November 2013

Buy the book(s) for holiday gift(s)

Yellow warbler nests in Indiana. (C) Ryan Sanderson

The holidays are with us, so here are some books that I liked and recommend for the gardeners and nature lovers on your list.

For Midwest gardeners:

“Shrubs Large and Small: Natives and Ornamentals for Midwest Garden” by Moya L. Andrews and Gillian Harris (Indiana University Press, paperback, $28). Beautifully illustrated by Harris, the guide helps with the selection and placement of shrubs, including those planted for birds and other wildlife. Harris is past president of the south-central chapter of the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society and Andrews is retired dean of the faculties at I.U.

“Got Sun? 200 Best Native Plants for Your Garden” by Carolyn Harstad (Indiana University Press, paperback, $28). With drawings by Jean Vietor, “Got Sun?” continues Harstad’s series especially written for the Midwest. Harstad, who now lives in Minnesota, is a founder of the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society.

“Butterflies of Indiana: A Field Guide” by Jeffrey E. Belth (Indiana University Press, paperback, $20). Belth relies on his expert knowledge and observational skills, along with more that 500 color photos to help us identify 149 species of Indiana’s winged beauties.

Of course, to have more gardens, we need to reduce the lawn, and two authors have addressed that problem.

“Beautiful No-Mow Yards 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives” by Evelyn Hadden (Timber Press, paperback, $24.95) has been a best seller since its release. This lawn liberation guide offers design ideas and plant recommendations to turn grassy areas into flowerbeds, shrub islands and more.

“Lawn Gone! Low Maintenance, Sustainable, Attractive Alternatives for Your Yard” by Pam Penick (10 Speed Press, paperback, $23.99). Penick stresses what resource guzzlers American lawns are each year — 300 million gallons of gasoline, 1 billion hours of work, 70 million pounds of pesticides and $40 billion in upkeep. The book contains dozens of suggestions on how to help the environment and your pocket.

And once you have gardens, you’ll notice the birds, including the illusive warblers.
“The Warbler Guide” by Tom Stephenson and Scott White (Princeton University Press, paperback, $29.95). In the birding world, warbles are among the most challenging to find. They are here only twice a year during migrations, there are many of them and several look a lot alike and they tend to be tiny and hang out in the tops of trees. This guides helps us find and recognize them and their calls.