Our love affair with alien plants, along with unchecked habitat loss to urban sprawl is taking a significant toll on important native plants. In too many areas of the country, there’s no place left for wildlife. By bringing nature home in the landscapes and gardens we ourselves create, we can collectively start to reverse this alarming decline.
When it comes understanding the critical relationships between native plants and the creatures that depend on them, Doug Tallamy is right at the top.
He’s currently professor and chair of the department of entomology and wildlife ecology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. His tireless passion to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how those interactions determine the diversity of animal communities is one of the key driving forces that keeps him in demand. He’s also the author of an award winning book, Bringing Nature Home.
And there are other key influencers scattered around the world, helping to promote the message of creating healthy, living landscapes with a focus on indigenous plants. Rick Darke is one such person. At home, Rick along with his wife and co-horticulturalist Melinda Zoehrer enjoy their own living landscape that is as biologically balanced as it is beautiful.
Rick’s rise to horticultural prominence started with a college botany course. His studies led to a 20-year career at Longwood Gardens, considered one of America’s most important botanic gardens. We he left, he was curator of plants, with responsibility for all 11,000 plants in Longwood’s collection.
Today, Rick heads his Pennsylvania-based consulting firm focused on the design and management of living landscapes of diverse projects around the world. His work takes him all over the world.
Rick’s most recent book, The Living Landscape, (along with contributions from Doug Tallamy) addresses the things we can do at home to create a more hospitable habitat for native plants and creatures. Stunning photography by Rick helps illustrate each point. One of Rick’s key concepts to creating a living landscape is by focusing on building layers into the landscape as explained in his book and in this episode.
In their own unique styles, both Rick and Doug’s award-winning books take on the topic of what we can and should do, to bring more life to our own home landscapes, and why that’s so important.
Amazon Link to Doug Tallamy’s book: Bringing Nature Home
Amazon link to Rick Darke’s book: The Living Landscape
Doug Tallamy’s list of Best Bets on what to plant
Xerces Society’s list of regionally specific pollinator-friendly plants
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Wildflower Center’s Native Plant database–an excellent resource on what to plant
Product links on this page are affiliate links, which means we would get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us.