ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

The Wildlife Sanctuary Garden

Foreword Review — May / June 1999

Gardening is blooming in the United States. More people list gardening as their favorite leisure activity over any other outdoor recreation. To some, gardening is the growing of vegetables. To others, it is the maintaining of an inherited or created landscape design. Nearly twenty years ago, Buchanan moved into her present Washington home. A home that is now surrounded by “a healthy garden ecosystem (that) attracts animals who have established the predator-prey cycle that controls pests naturally.”

The Wildlife Sanctuary Garden is a work of passion. A recommended first addition to any gardener who has any inkling that they may want to turn their Eden into a refuge for plant and animal. From initial design to a completed bog garden, this book is enjoyable reading. One is warned, however, not to dig up their front lawn until one understands the basics and, more importantly, what zoning restrictions may allow. Of course, this is all covered in the book. Mistakes? Sure the author has made some. All gardeners learn by selecting the wrong plant for the wrong place. Many of these errors are explained, so that the reader can avoid the author’s missteps and create their own misadventures.

Besides being a haven for wildlife, the garden can be a sanctuary for the homeowner. To escape into the solitude of a quiet refuge after the conflicts of the day, or to seek strength in a few quiet moments in the morning, what greater gifts can nature give? And what greater gift can the gardener give to the earth? Enjoy the beauty of the dragonfly resting on a water iris, the scratching of a towhee in the leaves or a preying mantis silently stalking the next meal.

Although Buchanan’s own experiences are in the state of Washington, she has included quotes from gardeners in most interesting gardening zones, making the topic universal for most of the United States. There is an Internet applicable appendix and an interesting writing style makes for enjoyable reading.

David Zimmerman