The Humane Gardeners

Image of common whitetail skimmer

“What happens when we stop? When we spare even the smallest creatures from our sharp blades and stultifying intentions? When we let the fallen leaves be and the decaying logs lie? When we reject the dominant paradigm of three-shrubs-per-acre of suburban lawn? What if we could learn to see the world from the perspective of other species, both plant and animal, and understand that they, too, deserve the chance to make a life here?”

Those are the questions I pose in the introduction to The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife. To find answers beyond my own backyard, I’m continuing to highlight gardeners across North America in the ongoing Humane Gardening Heroes series. In my book, The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife, you’ll find profiles of these original six compassionate pioneers:

Dennis Mudd of California, who traded palm trees and expansive lawns for a native plant garden of extraordinary beauty;

Loret Setters of Florida, who put down the power tools and let nature take over in the diverse wetland outside her mobile home;

Charlotte Adelman of Illinois, who created an urban backyard woodland and community prairie;

Jennifer Howard of Ontario, who rescues wildlife injured and orphaned by ever-encroaching develop­ment;

Tammi Hartung of Colorado, who grows food for her family while also sharing the bounty with her wild friends; and

Eileen Stark of Oregon, who honors the dead and dying, leaving fallen leaves and logs to provide rich habitat.

Read their stories in The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife.

Humane Gardening Heroes Series

Get inspired! If you liked the profiles of humane gardeners in my book, you’ll love reading this ongoing series.

Indiana Humane Gardener Sharon Patterson

Image of sunflowers in Sharon Patterson's gardenThe ducks have eaten the water lilies. The chickens have eaten the vegetables. Raccoons and hawks occasionally try to eat the chickens. And dogs help keep them all in line in this garden oasis for domestic and wild animals alike. Learn the recipe for peaceful coexistence in Humane Gardening Hero Sharon Patterson’s urban farm.

Minnesota Humane Gardener Lisa Taft

Image of frog in Lisa Taft's gardenShe loves plants. She loves the animals who eat them. In this first dispatch of Humane Gardening Heroes, learn how tree frogs, butterflies, deer and many other animals thrive in Humane Gardening Hero Lisa Taft’s lush backyard.

Ohio Humane Gardener Paige Nugent

Image of EchoChicken_Paige Nugent

Conversion to a wildlife-friendly yard doesn’t have to be pricey. One seed at a time, this once-barren Ohio property has come back to life—for wildlife and pet chickens alike—in the nurturing hands of Humane Gardening Hero Paige Nugent.

Texas Humane Gardener Tait Moring

Image of fox in Tait Moring garden

A fox family takes shelter under the deck while snakes slither in the stone wall. From the much-maligned mesquite trees to the misunderstood rock squirrels,  Humane Gardening Hero Tait Moring welcomes them all.

Virginia Humane Gardener Toni Genberg

Image of chipmunk and Virginia creeperA visit to this suburban property feels like returning to a land time forgot, a place where salamanders, hummingbirds, chipmunks, caterpillars, and deer thrive in their long-lost home, a quarter-acre space transformed by Humane Gardening Hero Toni Genberg.

Washington Humane Gardener Kelly Brenner

Image of Anna's hummingbird_Kelly Brenner

Why weed when there are spiders to be rescued and beetles to be photographed? Anna’s hummingbirds may be regular visitors, but it’s often the tiniest creatures who capture the imagination of Humane Gardening Hero Kelly Brenner.

Know a Humane Gardener? Tell Me About It!

Do you know someone who exemplifies the philosophies of humane gardening? Someone who has the courage to face long-held fears about misunderstood plants and animals, challenge cultural aesthetic standards, and view the world from the perspective of other beings? Please tell me about it here.

Cultivating compassion for all creatures great and small

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