Book Review: Attracting Garden Pollinators by Jean Vernon

When I saw that Jean Vernon had written a new book about garden pollinators I quickly asked if I could review it.  I had previously enjoyed her book on garden bees so I was confident that this would be an excellent new book.

I have not paid for this book, nor have I been paid to write this review.  My words and opinions are my own.  

If you have room for only one book on pollinators then this is the book for you, just pop it next to Jean's previous book, there's room for two really.  It is not the thickest of books you will ever buy but do not let that deceive you, it is packed full of information.  Jean starts by explaining what pollinators are and then talks us through different types.  One thing I really enjoyed reading was where Jean is talking about Cinnabar Moths and how they rely on ragwort to feed their larvae.  I wrote recently that I allow ragwort to grow in my suburban garden but was aware how toxic it can be.  The caterpillars eat the plant and the poison in the plant makes the caterpillars poisonous to predators; how clever is that!  The caterpillars, Jean goes on to say, also help control the spread of the plant as they consume it.  I was not worrying about the ragwort in my garden that I allow to to grow specifically to attract these beautiful moths as there is no livestock around here who might eat it, but now I worry even less.

Jean touches on the subject of bees, but as she has written a whole book about them, she does not spend too much time going over this ground again.  There is a section on wasps where Jean tries to convince us they are not all bad, and indeed tells us that hornets are not as aggressive as we may think (ok, I may think, I am very scared of wasps and hornets).  

We then move into hoverflies and fly flies, 

and possibly my favourite, the tiny Owl midge.  How cute is this!  I have never seen one but apparently this is no surprise.  They are tiny and are found in 'Wild Arum' or 'Cuckoo Pint' as it is also known as.  I do have this growing in the wild part of my garden so I am going to see if I can see some.

Jean covers so many different types of pollinators and also carnivourous plants that are not pollinated but consume the flies instead.  We also are told about planting for pollinators and how to attract them.  Some plants are good pollinators, but are not good for us to encourage into our gardens.  Himalayan Balsalm is great for pollinators but it is a real problem plant in many areas where it grows very aggressively.  Jean is not suggesting that we start growing it on purpose.

I really like this book, I like how Jean writes as it is informed but accessible.  It is the sort of book you want to close to hand so that when you see an insect pollinating you can go and look up what it is if you are not sure.  You may also want this to hand when planning new planting so that you choose plants to attract more pollinators into your growing space be that a garden, allotment or window box.  It is enjoyable to read and incredibly useful.  A winning combination.

Attracting Garden Pollinators by Jean Vernon is published by White Owl Books

Take care and be kind.

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