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The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Gardenby Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy
Synopses & Reviews
A home garden is often seen as separate from the natural world surrounding it. In truth, it is actually just one part of a larger landscape that is made up of many living layers. And the replacement of the rich layers of native flora with turf grass greatly diminishes a garden’s biological diversity and ecological function. The Living Landscape seeks to reverse this trend by showing gardeners how to create a landscape that is full of life. Written by Rick Darke and Douglas W. Tallamy, two of the most important voices in sustainability and horticulture, it is the definitive guide to designing a beautiful, biodiverse home garden. The authors first explain the layers of the landscape and what role the plants within them plays in the larger environment, from providing berries for birds, food for bugs, or a place for bees to pollinate. The authors then put this information into context and offer design strategies to implement in a home garden. Helpful charts suggest plants, including natives and nonnatives, for each region. Douglas W. Tallamy’s award-winning Bringing Nature Home revealed the pressing need for a biodiverse home landscape. In a gorgeously illustrated, inspirational, and practical way, The Living Landscape supports the important message by showing gardeners how to make it happen.
"Landscape designer Darke (The American Woodland Garden) and ecologist and entomologist Tallamy (Bringing Nature Home) give meaningful definition to the idea of biodiversity, particularly as it relates to a suburban garden. The book addresses the question: is biodiversity about 'just gardening with native plants?' The answer is no; biodiverse gardening means giving native plants a functional and life-giving role in sustaining gardens. The authors highlight the less appreciated but critical role that natives can play, including cooling, tapping into ground water, and providing shelter for wildlife. They also assert that because suburban sprawl has created profound environmental change, 'It's time to stop worrying about where plants come from and instead focus on how they function in today's ecology.' Their book focuses on long-term strategies for regenerating depleted soil. They dispel the false dichotomy that a garden can be either all natives and therefore healthy or filled with exotic plants and not naturally sustainable. Including 500 color photos, the book offers guidance for creating beautiful landscapes that will be durable and 'support life without sacrificing aesthetics.' (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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. Richly illustrated with superb photographs 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 is full of life and that fulfills both human needs and the needs of wildlife communities.
About the Author
Rick Darke is a landscape design consultant and widely published author and photographer focused on regional landscape design. He has received the Scientific Award of the American Horticulture Society, and two of his books, The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses and The American Woodland Garden, have earned book awards. He lives in Landenberg, Pennsylvania.
Douglas W. Tallamy is Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities.
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