The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Attracting Native Pollinators

Attracting Native PollinatorsAttracting Native Pollinators by the Xerces Society is the prettiest homesteading-related book I've read this year.  Stunning images dot nearly every page, zooming in on the tiny bees pollinating an apple tree or diagramming the underground nest site of a bumblebee queen.

Unfortunately, the book's writing isn't quite as stellar as the illustrations.  Attracting Native Pollinators was clearly written by a committee who couldn't quite decide if they were working on a textbook or an inspirational DIY guide.  Now and then, I could sense the authors' passion to protect the bees, wasps, and flies pollinating our wild and cultivated landscapes, but elsewhere they got bogged down in excessive vocabulary.  All the more reason to sum up the most intriguing points in a lunchtime series and save you some slogging.

Despite the annoying features of certain parts of the text, I heartily recommend that you pick up a copy of the book, if only to use as reference guide.  The main genera of pollinator bees plus the most important families of other types of pollinators are covered in a field-guide-like fashion, another section lists the host plants for many common butterflies, and yet a third chapter discusses the best native plants to add to your pollinator garden.  And, of course, the book is the gardener equivalent of porn ---  perfect to set on your coffee table to suck in new converts to ecological gardening.

Thinking of jumping into chickens in 2012?  Weekend Homesteader: January walks you through designing a system that will incorporate your new flock into a permaculture homestead.

This post is part of our Attracting Native Pollinators lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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