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garden and ecology reference books
reading lists:
   landscape design
   reference
   garden essay
   field guides

video reviews
book reviews

glossary

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quiz1

lawn thoughts
Collected bodies of scientific knowledge, including collected writings.
("more info" links to the book's Amazon page)

Alexander, Christopher, et al.
A Pattern Language: Towns - Buildings - Construction (ISBN: 0195019199).
Eight years in the making, this mind-expanding dictionary of "patterns" shows how people can design spaces—outdoors and indoors, intimate and public—that fill their deepest needs for connection and privacy. Hailed by Architectural Design as "perhaps the most important book on architectural design published this century."
more info

American Horticultural Society.
A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants (ISBN: 0789419432).
Nearly 100 horticulture experts and professional photographers contributed to this reference, which profiles over 15,000 garden plants, arranged alphabetically by botanical name, with thousands of color photographs. Entries for each genus address native habitat, cultivation, propagation, and pests and diseases. Separate species and cultivar listings describe form, growth habit, flower, and fruit and show hardiness zone and geographical origin.
more info

Callenbach, Ernest.
Ecology: A Pocket Guide (ISBN: 0520214633).
Callenbach's dictionary of ecological concepts covers fire, growth, sulfur, niche, predation, and more. Manages to convey the depth of an ecological perspective with writing clear enough to be easily understood by non-scientists.
more info

Cranshaw, Whitney.
Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs (ISBN: 0691095612).
This guide is organized by how insects eat (sap suckers, leaf eaters, and so forth) to help backyard gardeners diagnose and address insect-related damage. Contains color photos of over 1,400 species with text describing their feeding habits, life cycle, and chemical and organic methods for controlling their populations.
more info

Dennis, John V.
The Wildlife Gardener (ISBN: 0394535820).
Describes general requirements for wildlife habitat—water, shelter, nesting sites, food—and how to design them into the home landscape. Discusses the habitat preferences of various animal species from opossums to earthworms. Includes seasonally specific plant recommendations.
more info

Farrand, John.
Insects and Spiders: National Audubon Society Pocket Guide (ISBN: 0394757920).
Devotes a page to each of the most common insects and spiders in North America, with brief physical description, color photo, and discussion of eating, mating, and reproductive habits.
more info

Hightshoe, Gary L.
Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America (ISBN: 0471288799).
In this stellar reference, Hightshoe devotes a two-page spread to each plant, including detailed overview and close-up drawings, a map of the plant’s geographic range by county, and a host of useful growth and preference information. Describes form, branching, foliage, flower, and fruit. Gives specifics on preferred habitat such as soil type, moisture, temperature, and associated species. Gauges each plant’s tolerance for urban conditions and susceptibility to insects, diseases, and wind. It’s a pricey but delectable treat for shrub-lovers, especially those with enough space to try more than a handful of species. Essential for landscape designers who wish to use native woody plants.
more info

Marshall, Stephen A.
Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity (ISBN: 978-1552979006)
Compelling writing and brilliant photography make this a comprehensive introductory reference on the lives of insects. A section devoted to each order of insects presents the biological traits and ecological roles of each family within that order, followed by a selection of color photographs with descriptive captions showing the insects “in action.” Back matter includes several useful indices and flow-chart-style keys for identifying particular insects to the family level if not species.
more info


Moyle, John and Evelyn Moyle.
Northland Wild Flowers: A Guide for the Minnesota Region (ISBN: 0816613559)
The Moyles’ book has long been the standard field reference for woodland, wetland, and prairie wildflowers in the Upper Midwest of the United States. Supplies color photographs and brief descriptions of hundreds of native northern flowering herbaceous plants as well as widespread or naturalized exotics.
more info


Polese, Jean-Mari and Jean-Louis Lamaison.
The Great Encyclopedia of Mushrooms (ISBN: 3829017286)
This useful and thorough reference separates mushrooms into nine groups that share key characteristics. Full color photo of each species is accompanied by its Latin name, edibility, average size, similar species, where it is commonly found, and a detailed physical description including age- and area-related variations.
more info


Sternberg, Guy and Wilson, Jim.
Landscaping with Native Trees (ISBN: 1881527662)
Thinking of planting a tree? This book gives color photos and all-season descriptions of trees native to the eastern half of the U.S., plus where and how to grow them.
more info

Sternberg and Wilson more recently published Native Trees for North American Landscapes (ISBN: 0881926078), a more comprehensive book covering all of North America. More details from the publisher, Timber Press.
more info from Amazon

Stokes, Donald; Lillian Stokes; and Ernest Williams.
The Butterfly Book (ISBN: 0316817805)
Great beginner’s guide to common species of butterfly, what plants they use, and their ranges through North America. Includes color photos of both butterfly and caterpillar stage for each species. Also offers general discussion of some butterfly behaviors such as puddling.
more info

Sutton, Ann and Sutton, Myron.
Eastern Forests (ISBN: 0394731263)
One of the National Audubon Society Nature Guides, this field guide describes major types of ecosystems found in Eastern North America. It presents detailed physical descriptions, ranges, and common associates for the key plants and animals found in each habitat. Includes a color photo of each key plant and animal. Read more about Field Guides.
more info

Tekiela, Stan.
Birds of Minnesota Field Guide (ISBN: 1591930375)
Devotes two pages to each of the bird species that lives in or regularly passes through Minnesota. Includes color photo, physical description, and specifics of nesting, mating, and young-rearing. Describes call and range as well as when and where to find each species.
more info

Van Melle, Peter J.
Shrubs and Trees for the Small Place: Hardy Deciduous Materials for the Home Grounds (ISBN: B000NYE0GI)
Useful not only for descriptions and comparisons of various shrub and tree species appropriate for small gardens, but also for Van Melle’s method of rating plants according to garden design criteria.
more info

Wagner, David L.
Caterpillars of Eastern North America (ISBN: 0691121443)
This uniquely indispensable guide contains photos of both the larval or caterpillar stage and the associated adult butterfly or moth stage, along with a brief description of its common habitat and food plants, for over 400 species. Characteristic behaviors are also noted, with hints for finding and collecting specimens. Throughout, Wagner highlights gaps in our scientific understanding, useful for those with an interest in research.
more info
 

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