“Handle a book as a bee does a flower, extract its sweetness but do not damage it.” ~John Muir
One of the joys of gardening is noticing and appreciating those critters that visit the garden. Observing and capturing critters in images is a wonderful past time that I find joyful and peaceful.
But the greatest joy for me was when I realized the that the critters who visited were not a nuisance eating my plants or annoying, buzzing and biting. Instead as I read and learned, I found that the critters who came brought benefits to my garden, and chief among these beneficial critters were the pollinators.
Much has been written recently about the plight of the monarchs and the bees especially showing us how chemicals and loss of habitat have greatly affected them. The decline of pollinators speaks to the health of our environment. And without pollinators we can kiss most of our flowers and food supply goodbye.
So I thought it would be good to find out more about how to help our pollinators. I bought this book to give me more information about our pollinators, and I thought it would make a great book to review. The book is written by the folks at the Xerces Society:
The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. For forty years, the Society has been at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs.
If you don’t know much about these folks, they are worth exploring. Their website acts as a resource providing links to recent research and information to help you better understand what is going on with pollinators and other invertebrates.
I am joining in with Holley’s Garden Book Review which usually happens on the 20th.
Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide, Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies
Author: The Xerces Society
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC (February 26, 2011)
Amazon Price: $19.96
In A Few Words
This book is a comprehensive guide to help anyone who wants to protect the native pollinators of North America. It is broken into four parts: Pollinators and Pollination, Taking Action, Bees of North America and Creating a Pollinator-Friendly Landscape.
The color illustrations provide additional information to the many interesting side notes throughout Part 1, and help to give the reader the reasons why we should care about pollinators, who they are and the many threats that plague them.
In Part 2 you are given strategies that will help pollinators; in particular the Four Steps to Success: recognizing existing pollinator habitat, protecting that habitat, providing new habitat and managing the land.
The full-color photographs of the most abundant and important native bees are the highlight of Part 3. You will also learn how bees are named. Each bee has its own page filled with info regarding foraging, nests, identification and conservation concerns.
The last section is a gardeners delight with sample gardens for backyards, rooftops, school yards, parks and community gardens. There is a regional plant list and a section on wildflowers that act as pollen and nectar plants for pollinators. And there is even a section on great non-native plants to use for pollinators. Also in Part 4 you will find a section on butterflies and what are the best host/nectar plants to include in your garden to attract specific butterflies.
What I Liked
I really liked the thoroughness of the book. Each section was well laid out, made for interesting reading and was easy to follow and digest. The information provided will help anyone trying to grow flowers, fruit, veggies or anyone who just wants to help the planet and pollinators anywhere in North America.
As they say in the Foreword:
This book is much more than a resource on how to improve habitat for native pollinators. It is a step-by-step guide for changing our stewardship of the earth; it is a tangible way for people of all ages to make a difference.
There are so many other things to like about this book. But I think the best part was that while they strongly encourage using local native plants for your region, they also show the benefits of some non-natives and “weeds”. And they encourage you to plant with care as there are better non-native choices especially for tough places like roadsides, farm cover crops and island areas in parking lots.
The section on creating a better habitat for pollinators is interesting. There are many DIY nesting structures, educational activities and loads of resources. There is even a section for farmers and pollinator conservation; green spaces like parks and golf courses and natural areas.
Not So Much
This book is a fabulous guide to everything you could want and should want to know about pollinators. That being said, it is a lot of info to digest so it is best to read it in sections. Also the bees, butterflies and other pollinators are indigenous to North America so those gardeners in other parts of the world may not find this guide as useful. Although the basic info and garden/plant sections, I think, are useful for anyone.
If you have been looking for one reference to help you provide habitats for bees, butterflies and other pollinators then this is that book. Whether, you want to increase your crop/food production, have a great flower garden or wildlife habitat you will learn all the basics for success with this book.
If this book does nothing else, it will provide you with the essential information about why we need pollinators and what we all must do to make sure the threats they are facing are reduced and soon. We cannot live without these beautiful creatures. And I strongly urge people to read this book, pass it along and make sure they share it with their children, their neighbors, their schools, businesses and local governments.
“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.”
― Emily Dickinson
I am really behind reading blog posts. I have about 250 posts to read, and I promise I will be catching up this week. Thanks for your patience if I haven’t been around in a while.
Next up on the blog: Monday will bring another Wildflower Tale. November is right around the corner. Fall is whizzing by in my garden.
I wrote a guest post over at Vision and Verb. I hope you will visit this wonderful website of women writers.
I am linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.
I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my latest post on the now.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.
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