This past week I was invited (twice!) to participate in a meme called the Earth Day Reading Project. This meme was created by The Sage Butterfly in honor of Earth Day (Friday, April 22). We are asked to share books that have inspired us to live sustainably or participate in a green act.
Many things have inspired me to try and garden in a more natural way but of the books I have read these are the ones that stand out.
The Rodale Book of Composting: Easy Methods for Every Gardener
Some years ago we rented a house that came with a compost bin. Although I fully supported the idea of compost I had no experience in creating or using it. That black plastic bin was a bit intimidating when I first saw it and I needed to learn what to do with it. I purchased this book and brought it home only to read it all in one sitting. This book was an exceptional introduction to composting as it discusses so many different aspects of compost. It begins by talking about what compost is and how it is produced naturally in forests. Then it moves on to composting throughout history and discusses the different methods that have been used in agriculture at different times. From there it talks about composting today. How to build a compost bin, the materials you can use to create compost, the differences between hot and cold compost, and how to use the finished product. Since reading this book composting has become one of my most basic tools in gardening. By understanding this very fundamental process I gained knowledge of the natural world as a whole and the life cycle of plants and insects came together in my mind.
Northwest Coastal Wildflowers (Northwest Wildflower)
There was a provincial park that we visited regularly when we lived in British Columbia and one visit I wandered through the general store and came across this field guide. It's relatively small as pocket guides are. Each page contains several pictures of flowers and some basic identification information. I never paid a lot of attention to wildflowers before but this book contained pretty pictures of flowers and I became interested in trying to see if I could find them on my walks. Then I realized that some of the flowers in my book were actually in my yard and I began identifying plants within the confines of my garden area. Suddenly a whole new world opened up. Plants that I had virtually ignored previously had a name and a purpose. Once I realized how many weeds were wildflowers the world around me was a whole lot more interesting and native plants became just as beautiful as garden ornamentals.
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed
I have already written a detailed review of this book here but it deserves another mention as it so thoroughly affected my perception of forests. It made me consider their place in history. Large trees that you see today may have been standing when European settlers first touched the shores of North America. It also made me consider their value. From economic value through tourism and logging to ecological values of air quality and wildlife habitat. After reading this book I could no longer see a tree as just a tree. I was thinking about it's growth, the conditions required to cultivate it, the animals it fed and sheltered, the spiritual significance and beauty it presents to humans and the monetary value it presents to our communities.
I would like to thank Karin at Southern Meadows and Debbie at A Garden of Possibilities who both asked me to participate in this meme. Bloggers like Karin and Debbie have inspired me and continue to inspire me to consider how my garden affects the world around me.
I would like to invite the following bloggers to join in this meme and tell us about books that have inspired them this Earth Day.
• Blush and Bees
• My Weeds Are Very Sorry
• Casa Mariposa