Gardeners, with all good fortune and flora, are endowed with love
for a hobby that has profound potential for positive change. The
beautifully illustrated "Designing Gardens with Flora of the
American East" approaches landscape design from an ecological
perspective, encouraging professional horticulturalists and
backyard enthusiasts alike to intensify their use of indigenous or
native plants. These plants, ones that grow naturally in the same
place in which they evolved, form the basis of the food web.
Wildlife simply cannot continue to survive without them-nor can we.
Why indigenous plants, you may ask? What makes them so special to
butterflies and bees and boys and girls? For Carolyn Summers, the
answer is as natural as an ephemeral spring wildflower or berries
of the gray dogwood, "As I studied indigenous plants, a strange
thing happened. The plants grew on me. I began to love the plants
themselves for their own unique qualities, quite apart from their
usefulness in providing food and shelter for wildlife."
Emphasizing the importance of indigenous plant gardening and
landscape design, Summers provides guidelines for skilled sowers
and budding bloomers.
She highlights . . .
"The best ways to use exotic and nonindigenous plants
"Easy-to-follow strategies for hosting wildlife in fields, forests,
"Designs for traditional gardens using native trees, shrubs,
groundcovers as substitutes for exotic plants
"Examples of flourishing plant communities from freshwater streams
to open meadows
"How to control plant reproduction, choose cultivars,
open-pollinated indigenous plants, and different types of hybrids,
and practice "safe sex in the garden"
From Maine to Kentucky and up and down the East Coast, "Designing
Gardens with Flora of the American East" lays the "gardenwork" for
protecting natural areas through the thoughtful planting of
indigenous plants. Finally we can bask in the knowledge that it is
possible to have loads of fun at the same time we are growing a
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