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The California Wildlife Habitat Garden: How to Attract Bees, Butterflies, Birds, and Other Animals

Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    The California Wildlife Habitat Garden
    Book Description:

    This attractive, practical guide explains how to transform backyard gardens into living ecosystems that are not only enjoyable retreats for humans, but also thriving sanctuaries for wildlife. Beautifully illustrated with full-color photographs, this book provides easy-to-follow recommendations for providing food, cover, and water for birds, bees, butterflies, and other small animals. Emphasizing individual creativity over conventional design, Bauer asks us to consider the intricate relationships between plants and wildlife and our changing role as steward, rather than manipulator, of these relationships. In an engaging narrative that endorses simple and inexpensive methods of wildlife habitat gardening, Nancy Bauer discusses practices such as recycling plant waste on site, using permeable pathways, growing regionally appropriate plants, and avoiding chemical fertilizers and insecticides. She suggests ways of attracting pollinators through planting choices and offers ideas for building water sources and shelters for wildlife. A plant resource guide, tips for propagating plants, seasonal plants for hummingbirds, and host plants for butterflies round outThe California Wildlife Habitat Garden, making it an indispensable primer for those about to embark on creating their own biologically diverse, environmentally friendly garden.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95350-5
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. viii-ix)
  4. Why Garden for Wildlife?
    (pp. xi-xv)

    As a child I was lucky to have Nature as a friend. The long, smooth branch of an old sycamore that grew at the edge of our neighborhood creek was a favorite childhood place to mull things over. Milkweed grew in nearby fields and undeveloped lots, their fascinating seedpods leaking silky threads of dark seeds in the fall that floated off with the wind. Fat toads, butterflies, and fireflies were plentiful, though they were much harder to find when I returned with my daughters many years later. My love for Nature, for plants and wild animals, began in that midwestern...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Growing a Wildlife Garden
    (pp. 1-31)

    What is your personal vision of the perfect garden? Does it come from a childhood memory? A photo spread in a gardening magazine? A botanical garden you’ve visited? Though our visions may differ, for decades the American landscape of lawn, trimmed shrubs, and neat flowerbeds has been the standard for most homeowners throughout the country. There is a new twenty-first-century vision of gardening afoot, however, that is quietly and steadily gaining momentum. This new paradigm views the garden as a living ecosystem rather than merely as outdoor decoration. It recognizes the intricate relationships between plants and wildlife and our changing...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Bird Habitat: From Quail to Hummingbirds
    (pp. 33-65)

    From the Red-tailed Hawk effortlessly riding the thermals to the male Anna’s Hummingbird aggressively defending his territory, birds are the big players on the garden stage. Birds use all of the vertical layers of trees, shrubs, vines, and ground plants, and each species shows a preference for which layer is best for perching, foraging, and nesting. Raptors, for example, stay high in the tree canopy while quail, towhees, and juncos reside in the understory, where they feed on tender shoots, buds, and seeds or scrabble through the dust searching for insects. California Quail and other ground-nesters need dense cover or...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Pollinator Garden: Butterflies, Bees, and Other Beneficial Insects
    (pp. 67-105)

    The butterfly, a symbol of beauty in any language, is a miracle of transformation, as anyone who has witnessed the cycle of egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to emerging butterfly can attest. The ephemeral beauty of butterflies gives them unique status in the insect world; they are one kind of insect that virtually everyone is delighted to see in their garden. However, many butterfly species are suffering significant population declines; some species are facing extinction. Widespread use of pesticides and herbicides, butterfly collecting, and global warming may all contribute to butterfly population declines. However, the single cause that almost everyone...

  8. CHAPTER 4 The Wildlife Pond
    (pp. 107-127)

    Water cools and invigorates. It warms, renews, and heals. Whether trickling over stones, catching the sunlight, or murmuring its soothing melody, water in its many incarnations entices us to come closer, to dip in a hand or toe, to wade around perhaps, or just sit on a boulder and watch it float by. Water is universally appealing in the wild and in the garden—to peopleandto wildlife—and it is essential for life. In addition to attracting many bird species, a pond may bring in other wildlife that you might not otherwise see in your garden. With wetland...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Front Yard Habitat: Burying the Lawn Aesthetic
    (pp. 129-166)

    Those large green rectangles that most of us have obediently fed, raked, weeded, and watered at one time or another, have become outdated. Perhaps lawns have outlived their usefulness as a tradition, a symbol of respectability and status brought to this country by early English landowners. The need to take responsibility for conserving water and keeping it clean may be our strongest inducement for burying the lawn aesthetic. The artificial life support that keeps lawns green and growing—chemical fertilizers and toxic garden pesticides and herbicides—kills beneficial insects and harms wildlife. It pollutes our rivers, streams, and bays, carried...

  10. APPENDICES Starting a Habitat Garden
    (pp. 167-167)
  11. APPENDIX A Natural Gardening Guidelines
    (pp. 168-174)
  12. APPENDIX B Native Plant Communities
    (pp. 175-178)
  13. APPENDIX C Oaks in the Landscape
    (pp. 179-183)
  14. APPENDIX D Plants for Hedgerows
    (pp. 184-187)
  15. APPENDIX E Seasonal Plants for Hummingbirds
    (pp. 188-192)
  16. APPENDIX F Common California Butterflies and Host Plants
    (pp. 193-197)
  17. APPENDIX G Top Nectar and Pollen Plant Families
    (pp. 198-208)
  18. APPENDIX H Invasive Pest Plants
    (pp. 209-210)
  19. APPENDIX I Sources of California Native Plants
    (pp. 211-215)
  20. APPENDIX J Books and Resources
    (pp. 216-220)
  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 221-224)
  22. Plant Index
    (pp. 225-232)