A spot of father-daughter bonding before I left the north left me with a copy of No Nettles Required (Amazon link on the pick) for the train home. I'd read it by Bristol and was left entertained, educated and buzzing with energy. Too bad I had two hours on the train left to go.
First of all what makes this book so special. Well have you ever read a gardening book that says you must plant your daffodil bulbs the right way up and you think 'yeah? Sez who?'* Well that's kind of the feeling you can have reading about wildlife gardening. It's mostly based on common knowledge and not evidence based understanding of the way our gardens work.
No Nettles Required however is based on a study. Not the most exhaustive in the world but they readily admit that and they are open and transparent about methods and the why and how it was conducted. Indeed the only reason I'd suggest to avoid this book is if you have ethical concerns about the study which included trapping and preserving mini beasts.
So we start with good scientific foundations and from there offer practical tips that work. In gardens. In a real life study. Sure there aren't great big planting lists, the book explains why you don't need them. And no there aren't any guaranteed tips to get foxes in your yard, the book explains that wildlife isn't just mammals and birds. If you are concerned about real wildlife in real gardens this is a book you need to read.
And now a word for our balcony gardeners...
As a balcony gardener this is especially good news because, short of a hedgehog scaling the building, mammals aren't going to happen. Birds may not happen. Mini beasts though? Yes. We can have our wildlife. And considering our space is so lacking it's reassuring to know that we can do that without setting up a patch of nettles.
*Not only can you plant them any which way you please and they will right themselves with no time lost but they will also move up and down in the soil to get the the required depth. Is this creepy or cool... Who can tell...