Book Recommendation – Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Back Yards
“You plant nut treees and I’ll plant spruce, you keep a berry thicket and I’ll do the tall grass, or the bog, the woodlot, the crowds of fruiting shrubs and beds of wildflowers. But let us weave them together into something big enough to matter by connecting each patch with others at the corners and along the boundaries. This is the rich, new landscape; this is the new kind of gardener who asks not whether he should plant this ornament or another but which patch is missing from his community, how he can provide it, and how animals will move from his patch to the next.
This is the ark.
This is not someone else’s problem. We—you and I and everyone who has a yard of any size—own a big chunk of this country. Suburban development has wrought habitat destruction on a grand scale. As these tracts expand, they increasingly squeeze the remaining natural ecosystems, fragment them, sever corridors by which plants and animals might refill the voids we have created. To reverse this process—to reconnnect as many plant and animal species as we can to rebuild intelligent suburban ecosystems—requires a new kind of garden, new techniques of gardening, and, I emphasize, a new kind of gardener.
Yards and gardens patched with grass and stitched with hedges all across America constitute a vast, nearly continuous, and terribly impoverished ecosystem for which we ourselves, with our mowers, shears, and misguided choice of plants, are responsible. We cannot in fairness rail against those who destroy the rain forest or threaten the spotted owl when we have made our own yards uninhabitable. Yet how quickly we could grow this land, spangle it with blazing stars, stripe it with red winterberries and white summersweet, let it wave again with grass!”