Spring is here and many people are itching to get back into their yards and gardens, including the patrons and staff at the Northtown Library.

In June 2020, a shoreline buffer garden was installed by the library pond. This month, a butterfly garden will also be added to the grounds.

Using native plants and other best practices helps improve habitats for butterflies and other pollinators. Check out the following titles for ideas and inspiration:

“Attracting Birds and Butterflies: How to Plant a Backyard Habitat to Attract Winged Wildlife” by Barbara Ellis is a quick-reference guide for gardeners focused on nurturing birds and butterflies. The author details what attracts birds and butterflies to a garden, including flowers, trees, shrubs, grasses, water supply, shelter and vines that are appealing as a food source.

“Gardening for Butterflies” from the Xerces Society introduces you to several butterflies that need human help to design habitats where they can thrive. Some sections include tables of the best native plants by region for use in a butterfly garden and a detailed explanation of the various wildflowers, grasses and sedges, trees and shrubs, and vines to use. A list of additional resources for further reading is also included in the book.

“The Pollinator Victory Garden” by Kim Eierman provides knowledge and strategies to help a gardener transition their landscape into a pollinator haven. A pollinator-friendly garden boosts the habitats and food supplies that butterflies, bees, birds and other types of animals need to thrive. The book is helpful in describing the pollinator types and the plants that they love; it includes step-by-step instructions on creating a pollinator paradise; and it contains many informative plant lists.

If improving water quality in local water bodies is your focus, think about incorporating a rain garden to lessen water runoff and reduce pollution. Look for the following titles at your local library:

“Rain Gardens: Sustainable Landscaping for a Beautiful Yard and a Healthy World” by Lynn M. Steiner is a user-friendly handbook for the backyard gardener. Using many color photos, the authors show readers how to plan, build, plant and maintain their rain garden. The accompanying plant index features many native plants suitable for rain gardens.

“Creating Rain Gardens: Capturing the Ran for Your Own Water-Efficient Garden” by Cleo Woelfle-Erskine and Apryl Uncapher provides step-by-step instructions for designing and building rain gardens for any type of location. Case studies of a roadside rain garden, a prairie rain garden, rainwater harvesting system, and an edible rain garden along with various projects provide inspiration to readers.

Check out these titles and other gardening books at the library, or request a personalized list of materials through our Librarian Recommends form at anokacountylibrary.org. Many titles are available both in print at your local branch and in digital form through our new Libby eBooks app.

Dawn McKenzie is a library associate at the Northtown Branch.

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