Elegantly organized by season, this lyrical yet practical guide to backyard restoration gardening celebrates the beauty, the challenges, and the rewards of growing native plants at home. Judith Larner Lowry, winner of the prestigious John Burroughs award, here builds on themes from her best-selling Gardening with a Wild Heart, which introduced restoration gardening as a new way of thinking about land and people. Drawing on her experiences in her own garden, Lowry offers guidance on how to plan a garden with birds, plants, and insects in mind; how to shape it with trees and shrubs, paths and trails, ponds, and other features; and how to cultivate, maintain, and harvest seeds and food from a diverse array of native annuals and perennials. Working in passionate collaboration with the scrub jays, quail, ants, and deer who visit her garden, and inspired by other gardeners, including some of the women pioneers of native plant horticulture, Lowry shares the delights of creating site-specific, ever-changing gardens that can help us better understand our place in the natural world.
“I recommend this book to anyone interested in natural history as well as those contemplating a restoration project in any state as Mrs. Lowry’s knowledge of native plants will inspire you.”—Botanical Rsrch Inst Of Tx, Jbrit
“There is much wisdom here.”—Ibis
“Her observations reveal for us the fascinating intricacies of life in the wild and in gardens filled with native plants and their attendant wildlife. She writes about her natural world with the deep concern of a parent or custodian, the passion of a lover, and the dedication of a true activist. It would be difficult not be be affected by The Landscaping ideas of jays.”—Pacific Horticulture
“This is nature and garden writing at its best: based on science, revelatory, inspired and inspiring. The author's insights are interspersed with excerpts and anecdotes from other writers and personal mentors. It leaves the reader wanting more — and for that, one can see her previous collection of essays, "Gardening With a Wild Heart."”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Even better than the first. . . . Lowry seems to have found a way to bring the wild home. For her, gardening is clearly a collaborative process. She isn't imposing her design sense or aesthetic preferences on the plants; she listens to what the plants tell her (not in some mystical way, but in how well they thrive or don't) and takes her cues from that. She also draws from a deep well of native Californian plant lore, from wildflower festivals to seed harvest. . . . This is a gardener who appreciates both poppies and pond scum, a writer who can evoke the hush of the "fifth season" just before the rains and the frustration of dealing with Bermuda sorrel. What she practices is an inspired mix of organic gardening, xeriscaping, permaculture, restoration ecology, adaptive management and indigenous techniques. In short: genuine five-dimensional California gardening. “—San Francisco Chronicle
“Lowry distills her 25 years of wisdom on specific plants, practical cultivation techniques, and seasonal activities.”—Suite101.Com
“Provides a lovely immersion in the seasonal flow of Lowry’s garden and will no doubt inspire many to become backyard restoration gardeners themselves.”—Bay Nature
"Willful, eloquent, and humorous, Judith Lowry broadens and deepens the themes found in her popular first book, Gardening with a Wild Heart.
Grizzly bear and scrub jay join native people and a company of colorful personalities in a celebration of our home ground, a place called California."—David Fross, coauthor of Ceanothus
and California Native Plants for the Garden
"In humorous, accessible, and inspirational prose, Judith Larner Lowry reminds us that California truly does have real seasons. All we have to do is listen to the native animals and plants around us."—Jerry Emory, author of The Monterey Bay Shoreline Guide
"With much beauty and elegance, Judith Lowry underscores the importance of restoration gardening as a way to honor Native American traditions, protect biodiversity, and restore our relationship with the earth. A must read for those interested in how we might become truly native to the places where we live."—M. Kat Anderson, author of Tending the Wild
"Within the pulse of California's five seasons, this finely calibrated treatise is a beguiling and eminently accessible model of a restoration gardener's physical and mental engagement with the vegetable world. From the horticultural accomplishments of formidable women in her field to the age-old interactions between animals and plants, Lowry gives us an attentive, lyrical guide to full inhabitation of our landscape."—Lillian Vallee, poet, translator and columnist for Stanislaus Connections
"Judith Larner Lowry combines a spiritual love of nature with practical suggestions and stories for renewal of the beauty and restorative power of gardens. She leads you through the 'five' seasons of California gardening and lays a plan to recreate, renew and revive California's natural native beauty and in the process your soul."—Carl Pope, Executive Director, Sierra Club