In a Desert Garden: Love and Death among the Insects, by John Alcock
Reading this book for me was a case of love at first sight/read. Alcock is an entomologist with a great love of his subject, and this love shines through this book, enlightening and uplifting it. The great work in the entomological world at the moment is not Pest Control or Genetic Research or even Taxonomy and Classification. It is overcoming that irrational abhorrence of insects that pervades the minds of the majority of the people of the world. Or at least people in the Western portion of the world anyway. John Alcock’s book with its easily read flowing style and its oozing enthusiasm is a major lintel in the house of human-insect reparation.
It is the story of his abandonment of the ubiquitous grass lawn that so many Americans strive to maintain in the face of Natures opposition. It describes the methods and means of how he went about converting his garden into a little patch of near-native desert. It then goes on to share with us the joys of having the native wildlife return to your garden. The cost of the maintenance of these thousands of lawns in Arizona and nearby states is phenomenal, not just in terms of money but in terms of damage to the environment. The more people who follow John’s lead the better place Arizona will be to live in and the more balanced and at peace will be the environment.
John Alcock shows in this book that even in a suburban habitat like Tempe Arizona, living in harmony with nature is easier, cheaper, and more enjoyable than attempting to subdue it. Though I love what John Alcock has done in his garden and hope fervently that millions of Americans will follow his lead. I love even more the fact that he has written this book to encourage others to escape the barrenness of an unnatural grass sward for the beauty of the fertile desert. Buy this book, give to friends and enemies alike, put it in your local library and of course read it and learn from it yourself.
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