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RHS Companion to Wildlife Gardening

RHS Companion to Wildlife Gardening

Fully revised and updated by the author, this is the perennial and comprehensive guide to the art of wildlife gardening from the RHS, freshly illustrated and bursting with new ideas and projects.


Chris Baines has championed wildlife gardening for more than 40 years and this book is often quoted as the “wildlife gardener’s bible”. Chris created a Rich Habitat Garden on BBC TV Gardeners’ World as long ago as 1979 and made the first-ever wildlife garden at Chelsea Flower Show in 1985, when How to Make a Wildlife Garden shook the horticultural establishment by becoming an instant best seller. It has been in print ever since! In the beginning, gardening with nature was seen by some as a laughable minority interest. Forty years later it is absolutely central to the pleasure that many families gain from their gardens.


This new edition still includes all Chris’s enthusiasm for his subject, and the very practical advice that has guided two generations of gardeners, but his 40-year perspective now also provides a unique insight into the way horticultural attitudes have changed. He provides a commentary on the gains and losses achieved through wildlife gardening and he celebrates the expanding knowledge achieved through research by the R H S and through citizen-science programmes such as The Big Garden Bird Watch.


Chris has always encouraged the weaving together of nature conservation and practical horticulture. He is first and foremost a gardener with a love of wildlife, but he is also seen as a major conservation innovator. His personal initiative International Dawn Chorus Day is now a world-wide annual event, and he helped to pioneer the UK’s urban nature conservation movement. Chris’s passion for practical conservation can be seen in his own inner-city garden, but his influence has spread across the wider landscape. Many schools use his books to help bring more nature into their grounds, and wildlife habitat management has become an increasingly common feature of public parks.


Most importantly, the core idea of working with nature has begun to influence the wider landscape, and Chris has long been a leader in the field of habitat restoration and nature recovery. In this new edition Chris expands on his ideas for linking nature recovery to climate change across the whole landscape, from mountain moorland to lowland farmland, and from urban rivers to shallow coastal waters. What began as a gardening revolution decades ago now has an exciting role to play in dealing with floods and droughts, with rising sea level, overheating cities and the need to capture carbon. This new and expanded edition of the gardening classic is undoubtedly a conservation manifesto for our changing times.


Chris Baines is a horticulturist, a landscape architect, an award-winning writer and broadcaster and one of the UK's leading environmental campaigners. He is a national Vice President of the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, an RSPB lifetime achievement medallist, and an adviser to the National Trust. Chris was one of the original presenters of BBC Countryfile, has served as a trustee of the National Lottery, as an environmental adviser to the Millennium Dome and the 2012 London Olympics, and he is regarded both nationally and internationally as a pioneering leader in the field of nature recovery and wildlife gardening.

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