English Nature 2003. Gardening with wildlife in mind. Lewes. The Plant Press.
This CDROM is centred on a database of around 800 animals and plants
This CDROM is centred on a database of around 800 animals and plants. All the featured plants are useful for attracting animals into the garden in one way or another and they include both native and introduced species. Most of the animals are, of course, invertebrates since these naturally account for most animals in all habitats and gardens are no exception. There is a decent amount of information on each of the animals and plants including a good photograph, a distribution map (for England only), and the conditions/habitats they prefer.
The real strength of the database lies in the links between the plant and animal records
The real strength of the database lies in the links between the plant and animal records. So, for example, by looking up the entry for the small tortoiseshell butterfly (Aglais urticae
), you will also see a list of the plants which attract it and you can click on any of these plants to be taken directly to its own entry. Similarly there is a list of animals which prey on this butterfly and the entry for any animal which preys on other animals will include a list of the animals on which it feeds. There are similar links for all the plants. Herein lies the great advantage of this kind of medium over a book: you can very quickly locate related information and explore the relationships between the different species
Herein lies the great advantage of this kind of medium over a book: you can very quickly locate related information and explore the relationships between the different species.
The advanced search feature is another great boon of the CDROM format
The advanced search feature is another great boon of the CDROM format. By entering part of the name of a plant or animal, you can quickly locate its entry; but the search provides much more than this. You can, for example, search for plants by conditions tolerated (light/shade and moisture), by type (annual, biennial or perennial), by habitat (e.g. meadow or hedgerow) or by the kind of animals they attract (e.g. small tortoiseshell). Similarly you can search for animals by the type of habitat they prefer, or their likelihood of occurring in the garden (low, medium or high) or by entering the name of an associated plant.
The CDROM also includes a fair bit of information on gardening for wildlife including four sections of creating wildlife habitats: hedges, meadows, ponds & marshes and walls & fences. The forward to this information is given by Chris Baines, author of (How to make a wildlife garden
). There are some 200 tips for wildlife gardeners, organised into eight categories
There are some 200 tips for wildlife gardeners, organised into eight categories (birds, composting, habitat creation, invertebrates, managing lawns, pest control, plants and ponds).
All in all, at around £10, this resource should prove to be a real boon for the wildlife gardener that has access to a PC, particularly when investigating the relationships between various garden plants and animals. The website of the publishers, Plant Press, can be found at http://www.plantpress.com