The Natural History of Britain and Northern Europe: Towns and Gardens
By Denis Owen
Part essay on the wildlife of gardens and urban areas, and part field guide to those animals and plants. In many ways, this is a book for wildlife gardeners published before 'wildlife gardening' as a subject per se
Owen, D. 1978. The Natural History of Britain and Northern Europe: Towns and Gardens. London. Hodder & Stoughton Limited.
Hardback. 13.5x20.5cm. 224 pages.
As field guides go, this is not the highest quality; though it is useful in that it covers the very commonest species (both flora and fauna) that are likely to be found in gardens.
The real value of this work is in Owen's 'ecological essay' which comprises about a third of the book. The essay is very wide ranging, with some 30 sections covering subjects as diverse as social wasps, refuse tips, indoor opportunists and encouraging wildlife. When I first read it as a teenager, it was very influential in shaping the way I regarded the urban and garden 'habitat' around me. When I re-read it more recently, I found it absolutely fascinating, partly because of its historical perspective; written, as it was, 25 years ago, before 'wildlife gardening' was popularised. Even now, there is a great deal of interest in here for the garden wildlife enthusiast.
This book was part of a series which included other titles such as 'Mountains and Moorlands'. I don't know whether or not this book is still in print, but it is well worth looking out for in second-hand bookshops.
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