Our Favorite Books

Douglas W. Tallamy (2009). Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants.

Tallamy sounds the alarm on the decline of many bird species due to increased urbanization and loss of habitat, including through widespread use of non-native plants in suburban landscapes. Our native insects cannot eat non-native plants. Thus, when native plants disappear, the insects disappear, eliminating essential food for birds and other animals. Everyone with a patch of land can make a contribution toward reversing this problem by planting native species in their gardens. -GL

Douglas W. Tallamy (2020). Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard.

Tallamy outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation and sustainable landscaping, recommending specific steps to turn lawn into conservation corridors and wildlife habitat. The approach is practical, effective, and easy to implement. -GL

Rick Darke and Douglas W. Tallamy (2014). The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden.

The authors show and explain garden design "layers" that benefits wildlife without sacrificing aesthetics. “Layers” include: groundcovers, perennials, shrubs, understory trees, and canopy trees. Each layer is important ecologically. The book includes many examples with colorful photographs and describes ecological functions of plants featured in the book. -GL

Mark Richardson and Dan Jaffe (2018). Native plants for New England Gardens.

The authors share their expertise creating low-maintenance gardens that tolerate drought, resist disease, and support biodiversity using New England native plants. This guide lists 100 native perennials, trees, shrubs ferns, grasses, and vines that can thrive in harsh climates. It provides practical information, such as recommendations for sunny/shady and wet/dry growing conditions. -GL

William Cullina (2002). Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines: A Guide to Using, Growing, and Propagating North American Plants.

This book provides important information on how to select and cultivate North American woody plants, including their taxonomy, geographic ranges, light and soil needs. It also provides information about propagation, pruning, and disease. The author describes the value of each species for attracting wildlife and highlights the threat of invasive species. With over 200 color photographs, the book is a valuable reference for home gardeners interested in creating beautiful landscapes using native North American plants. Other W. Cullina books: Native Ferns, Moss, and Grasses (2008) and Understanding Perennials (2009). -GL

Donald J. Leopold (2005). Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening & Conservation.

Leopold is an expert in horticulture, botany, forestry, and ecology. No other single volume on native plants has as comprehensive horticultural coverage as Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation. Nearly 700 species of native trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, grasses, and wildflowers from the northeastern United States and eastern Canada are included. Each plant description includes information about cultivation and propagation, ranges, and hardiness. An appendix recommends plants for difficult situations, and describes ways to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other wildlife. -GL


Tony Dove and Ginger Woolridge (2018). Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States: The Guide to Creating a Sustainable Landscape. 

A valuable guide for gardeners at all skill levels interested in creating sustainable, beautiful landscapes. Key features are descriptions of a large number of native plants and advice for selecting plants based on adaptability, aesthetic value, and overall performance. Part 1 categorizes native plants by salt, drought, shade, and wind tolerance, bark quality, showy flowers, fall color, exceptional winter interest, etc. Part 2 describes plant characteristics, including form, size, color, texture, soil, light requirements, and wildlife value. The descriptions are supplemented with color photographs, graphs, and helpful practical tips for selecting plants. Part 3 lists native species that may be prone to insect damage or may have invasive properties. -GL


Kim Eierman (2020). The Pollinator Victory Garden

Referencing the Victory Gardens of World War I that provided a reliable food source and empowered civilians to do their part for the war effort, this volume offers guidelines to ease the current threats facing native pollinators. With easy-to-read charts, plant lists, and a pollinator Victory Garden checklist, this is a guide to creating your own patch of diverse habitat to help support the pollinators of the world. Not only will getting outside and working the land help all the creatures with whom we share the planet, but it will also make a difference in how we feel about our own place in it. -GH

Judith Schartz (2020). The Reindeer Chronicles

This volume is a resource of eco-restoration pioneers, methods, and dreams. Through a series of interviews and stories, Schartz tells stories of global eco-activists working to restore Earth's environmental health. This feel-good book embraces how small groups of people working with a can-do attitude can accomplish large outcomes and shows that in taking responsibility for our actions, we can work on solutions to save our planet and ourselves. -GH