A Great Book That Everyone Should Read:
Tallamy, Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of
Delaware in Newark, has written "Bringing
Nature Home: How You Can Sustain
Wildlife with Native Plants." I
heard him speak at a native plant seminar at the Irvine Nature Center years ago
and his talk was so inspirational to me that I still quote him. People rave about this terrific book. To buy the
book or learn more about the subject, visit Tallamy's website at the link below.
Another Book I Recommend, Written by a Local Author:
"Take Our Advice: A Handbook for Gardening in Northern Virginia," by
Margaret Fisher, gently leads people into the world of gardening in an environmentally responsible manner, with a strong emphasis
on native plants and avoiding invasive aliens. Nearly fifty local gardeners and experts contributed their best tips on successful
gardening both in general and in our local conditions. The book includes lists of local resources such as plant sales and
public gardens and is designed to be a handy reference to take to the garden center, as the index allows quick look up of
whether a given plant is native, invasive, or even deer-resistant. To find out more or order this book, visit the
link below. (All proceeds support the Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County.)
Two Wonderful References Available Online:
At previous Parkfairfax native plant sales, we have given away copies of two excellent guidebooks on native plants from
the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia. Although we can no longer get copies
of these to distribute at the sale, the guidebooks are available for free online.
The first book, titled "Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed,"
provides a great list of many plants found in the our region, broken into broad categories (ferns, grasses & sedges, herbaceous
- woodland, herbaceous - water, shrubs, trees, vines) with lists of plants by habitat and types of uses (including deer resistance)
in the back. This book is the only free plant list for our area I've found that is both fairly comprehensive for our area
AND includes a picture of the plant along with the information about the plant. (Pictures are so helpful with a list.) To
view the book online or download a PDF file of the book, visit the USFWS website by clicking the link below.
The second book, titled "The Nature of Change: Preserving the Natural Heritage of a Dynamic Region," discusses the changing
landscape of Northern Virginia and offers advise and specific examples of what can be done to restore and maintain diversity
and wildlife habitat in backyards and communities. Later chapters offer guides, tips, and sample plans for landscaping with
nature, avoiding invasive plants, avoiding pesticides, and gardening for butterflies, birds, and other wildlife. In the back
is a good list of books and online resources to point one toward finding more references if needed. To view the book online
or download a PDF file of the book, visit the ASNV website by clicking the link below.
Together, the two books make an excellent companion set with all the basic information one would want for gardening with native
plants. (One book gives you specific information on native plants, and the other gives you guidance and the broader picture
of what gardening with natives is all about.) Even though the second book is specific to Northern Virginia, its information
applies to the whole Chesapeake Bay watershed so I'm sure those living outside Virginia will also find good information in
it to reference.
Other Resources Available Online:
Other guidebooks, also excellent references, can be downloaded as PDF files from the websites below.
A good primer on butterfly gardening is a recent publication by Laura Farron of the Washington Area Butterfly Club titled
"Butterfly Gardening in the D.C. Area." To download this publication as a PDF file, click the link below.
Besides the guide above, a significant amount of other resources on butterfly gardening (guides, handouts, and links) is
available on the materials page of the Washington Area Butterfly Club at the link below.
A good technical reference for planning and installing rain gardens is the publication by the Virginia Department of
Forestry titled simply "Rain Garden Technical Guide." You can download this guide and others from the Arlington County website,
which you can visit by clicking the link below.
Still Other Resources for Native Plant Gardening: