Monday, 17 June 2013

Review: 'Nature-Friendly Garden' by Marlene A. Condon

Nature-Friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and People, by Marlene A. Condon, 2006, Stackpole Books, $19.95, softbound, 152 pages. Category/Genre: gardening. Cover: friendly. Where we got it: borrowed it. Where you can get it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble. 

Filled with colour photos taken from the author's personal collection, this book gives you all the information you need to create a wildlife haven. 

The author states that a garden which is nature-friendly should have limited lawn space. Instead, trees, vines, shrubs, and flowers should border the yard and become focal points within the yard. 

Although you will always attract wildlife you didn't intend to attract, you may utilise certain plants to focus on attracting the wildlife you would like to see. To this end, Condon has a list of plants that attract wildlife; here she gives the Latin name as well as the common name of the plant, briefly describes the plant, and mentions what wildlife that plant is likely to draw. She also warns that some of these plants may be considered invasive. She addresses this issue in Chapter Three. 

Condon is a big believer in keeping away from pesticides and other chemicals that may harm wildlife. She has a chapter devoted to ways of dealing with problematic wildlife without the use of such methods. For example, you may allow skunks and moles to deal with problematic Japanese beetles, and black rat snakes will help reduce the number of your voles. 

Another very handy chapter is the one titled 'Accessible Gardening.' In this chapter, Condon relates her difficulties with gardening once her rheumatoid arthritis kicked in. She gives practical advice for gardening more easily and more safely, thereby helping those in a similar condition. 

There's also a chapter on feeding and sheltering wildlife (yes, that's a screech owl nesting in a bird box on the cover). Condon advises making or buying bird boxes in the winter so you won't be contending with bees and wasps. You must never use a bird or bat house out of pressure-treated wood; this type of wood has been treated with powerful pesticides that are dangerous if ingested or absorbed through the skin. 

If you like this one, try: 'Birds and Blooms' magazine; 'Birds and Blooms Extra' magazine; 'Mammals' by William H. Burt and Richard P. Grossenheider; 'Eastern Birds' by Roger Tory Peterson; and 'Eastern Butterflies' by Paul A. Opler and Vichai Malikul. 

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