Resources for the Urban Wilderness

Whether looking for a escape in the city or seeking to bring a little nature home, here are some resources that can be useful.  Since I’m based in Los Angeles, it will be a little California-centric but not exclusively.

Any suggestions, let me know at Contact.


Bringing Nature Home” by Douglas W. Tallamy – A must have.  Douglas Tallamy lays out a very convincing and scientific reason for planting native plants in the garden.  If you have any concern for our environment and steps you can take to help, “Bringing Nature Home” is an excellent start.

The American Meadow Garden” by John Greenlee – If you are looking to convert your yard to a more natural state, “The American Meadow Garden” will tell you all you need for creating a viable meadow to replace your lawn.

“Around the World in 80 Trees” by Jonathan Drori – Taking us on a global excursion, Jonathan Drori explores the role of trees in nature, local cultures, and world history.  An excellent reminder how intertwine we are with the natural world.

California Native Plants for the Garden” by Carol Bernstein, David Fross, Bart O’Brien – My ‘bible’ for native gardening in California.  Listing hundreds of California native plants that are suitable for the garden, this book will help you find plenty of options for your yard.

Coyote America” by Dan Flores – If there is a signature animal for the urban wilderness, it is the coyote.  Dan Flores traces the biological and cultural history of North America’s unique canine, dispelling a lot of myths along the way and introducing us to some new ones (in a very good way…)

Designing California Native Gardens” by Glenn Keator and Alrie Middlebrook – Another book for the California native gardener.  Very informative, breaking down the various California zones and the plants that work best in them.

Reimagining the California Lawn” by Carol Bernstein, David Fross, Bart O’Brien – If you are seeking to replace your lawn, “Reimagining the California Lawn” is full of ideas and possibilities.  Written by the authors of “California Native Plants for the Garden,” this book also includes plants for other regions that will do well in the California sunshine.

The Sibley Guide to Birds” by David Allen Sibley – If you are going to plant natives, you are probably hoping to attract some wildlife.  “The Sibley Guide to Birds” is a beautifully illustrated guidebook to help you identify the feather visitors coming to your yard.

“Wild LA” by Lila Higgins and Gregory B. Pauly with Jason G. Goldman and Charles Hood – A great introduction to the Los Angeles urban wilderness and natural history. From the La Brea Tar Pits to native and introduce species to hikes around the city, this book will give you a good start for exploring nature in the city.


Calflora – A database of the plants found growing wild in California, both natives and non-natives.  Useful for plant identification and for seeing what grows locally.

California Native Plant Society  – Many states have native plant societies that can be a great resource for anyone interested in local flora. The California Native Plant Society website has lots of information plus a great tool, Calscape.  Enter in your zip code and find which plants from your area that can be used in the garden.

Chance of Rain by Emily Green – The website for Emily Green, a journalist who writes on environmental and water issues as well as gardening with natives.

Las Pilitas Nursery – I haven’t had a chance to visit the Las Pilitas Nurseries, but I often turn to their website for information for gardening with native plants and the different plants that are available.  An excellent resource.

Modern Hiker – With of plenty of hikes around Los Angeles and beyond, Modern Hiker is a great source for finding new trails to explore

Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants – The Theodore Payne Foundation is an incredible California native plant nursery located in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles.  But besides being a great source of plants, the website is full of excellent information about gardening with natives.  Their California Native Plant Database has information on hundreds of plants.  Also, be sure to look into the classes offered by them for both the beginner and experience gardener.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s