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Reference: Wildlife Gardening Books

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How To Make a Wildlife Garden

By Chris Baines
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Ref image This ground-breaking work by wildlife gardening's own guru, Chris Baines, still earns its reputation as probably the foremost work on the subject.
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 Citation  
Baines, C. 2000. How To Make a Wildlife Garden. London, Frances Lincoln Limited. ISBN 0 7112 1711 4.
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 Format  
Softback. 21.5x28.0cm. 192 pages.
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 Review  
This book is much more than a review of the techniques and theory of wildlife gardening. Open quotesIt is as much about the emotional as it is about the practical aspects of the subject.Close quotesIt is as much about the emotional as it is about the practical aspects of the subject. Reading this book will convince you that enhancing your garden for the benefit of wildlife, and consequently people, is just about the most rewarding way you can spend the time and effort which many of us pour into our gardens.

Chris Baines comes at this subject very much from the point of view of a naturalist as opposed to horticulturalist. It can be contrasted with, but also complemented by, NoŽl Kingsbury's book Natural Gardens in Small Spaces (from the same publisher) which is very much a horticulturalist and garden designer's take on the same subject.

The book is split into three main sections: Why Make a Wildlife Garden?; Creating New Habitats and Supplementing the Habitats. In the first section, Chris Baines lays out his philosophy on wildlife gardening and makes a convincing case for their importance in conservation terms. There is also a chapter here on designing a wildlife garden. The chapters in the second section cover the major habitats which can be represented in a typical wildlife garden; e.g. woodland edge, hedges, meadows and wetlands (ponds). Open quotesHow to Make a Wildlife Garden is a beautifully produced book; as at home on the coffee table as it is in the potting shed.Close quotesIn some ways, the final section is really a home for all the chapters which did not fit neatly into the other two, but is none-the-less important for that. All sorts of subjects are covered in the third section, from cottage and vegetable gardening to building bird boxes and studying wildlife.

If you just buy a single book on wildlife gardening, my recommendation would be to make it this one. No other, that I've come across, manages the task of being both thorough and entertaining quite so well. How to Make a Wildlife Garden is a beautifully produced book; as at home on the coffee table as it is in the potting shed.

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