The Reading List

The Urban Gardening Reading List

While there are hundreds of books that are worthy of being read, the books listed below have fundamentally altered my point of view of the importance and interest of urban gardening and plants in general. Each author has contributed to my own personal, ecological framework that I have and I would encourage anyone to treat them as required reading if you have an interest in houseplants, native plants and urban gardening.

Best Native Plant Book: Nature’s Best Hope

Review: This is the single most impactful book that I have ever read in my life. The premise is very straightforward- most of us have a yard that has the potential to house and feed a significant amount of the local ecosystem, but we instead choose plants and grasses that are not native to our regions, resulting in greenery that no insect or bug has adapted to eat. Tallamy outlines how pesticides and our choice in plants has resulted in the Monarch butterfly becoming an endangered species, as their young can only thrive on milkweed, a plant that was once found everywhere but now exists in very few spaces. What is refreshing about this book is that most ecological books focus on the things that the reader should stop doing (stop flying, driving, eating meat, etc) but this author gives a substantial amount of tips that I have incorporated into my life on what we can actively do to help prevent ecological collapse. While my plot of land is only 10 by 10 feet, I know that it takes 6000 caterpillars to feed a nest of baby birds and that I am actively contributing to that population of caterpillars.

Best Historical Plant Book: The Triumph of Seeds

Review: The Triumph of Seeds by Thor Hanson is a fascinating and engaging look at the incredible diversity and importance of seeds. Hanson explores the many ways in which seeds have shaped the world around us, from their role in agriculture and food production to their impact on medicine and ecology. Through vivid storytelling and insightful analysis, he reveals the hidden world of seeds and the vital role they play in sustaining life on our planet. The Triumph of Seeds is a must-read for anyone interested in the natural world and the amazing power of these tiny, but mighty, packets of life.

Best Plant Cultural Commentary: The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Review: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan is a fascinating and informative examination of the food we eat and the impact it has on our health, the environment, and society as a whole. Through his research and personal experiences, Pollan explores the complex web of relationships that exist between humans, animals, plants, and the land. He delves into the history of agriculture and the rise of industrial food production, and offers insights into the ways in which our food choices impact not only our own health, but also the health of the planet. With its engaging writing style and thought-provoking insights, The Omnivore’s Dilemma is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of our food system. 

And I would be remiss to not include that I am in the process of writing my own book, information of which can be found here.

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