The Book

Image of Humane Gardener book coverThe reviews are in: “Gorgeously written” … “A passionate and well-researched rallying cry” … “A very important book that everyone with a container garden to a postage stamp yard to a large piece of property should read.” Find The Humane Gardener on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Princeton Architectural Press, independent bookstores, and wherever books are sold.

Listed among Gardenista’s “Best Books 2017” and Mother Nature Network’s “8 Gift-Worthy Design Books for the Holidays”

The New York Times:

“Call it the Sloth Option,” writes journalist Michael Tortorello of the hands-off approach to winter cleanup in his playful and poetic Sunday Times piece, “Time to Put the Garden to Bed?” On a more serious note, he adds, “the circle of life doesn’t work as well with a winter-shaped wedge cut out of it.” For ideas on nurturing fauna through the cold season, Tortorello interviewed The Humane Gardener author Nancy Lawson. Check out the article and slideshow.

Mother Nature Network:

Named one of “8 gift-worthy design books for the holidays” by Mother Nature Network: “From Nancy Lawson … comes this important, insightful and beautifully produced book that sets out to explain why it’s hard to call yourself a truly accomplished gardener without paying special mind to your plants and the beneficial creatures that help them grow.”

O, The Oprah Magazine!

“Each year opossums, often seen as nasty nuisances, helpfully ingest thousands of disease causing ticks. That’s just one of the good-to-know facts in Nancy Lawson’s book, The Humane Gardener, which reveals how you can make your private green patch a safe haven for all creatures.” —Zoe Donaldson, O: The Oprah Magazine‘s  “Gratitude Meter: Five Things We’re Smiling About This Month”

The Library Journal, starred review:

“Many gardeners divide local flora and fauna into two categories: beneficials and pests. Journalist and naturalist Lawson … challenges readers to erase this distinction. She goes beyond the usual advice to avoid pesticides, encouraging gardeners to plant native plants, let native weeds grow, and welcome all wildlife even when it eats the plants. This gorgeously written, well-argued title will help backyard gardeners see all creatures, from insects to elk, as visitors to be welcomed rather than pests to be removed. … Highly recommend for gardeners at all levels in all regions.” —Janet Crum, The Library Journal, starred review

BookPage magazine:

“In The Humane Gardener, Lawson does the important work of speaking for the trees—and the bees, butterflies and other living creatures that need healthy ecosystems. … With luxe, matte pages and plentiful full-color photographs, this book is as much a beautiful object as a passionate and well-researched rallying cry.” —Susannah Felts, BookPage

The Washington Post:

“Over her 17 years here, [Lawson] has come to see her garden as a place that is no longer territory to be defended against the squirrels, the moles and other invading critters, but a place to be extended to them. … The book is something of a guide to dealing with nuisance species—how to humanely remove squirrels from your attic, for example—but it is, at its heart, a plea to rethink our mentality about other species on our patch.” —Adrian Higgins, The Washington Post

The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“… [A] very important book that everyone with a container garden to a postage stamp yard to a large piece of property should read.” —Jill Sell, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Other Reviews and Highlights

“The Humane Gardener is an idea-packed examination of what happens when we view our yards as opportunities to preserve and foster habitat for native plants and animals. As Lawson says, ‘Even in a small yard, you might be surprised by who shows up if you let them.’ ” —Yellowstone Master Gardeners, Montana State University Extension

“Humane gardeners are fortunate to have a spokeswoman as eloquent as Lawson. Read her book and spread the word!”Wild Ones Journal

“I venture that most people in the US get their gardening advice from two places: the big box stores and commercials for chemicals (e.g. Roundup, Miracle Gro, Preen). That’s unfortunate, because as environmentalists and too few gardeners know, it’s the necessary balance of various plants and animals (including insectsnot just beesand rodents) that make a garden thrive. This is a great book to give anyone just starting out with their first gardenand a palatable and beautifully produced message that too many other gardeners need to hear.”Literati Bookstore

I hope every animal lover and animal advocate reads this book. So many of us are (necessarily and understandably) advocating for animals thousands or hundreds of miles away on factory farms, laboratories, fur farms, etc), and while we should never stop, we can at the same time do SO much in our backyards—literally. A must read for compassionate people.” —Colleen Patrick-Goudreau; listen to our conversation on her Food for Thought podcast.

“The Humane Gardener is a thought-provoking book that will make you rethink species you once considered as pests and weeds.”Monadnock Table

“… [W]e hope its impact equals that of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. With the same engaging eloquence and humble, personal revelations, Nancy gently slips us into a new view of our backyard and traditional gardening practices.” —Cavity Conservation Initiative

“Instead of reaching for the chemical insecticide, consider reading The Humane Gardener by Nancy Lawson for tips on using natural predators to curb your bug problem. The book’s author promotes the concept of understanding your property as a whole ecosystem with compassion for all the variety of life in it.” —The Mining Journal (Marquette, Michigan)

“Wild Can Be Beautiful! Home gardens aren’t just for our own personal enjoyment—wildlife rely on our gardens for food, shelter and sanctuary. In The Humane Gardener, Nancy Lawson encourages gardeners to consider the needs of local wildlife in both what we plant and how we maintain our gardens. … Although Nancy’s book isn’t specific to the Southwest, the principles she covers can be applied anywhere. So, allow your garden to go just a little bit wild, and enjoy your new visitors!” — Pima County Library (Tucson, Arizona)

“For the past few years, I have been working to replace my lawn with plants that attract beneficial insects. The Humane Gardener has showed me many more ways I can repair the balance of nature in my yard, and I hope to inspire my neighbors to do the same.” —Washington Gardener

“Reading The Humane Gardener is like taking a leisurely walk with Lawson through much-loved gardens cultivated by trial and error, meandering freely, unpenned by rigid delineations. … With a wealth of information and resources, Lawson’s book is a gentle read with a powerful message.” —The Gardener’s Path

The Humane Gardener also made the list of “17 books to educate, inform, and inspire us this season” compiled by Food Tank: The Think Tank for Food.

Book jacket description:

“In her eloquent plea for compassion and respect toward all species, author Nancy Lawson describes why and how you should welcome wildlife to your backyard. Through engaging anecdotes and practical advice, profiles of home gardeners across the country, and interviews with scientists and horticulturalists, Lawson applies the lessons of ecology to our own outdoor spaces. Detailed and inspirational chapters address planting for wildlife by choosing native species; providing habitats that shelter baby animals, including the young of birds, bees, and butterflies; creating gardens free of poisons and other common hazards; cohabiting with creatures often regarded as pests; letting nature be your garden designer; and welcoming natural processes and seasonal changes. The Humane Gardener illustrates simple principles for both attracting wildlife and peacefully resolving conflicts with all the creatures who share our world.”

Cultivating compassion for all creatures great and small

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