The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson – Book Recommendation

I listened to this book because I’m starting a new garden… again! I have a few pots and plants that have moved from house to house with us and these give me a foundation to work with. But I want to try something new. New to me, at least. I want to focus on native and pollinator-friendly plants to create a happy environment for all sorts of creatures. Renters aren’t known for looking after gardens so I hope to create a garden that will thrive even after we move out and can function as a positive hub for the wildlife in our area.

The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson

I enjoyed The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson more than I expected. Those who know me, know I love plants and birds and nature… but insects? It’s not that dislike them, but I can’t say I love them either! Goulson’s book sheds some light on the interconnectivity of living things in the garden. It highlights the unseen life of the millions of creatures we share our homes with and why it’s important to look after them.

“Gardening to save the planet is not that difficult, Goulson assures us: grow a variety of flowers, such as foxgloves for long-tongued bumblebees and thyme for honeybees, honeysuckle for butterflies and even ivy (there’s a species of bee that depends on it). Plant trees if you have the space. Don’t overly tidy your garden – a pile of old logs is a haven for insects. Create a miniature wildflower meadow by not mowing part of your lawn. Compost your kitchen waste and never buy peat-based compost. Dig a pond…”

Quote from The Guardian: “The Garden Jungle by Dave Goulson review – gardening to save the planet”

There are many practical tips on growing a more sustainable garden, with research and insights into environmental issues and some historical context. There are uplifting chapters covering topics like how to encourage pollinators to visit your garden and how to grow your own fruit trees and vegetables. The chapter on pesticides and toxins was concerning, to say the least, and even though this might be “old news” for some, I found it unsettling. A surprise was Goulson’s matter-of-fact discussion about how road kill can be a good way to stock your freezer with meat… This might be one practical tip I’m not ready to take up.

If you have a garden, big or small, I’d recommend this book. I found the lists of pollinator-friendly plants and berry bushes for birds particularly helpful. As a novice gardener I felt the book equipped me to move forward with my gardening project and what’s more, I learnt something new about ants, worms, hoverflies, moths, and caterpillars…


Hi, I’m Chantelle! Thank you for visiting the Wild Library blog. I write about books, nature walks, gardening, and plant identification. If you’re new here you might enjoy having a look at some more book recommendations and reviews.

Happy gardening!

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