householder about their "landscape" and I will bet you get a list of flowering plants and possibly some small shrubs and a particularly lovely tree or two. Speaking broadly, almost since the time humans established permanent dwellings, plants have been seen as decoration. That''s it. Eye candy.
We gardeners in western South Dakota remember the truly stirring comments of Doug Tallamy, Ph.D. who spoke to us about his experience and philosophy expressed in his book, Bringing Nature Home (which should be on everyone''s bookshelf). He suggested broadening the traditional definition of `landscape'' to describe an organic, vibrant, vigorous, ecological, living whole. We do this, he said, by understanding the importance of and support of all the life systems in our environments. Thus we are encouraged to accept, for example, the important place of myriad insects to feed the birds and native plants to draw those insects, to put into play the vigor of living species that co-evolved. The great truth is the realization that we cannot garden selectively...everything in our landscape has a place and is connected for the health of the whole. This is easy to say; it is hard for some of us to do.
Timber Press has just released a book by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy, The Living Landscape. Let me state without hyperbole: this is the best gardening book I have ever read. Darke is a landscape consultant who combines art, photography, ecology and stewardship of living landscapes with years of experience as Curator of Plants at Longwood Gardens. He has partnered with Tallamy who brings passion and experience in many areas of ecology and whose research, according to the author notes, "...is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities." There it all is: the crucial connection of insects, plants and diversity of animal communities in our gardens.
Although Darke''s photographs are stunningly beautiful, this is not JUST a coffee table book. The Living Landscape describes, illustrates and promotes landscape "layers" and their functions as horticulture, as botany, as ecology, as biology, and as a challenge for educated stewardship.
Chapters titled "The Community of Living Organisms: Why Interrelationships Matter More Than Numbers" and "The Ecological Functions of Gardens: What Landscapes Do" including "Applying Layers to the Home Garden" are bookended by discussion of the various layers, in the wild and in our home gardens - tree canopies, herbaceous plants, wet edges (stream and pond sides), the dynamic edge which we here in the Black Hills would call the forest interface, meadows and grasslands and layers of time and community and more.
The authors have included comprehensive lists of selected plants for all areas, including 13 pages of plants for the Midwest and mountain states. The book delivers solid scientific information based on the vast experiences of the authors.
The bonus for beginning gardeners is that the information is delivered with the authors'' passion for understanding how landscapes really work and illustrated by photographs that are as instructive and applicable for persons on the East coast as they are for those of us in the Upper Midwest. This works because, in my view, principles - ethical principles - are illustrated, not simply sites.
The bonus for experienced gardeners is that the authors lead with experience, research, and science, and in the process, at least in my case, deliver hearty portions of opportunities to experience reverence for life, a phrase brought into public use by the famous polymath, Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who received the Nobel Peace prize in 1952. In `Civilization and Ethics'' he opined that observing the world (landscapes) around us "...affords me my fundamental principle of morality...that good consists in maintaining, assisting and enhancing life..."
This book, while teaching us, surely, calls us to expand and embrace a greater view of Nature, much as Aldo Leopold did in Sand County Almanac.
This is a book I have been waiting for. It broadens our definition of a garden, any garden. It empowers the gardener with new vision, understanding and vocabulary and places him smack in the center of the ecological dynamic to ponder this question: as gardeners do we only decorate or do we also understand, support, and appreciate the living layers of our gardens?
Cathie Draine
18 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very informative with wonderful description and photos.
Reviewed in the United States on September 17, 2021
I learned quite a bit from this book. I''ve been slowly trying to transform my property into a native wild scape little by little for years. The description and photos in the book are very informative. I especially like the selected plant tables in the books that are... See more
I learned quite a bit from this book. I''ve been slowly trying to transform my property into a native wild scape little by little for years. The description and photos in the book are very informative. I especially like the selected plant tables in the books that are broken down by region. I see myself using this book as a reference for years to come when planning changes from invasive and lawn to native and benefiting to wildlife.
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Top reviews from other countries

LoveToRead
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Inspiring
Reviewed in Canada on August 7, 2014
Very nice book. Thoughtful in it''s approach. Full of good ideas that can be easily implemented to make your garden more wildlife and native- plant friendly. As I am currently ridding our garden of invasive species and trying to replace them with more beneficial ones, I...See more
Very nice book. Thoughtful in it''s approach. Full of good ideas that can be easily implemented to make your garden more wildlife and native- plant friendly. As I am currently ridding our garden of invasive species and trying to replace them with more beneficial ones, I found this book very helpful. Great photos of plants in different seasons but in the same garden give a good idea what to expect when using them in your plot. Nice charts provide ecological and landscape functions for many plants and makes a great reference. I gave it four stars as I live outside of the US, and therefore the Reference Charts (Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, Mountain States etc.) are less useful to me as my planting reality doesn''t quite correspond. It''s therefore a bit more challenging to figure out what would work in my climate. However, so far I have found some that will work quite well as they are also native in my area, and the ideas presented continue to inspire. Also very nice that the book isn''t preachy about using natives only, but much more pragmatic in the application of right plant in right place for right purpose.
4 people found this helpful
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amosking
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very Disappointing shipment
Reviewed in Canada on April 5, 2021
This is an excellent book but the one I received appeared used and damaged before shipping. For a book of this beauty that deserves a home on a master gardener''s coffee table, I would only recommend this book if it was sold and shipped by Amazon.
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no name
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The book shows excellent examples of how to achieve a better way to ...
Reviewed in Canada on August 7, 2014
A must-read for everyone who is concerned about the loss of biodiversity, the environment in general. The book shows excellent examples of how to achieve a better way to landscaping and gardening.
2 people found this helpful
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Sandy G
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Changed the way I think about gardening
Reviewed in Canada on January 19, 2016
Fabulous book - it''s changed what the meaning of "tending a garden" for me and opened a whole new and richer concept of creating beauty and life around me. Highly recommended.
One person found this helpful
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nwl
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Too polemical
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2014
The polemics here are so very overwhelming that at times they override evidence, or even logic. This is unfortunate. The book is really satisfactory in some ways, and does have something valuable to say, if only its intolerant attitude didn''t bring almost everything in...See more
The polemics here are so very overwhelming that at times they override evidence, or even logic. This is unfortunate. The book is really satisfactory in some ways, and does have something valuable to say, if only its intolerant attitude didn''t bring almost everything in question.
One person found this helpful
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