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Learn How to Help Pollinators

Pollinators of Native Plants
by Heather Holm
Pollination Press, 2014
306 pages, $29.95

When you first see the book, Pollinators for Native Plants, it draws you in quickly through its 1,200 color photos of flowers, insects, and their interactions.

Just as Doug Tallamy’s book Bringing Nature Home was an eye-opener for many folks in the understanding of the relationships of native plants and insects and how gardeners could have a positive role in the environment, Heather Holm’s new book carries the discussion to the role that pollinating insects play in the life of a plant and why that is important.

Holm, of Minnetonka, has done a fabulous job of organizing the complex and technical subject of pollination. This is a book that will be read and enjoyed for its illustrations, tidbits of information, and the larger view it presents. But, more importantly, it’s a book you will want to study. It’s small enough to fit the hand as a field guide, yet ambitious enough to cover the subject as portrayed through 65 perennial flowering native plants.

My recommendation is to spend a preliminary hour with the book to understand its organization. The vocabulary of the opening chapter will cause many readers to refer to the word glossary in the back of the book. You might even want to read the glossary first before starting page one. You’ll notice the color tabbed sections for a visual glossary and indexes, the suggested pollinator planting plans, and the common bee genera and conservation guides.

All of this is supporting the core of the book, which is devoted to the native plant/insect interactions in three communities—prairie, woodland edge, and wetland edge.

In a format that reminded me of Welby Smith’s technique in Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota, Holm has organized each of the featured plants into a left-hand page of plant information for culture, distribution, keying and additional notes. The right-hand page is for the insect interactions with that specific plant. Both pages are profusely illustrated.

For anyone who is interested in a better understanding of pollination and your role as a gardener, practitioner, small grower or farmer, this is a must-have book. It will add to your understanding of insects and wild plants and their role in the intricate web of life on earth.

—Kent Petterson, Terrace Horticultural Books

Pollinators of Native Plants will be for sale in the Terrace Horticultural Books booth Thursday (volunteer sale), Friday, and Saturday during the plant sale or by calling 651-222-5536.

 

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