Recommended Native Plant Books for Iowa
Why Native Plants?
Nature's Best Hope
A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard
By Douglas W. Tallamy
Nature's Best Hope was the book that first got me really interested in the beauty and value of native plants. I happened to stumble upon a video of a talk Tallamy gave about the book (which you can check out yourself here), and I was inspired. The book discusses the science behind why native plants are so important for local ecosystems, and shares all sorts of interesting and effective case studies he's seen.
The book is a powerful testament to native plants, and an inspiring call to action.
Douglas W. Tallamy’s first book, Bringing Nature Home, awakened thousands of readers to an urgent situation: wildlife populations are in decline because the native plants they depend on are fast disappearing. His solution? Plant more natives.
In this new book, Tallamy takes the next step and outlines his vision for a grassroots approach to conservation. Nature’s Best Hope shows how homeowners everywhere can turn their yards into conservation corridors that provide wildlife habitats. Because this approach relies on the initiatives of private individuals, it is immune from the whims of government policy. Even more important, it’s practical, effective, and easy—you will walk away with specific suggestions you can incorporate into your own yard.
If you’re concerned about doing something good for the environment, Nature’s Best Hope is the blueprint you need. By acting now, you can help preserve our precious wildlife—and the planet—for future generations.
Planting for Birds
100 Plants to Feed the Birds
Turn Your Home Garden into a Healthy Bird Habitat
By Laura Erickson
While there are all sorts of great resources online about planting for birds (including on this website!), sometimes its nice to have a handy printed reference.
The growing group of bird enthusiasts who enjoy feeding and watching their feathered friends will learn how they can expand their activity and help address the pressing issue of habitat loss with 100 Plants to Feed the Birds. In-depth profiles offer planting and care guidance for 100 native plant species that provide food and shelter for birds throughout the year, from winter all the way through breeding and migrating periods.
Readers will learn about plants they can add to their gardens and cultivate, such as early-season pussy willow and late-season asters, as well as wild plants to refrain from weeding out, like jewelweed and goldenrod. Others, including 29 tree species, may already be present in the landscape and readers will learn how these plants support the birds who feed and nest in them. Introductory text explains how to create a healthy year-round landscape for birds. Plant photographs and range maps provide needed visual guidance to selecting the right plants for any location in North America.
Native Plant Guides
The Midwest Native Plant Primer
225 Plants for an Earth-Friendly Garden
By Alan Branhagen
While there are all sorts of great, free resources online about native plants (many of them collected on this website!), sometimes its nice to have a handy printed copy. This book provides just that, with beautiful photos and plenty of details about what environments each plant thrives in. Plus, it has pointers about which sorts of critters like each plant most (birds, bees, bugs, etc).
The introduction has has some great reminders about the value of native plants and some reflections on the beauty of the midwest.
Bring your garden to life--and life to your garden
Do you want a garden that makes a real difference? Choose plants native to our Midwest region.
The rewards will benefit you, your yard, and the environment--from reducing maintenance tasks to attracting earth-friendly pollinators such as native birds, butterflies, and bees. Native plant expert Alan Branhagen makes adding these superstar plants easier than ever before, with proven advice that every home gardener can follow. This incomparable sourcebook includes 225 recommended native ferns, grasses, wildflowers, perennials, vines, shrubs, and trees. It's everything you need to know to create a beautiful and beneficial garden.
This must-have handbook is for gardeners in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.