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on 20 July 2010
This book takes a remarkably organised approach towards gardening in a way to encourage wildlife into your garden. Whether you choose particular birds, moths, butterflies, insects or mammals to encourage, and want to know what to plant or how to design it in order to do this, or if you have a wildlife part of your garden and want to know what to look out for, this book gives detailed information and lots of encouragement. Species identification is very clear and helpful and the many photos are excellent.
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The book: main sections (colour-coded at the edge for easy access) are on gardening for specific groups (birds, butterflies, mammals, amphibians, bees etc.), on creating different habitats (woodland, wetland, meadow etc., but also for balconies or huge gardens); the top 400 plants for wildlife, with short notes and which animal groups they are bes for; and a gardening-for-wildlife calendar, a month per page, subdivided in trees, flower border, pond etc.

The author:Adrian Thomas is a RSPB 'communicator' in SE England. With this book he won the Garden Media Guild New Talent Award 2010.

My opinion: the book is subtitled "a complete guide to nature-friendly gardening" and for once, the hype agrees with reality. This is a seriously good book: many-sided, easy-going style, jargon-free, clear, and most importantly infectuous. The authors enthousiasm shines through throughout, the illustrations are clear and to the point, the layout is clear and logical, the gardening calendar is concise and useful. His heart is in the right place, and he wears it on his sleeve; what's more, he has the knack to share it with us in a very convincing and easy-to-digest (and what is more, easy-to-do!) way. I have nothing but praise for this book, and that is pretty unusual!
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on 27 June 2012
Bought this book for ideas to create a friendly garden for birds, bees and butterflies. That was as far as I thought I could go. However, this book has opened up a whole load of ideas and information for doing so much more. I had given up dreaming about creating a meadow area because the only info I had found in specific books made the whole subject seem too complicated, and info on web searches was always incomplete. But this book has a chapter devoted to the subject - easy to understand, with complete information. It has encouraged me to make this part of my garden a priority, starting this weekend! I highly recommend this book to anyone who interested in doing their bit to help Mother Nature - especially parents and grandparents who can share the knowledge gained with their children. Full of beautiful and inspiring photos and easy to understand language. The book is also well laid out and indexed.
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on 3 August 2011
This is a detailed and beautifully illustrated book about wildlife-friendly gardening, contradicting the usual myths about such gardens, and showing how any size of garden can attract wildlife. There is advice on individual species of animal, bird and insect, including how to tailor the garden to attract each one. The book also discusses different types of habitat, and includes lists of plants and a calendar of garden tasks. The many photographs illustrate the text perfectly, making it an inspiring book which I wish I could have read years ago.
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on 4 December 2010
I am really impressed with this book. Not only does the author seem to know his wildlife really well but he knows his gardening too. It's comprehensive, up-to-date, loads of photos, and it's really readable.The book covers all sorts of garden wildlife, not just your normal butterflies, birds and bees, and what it does is really focus on what you can do to help them and why each of them need different things.There are then sections on how to make different habitats, but what's great is that there is a real focus on doing it as part of everything else you want to get out of a garden - this book isn't about turning your garden wild.
I particularly like the section about garden plants that are good for wildlife. I haven't counted them, but the cover says there are 400 and I can believe it. And it is not all your usual nettles and brambles and buddleia either - these are proper garden plants you'd want to grow.I have tried to find something to quibble about, but apart from the fact that I'd be less enthusiastic about snails and slugs, I can't! Good stuff!
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on 1 September 2012
Overall this book is well-researched, up-to-date and is refreshingly honest about the feasability & effectiveness of many widlife gardening techniques. I think it is essential for any gardener, and provides ideas for people who just want to encourage a few more bird and bees, to those who are really interested in the conservation of our ancient habitats and diverse wildlife.

The wildlife gardening calendar is particularly useful. A large section of the book is divided by different kinds of wildlife, so you can look up bees or newts or a specific species of bird and it tells you exactly what you need, and !finally! it includes a whole section on gardening for the neglected 'hidden world' - bugs, beetles, spiders, liverworts, lichens and ants). Equally, if you are looking for instructions to create a wildlife flower meadow, heathland, woodland, wetland (etc) there are specific pages on each habitat.

There is a top 400 garden plants for wildlife section, which I found essential for buying new plants and seeds. There are plenty of colour photos, diagrams and instructive, easy to acomplish techniques.

I highly recommend this book!! You will not be disappointed.
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on 1 August 2013
Lovely book to read, Written by somebody with a good sense of humour! An author who really seems to care. Not to complex, and easily leads from one chapter to the next! Once started, you don't want to put it down! Lots, and lots of information suitable to the complete novice, and the expert! A great book, with lovely pictures. Children will love this book as well. Lots of advice, with sensible (and 'home made') ways to attract, and help the wildlife.Can't reccomend it enough. Great book!!
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on 7 April 2011
For someone just getting into wildlife gardening this is an excellent read. Incredibly well laid out, very readable, with lots of beautiful pictures, detailed diagrams and useful information on creating habitats for particular wildlife.

I've had this book for a fortnight and have read it from cover to cover, but keep going back to it for reference.

My new favorite gardening book which I give my highest recommendation.
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on 25 June 2014
Bought this book as a companion to the RSPB Handbook of Garden Wildlife, and the two books complement each other in providing an overall guide to attracting wildlife to your garden. The book is split into easy to read sections, with clear bullet points, so it is easy to find the information you are looking for. One section gives a breakdown of birds, butterflies, mammals, insects, and numerous other small creatures you may find in your garden. It then tells you what food and habitat each one prefers so that you can provide favourable conditions to attract them. It does make the important point that you will only attract what is already in the vicinity, maybe obvious if you stop and think about it!
Another section tells you how to create different habitats such as a wildflower meadow, heathland, or woodland if you have the space, but also advises on small gardens, balconies or low maintenance, so there is something for everyone. There is a section on the top 400 plants for wildlife, and a monthly calender of jobs to do in the garden.
This is a comprehensive, well written guide for people of all abilities and different size gardens. The sleeve note says that Adrian Thomas has tried to write the book he would like to have had when he first started, I think he has succeeded, a fine reference book which should prove invaluable for many years to come
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on 19 October 2010
This book covers all the ranges of wildlife that could be in your garden. Friends and those you might think are foes.
More infomation on horticulture and habitats than you expect. An excellent starting point. Light harted book, and very easy to read and use.
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