by Nancy Bauer
Coyote Ridge Press, 2001
56 pages, $14.95
In The Habitat Garden Book, Nancy Bauer deftly paints her philosophy: gardening for wildlife by creating habitats. Most books give instructions for attracting one type of critter at a time, usually birds or butterflies. Or they might tell how to negotiate a coexistence between wildlife and people so that no one is injured. But Bauer has written something different — a book tailored to the Bay Area, and its microclimates, soils, and diversity of plants as well as wildlife. She gives rules of thumb for creating habitats that will attract birds, butterflies, pollinators, and others: For example, include sunbaked rocks for butterflies to perch on and mud puddles for them to sip. Although Bauer provides vignettes of the plants, you will have to consult other sources for specific details on topics such as how to propagate shooting stars. Judith Larner Lowry’s Gardening With a Wild Heart might be a good place to start.
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Islais Creek Park is the first official San Francisco site on the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail.