I go to books and to nature as a bee goes to the flower, for a nectar that I can make into my own honey.
I have loved books from a very early age, and cherished each one I brought home from the library. But it was when I actually owned my first book, that the addiction was complete. I would read and re-read each page until they were worn thin.
Then when I started buying my own books, the addiction turned into an obsession. So much so that I had piles and piles of books everywhere, mostly mysteries. I knew I would never read them all, but I couldn’t help myself, and I would just buy more and more.
There is a word in Japanese for this obsession. It is called tsundoku (tsoon-doh-koo). I fit the description perfectly- buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves or floors or nightstands.
And just like books, I have equally adored and been obsessed with nature, flowers and digging in the dirt from a very early age. So it is no surprise that my most recent (within the last 5-7 years) book acquisitions have been about gardening. And with my passion for native plants and wildflowers, I have especially loved reading books on these topics.
You can imagine how thrilled I was when blogger friend Heather Holm@Restoring the Landscape with Native Plants contacted me about a new book she was writing dealing with pollinators of native plants. She asked if she could send me a copy to read and review. Without any hesitation I said, ‘Yes’. I love reading Heather’s blog, and have learned so much from it, that I knew I would learn from her book as well. And Heather gladly included a copy of her book to be given away. More on that at the end of the post.
Every year I do a special book review for Earth Day. I like to pick a particularly important book that talks about how we can and should do our part to help our home, the Earth. This year I couldn’t think of a more fitting book to review, for Earth Day, than Heather’s especially given the plight of our pollinators, in particular our native pollinators.
Pollinators of Native Plants: Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants
Author: Heather Holm
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Pollination Press LLC (January 1, 2014)
Amazon Price: $22.95
In A Few Words
Heather Holm is a landscape designer and horticulturist who transformed her suburban home in Minnesota using only native plants. Her expertise, with native plants, runs 15 years where she has been using, studying and photographing these plants. And during her observations she encountered the world of insects. She focused on those insects that visited her native plants which in turn led to her discovery of how native plants support wildlife.
Heather’s study of native plants and pollinators led to her writing this book. As Heather says:
With its publication, my goal is to inspire readers to plant for, observe, attract and foster pollinators in their landscape, ultimately helping to sustain pollinator populations.
The book is divided into six chapters, the first three exclusively about pollination, pollinators and pollinator conservation. Some of the topics include the different floral resources (pollen, nectar, resin and oil), flower features, floral visitors, general pollinator types, where they nest and how they collect pollen.
The next three chapters deal with the native plants, specifically those that are found in the prairie, woodland edge and wetland edge. Heather has included over 65 perennial native plants found throughout the Northeast, Great Lakes, Midwest and southern Canada. Each native plant profile includes: flowering times, habitat, range, notes on the plants, notes on the insects that visit the plant, plant/flower information, complementary plants and plant-insect interactions showing which pollinators usually visit the specific plant.
The last section of the book has extensive references: websites, numerous charts dealing with flowering timelines and insect-native plant interactions, a visual glossary, information about bees, garden plans for different types of pollinators and soil types and a visual index.
What I Liked
What stands out first for me are the gorgeous color photographs of native plants and pollinators. These are a great resource in and of themselves. Then there are the scores of wonderful illustrations that show such things as how pollination occurs and what a ground bee nest looks like.
Next I really liked all the information that Heather provides not just about the plants and pollinators, but their back story. It makes for fascinating reading when you get an up close and personal introduction to how pollination really happens and who is doing the pollinating. Who knew that plants gave more than pollen and nectar. I had no idea that some plants excreted oils and resins that bees used to line their nests.
I was glad Heather included the Pollinator Conservation section. This section, in my opinion, is the most important part of the book. If we are to help pollinators, we need to understand the issues that impede them, and what we can easily do to assist them to thrive.
The book also contains a couple of pages that helps the reader know how the book is set up. It is rare to see this type of guide, and I appreciated it so I could fully utilize the information in the book.
And the information in the resources section was equally fascinating. I really loved the charts: when the flowers in each section blooms so you can compare them all at once; the illustrated glossary that shows different roots, leaves and fruits as well as bee anatomy; and the pictures and information about many different pollinators. The best bonus for the gardener is the garden designs included that attract specific pollinators.
This is such a comprehensive book that there was nothing I did not like about this book. It is important to note that the pollinators and plants are specific to certain regions so this book may not be useful if you live in the Pacific Northwest or the desert regions.
The book is very useful for anyone who is looking to add more native plants, thinking about adding native plants for the first time or is looking for more information about attracting pollinators.
And this is the perfect book to learn more about the pollinators in your garden and the vital role they play in our lives. As anyone who grows veggies and fruits will tell you, pollinators are necessary for our food supply and livelihood. And if you are a flower lover, then you have many visitors stopping by to sip a bit of nectar or spread pollen to keep your flowers growing. Without the pollinators, you can forget about having many flowers.
When the flower blooms, the bees come uninvited. ~Sri Ramakrishna
Earth Day Pledge
I was contacted recently by RedEnvelope about their #redgoesgreen Give Back to the Earth Awareness Project. They want to spread awareness, about the idea of “giving back to the Earth,” by asking bloggers to post their Earth Day pledge on their blogs for their readers to then do the same in a pay-it-forward fashion. In other words, what are you going to do/would want others to maybe do that would in some way, big or small, give back to the Earth? I wholeheartedly agreed to participate.
So here is my pledge-I will be adding more natives this year again and keeping my pledge of no chemicals in the garden by gardening organically.
I am encouraging folks to also do their part for their native pollinators especially by not using chemicals in your gardens and adding more native plants for native pollinators.
I hope you will join me in my pledge. And if you want to be part of the #redgoesgreen Give Back to the Earth Awareness Project, just Tweet your post using the #redgoesgreen. I will also be posting to Facebook with the same hashtag. I might even dust off my Twitter account.
To win a copy of Heather’s book simply leave a comment telling me :
- what your Earth Day pledge will be.
- If you do not have one, let me know about your favorite pollinators
- or native plants
- or simply just say hello.
A name will be drawn at random. I will close the giveaway on Sunday, April 27th at 6pm. The winner will be contacted by email and announced in my post on April 28th.
Next up on the blog: Thursday I hope to have another Simply The Best Natives post.
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 Tuesday.
I can also be found blogging once a month at Vision and Verb. I will be posting again on April 30th.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.
I am also joining in I Heart Macro with Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.
All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2014. Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.