Gardeners can play a significant role in helping to sustain native plant diversity and providing refuge for threatened species of insects and sanctuary for birds, amphibians, reptiles, and small mamma
Gardeners can play a significant role in helping to sustain native plant diversity and providing refuge for threatened species of insects and sanctuary for birds, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals. Horticulture experts Reeser Manley and Marjorie Peronto share their own experiences in gardening for biodiversity, placing a strong emphasis on insect diversity as a bellwether of success. Insects comprise 60 percent of Earth's biodiversity, and they deserve to be recognized as the creatures that run our gardens. It is not the gardener's job to eliminate insects that munch on leaves, suck the sap from stems, bore holes in fruits, or graze on roots. This is the work of predatory insects and arachnids such as ladybug beetles, hoverfly larvae, praying mantises, certain wasps, and spiders. It is the gardener's task to cultivate populations of these predators.
The Life in Your Garden also describes the functional plants of a garden (with recommendations for understory trees and shrubs throughout North America) and their relationship with garden life, introducing the concept of a "garden insectary."
That a gardener can be an important steward for our planet is a powerful concept, and here at last is the book that shows us how.
View Biographical note
REESER MANLEY holds a Ph.D. in Horticultural Science and has gardened for many years in Massachusetts and Maine, and before that in South Carolina and Washington state. Marjorie Peronto is a University of Maine professor with 20 years' experience teaching courses in ornamental gardening, ecological landscaping, and home food production. She trains Master Gardener Volunteers to conduct community outreach projects that promote sustainable gardening and food security.