The humane gardener Nurturing a backyard habitat for wildlife

Nancy Lawson, 1970-

Book - 2017

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 635.926/Lawson Due Oct 20, 2022
New York : Princeton Architectural Press [2017]
First edition
Physical Description
223 pages : color illustrations ; 21 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Main Author
Nancy Lawson, 1970- (author)
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  • Safety zones: create sanctuary in a treacherous world
  • A harvest for all: share the bounty through peaceful coexistence
  • The gift that keeps on giving: encourage life in the decay.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Many gardeners divide local flora and fauna into two categories: beneficials and pests. Journalist and naturalist Lawson, author of the "Humane Backyard" column for the Humane Society of the United States in Washington, DC, challenges readers to erase this distinction. She goes beyond the usual advice to avoid pesticides, encouraging gardeners to plant native plants, let native weeds grow, and welcome all wildlife even when it eats the plants. In her garden, "Only two things are unwelcome: chemicals and invasive vegetation known to supplant wildlife habitat." Lawson makes her case for suburban backyard as sanctuary with well-written prose that is never shrill or overly sanctimonious. More persuasive than practical, this book includes some tips for protecting and creating habitat for insects, birds, and other wildlife, as well as lists of books and websites that offer more information. She also includes short profiles of gardeners who have embraced the principles she espouses. This gorgeously written, well-argued title will help backyard gardeners see all creatures, from insects to elk, as visitors to be welcomed rather than pests to be removed. VERDICT Highly recommended for gardeners at all levels in all regions.—Janet Crum, Northern Arizona Univ. Lib., Flagstaff Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

This color-illustrated gardening guide for general readers shows how home gardeners can coexist with wildlife and insects. Drawing on ideas from science and horticulture, it gives suggestions on creating wildlife habitats, using native plants, providing nesting sites, and removing hazards such as pesticides. One chapter is dedicated to natural pest control and coexisting with pests. Color photos are included throughout. Annotation ©2017 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A philosophical and practical guide for the gardener who hopes to wants to create a backyard garden in harmony with nature.Why and how to welcome wildlife to our backyards. An eloquent plea for compassion and respect for all species, journalist and gardener Nancy Lawson uses engaging anecdotes and inspired advice, profiles of home gardeners throughout the United States, and interviews with scientists and horticulturalists to demonstrate how we can apply the broader lessons of ecology to our own outdoor spaces.A book for gardens of all shapes, sizes, and budgets. Includes detailed chapters that address planting for wildlife by choosing native species; providing habitats that shelter baby animals, as well as birds, bees, and butterflies; creating safe zones in the garden; cohabiting with creatures often regarded as pests; letting nature be your garden designer; and encouraging natural processes and evolution in the garden. Includes a Getting Started section complete with general information, suggested further reading for specific regions, native plant information and regional databases, and native plant retail sources and suppliers.Who is the humane gardener? The humane gardener practices compassionate landscaping. They attract wildlife and peacefully resolve conflicts with all the creatures that may inhabit their garden. They see the garden as a meeting place for all creatures, not a territory to be defended.