Bringing Nature Home
How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our GardensBook - 2007
There is an unbreakable link between native plant species and native wildlife -- native insects cannot, or will not, eat alien plants. When native plants disappear, the insects disappear, impoverishing the food source for birds and other animals. In many parts of the world, habitat destruction has been so extensive that local wildlife is in crisis and may be headed toward extinction.
Bringing Nature Home has sparked a national conversation about the link between healthy local ecosystems and human well-being, and the new paperback edition -- with an expanded resource section and updated photos -- will help broaden the movement. By acting on Douglas Tallamy's practical recommendations, everyone can make a difference.
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When designing a butterfly garden, you need two types of plants: species that provide nectar for adults and species that are host plants for butterfly larvae. Butterflies do not lay their eggs on any old plant. An excellent group of plants for butterflies are the milkweeds - butterfly weed, common milkweed, and swamp milkweed. Also: coneflowers and black-eyed susans (rudbeckia species), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Joe-Pye weed, native violets, virginia creeper, oak trees, sweet gum, native viburnums.
Use native plants, because alien species in our gardens are often so nutritionally unavailable to the other members of the garden community that they might as well not be there at all.
By favouring native plants over aliens in the suburban landscape, gardeners can do much to sustain the biodiversity that has been one of this country’s richest assets. Native plants support and produce more insects than alien plants and there more numbers and species of other animals. A healthy woodlot is a collection of plants and animals - producers and consumers - that are more or less in balance.
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