280: Nancy Lawson on Humane Gardening.

Using native plants to creatively interact with wildlife and avoid landscaping conflicts.

Nancy is a columnist for All Animals magazine, as well as the founder of Humane Gardener – an outreach initiative dedicated to cultivating compassion for all creatures great and small through animal-friendly, environmentally-sensitive landscaping methods. She speaks frequently to local & national audiences, and volunteers as both a master naturalist and master gardener in central Maryland.

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Nancy is the author of The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife, published by Princeton Architectural Press in April 2017 and highlighted in Oprah magazine, the Washington Post, and Library Journal.

In This Podcast:

If you are a person who really cares about all wildlife and creatures great and small then it probably bothers you a lot if an animal is killed through human carelessness.  This is the podcast for you.  Nancy Lawson writes about smart gardening choices that can reduce the problems of invasive animals and insects, thereby reducing the need to cull or harm bothersome animals.  Even if you are not particularly protective of animals, she has ideas that can help reduce problematic visits and save your garden plants and veggies.

Listen in and learn about:

    • Writing for the Humane Society regarding geese and looking for effective solutions
    • Recognizing geese prefer the manicured lawns over other native landscaping
    • Using the flow of nature to address overpopulation of wildlife in cities
    • How native trees and grasses are helping the deer and removing the pressure for them to eat your gardens
    • How humane gardening helps develop balance without creating conflicts
    • How some deer resistant plants are invasive plants
    • How skunks can be helpful in the garden
    • Examples of different plants that can help get the desired results
    • Some issues with non-native plants
    • A sad story of a bear family that ate some berries
    • How some plants are so problematic to pollinators and native birds
    • Steps and ideas on how to humanely garden
      • Assess
      • Building native habitats & pollinator patches
      • Other things native birds and animals need
    • Letting your space go and seeing what happens
    • Identifying invasive plants before they get started by using vigorous native plants
    • Being sought out by Princeton Gardening Press and getting her book published

As well as:

Her failure – mowing over an eastern box turtle

Her success – her book because it helps people look at their spaces from other species perspectives

Her drive – Seeing the animals and the people, knowing it is so easy to make a difference

Her advice – Trust your plants and don’t worry about being a perfectionist

Books written by Nancy:

The Humane Gardener: Nurturing a Backyard Habitat for Wildlife

Nancy’s Book recommendations:

Wild Neighbors: The Humane Approach to Living with Wildlife Second Edition by John Hadidian with Margaret Baird, Maggie Brasted et. al.

The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan

How to reach Nancy:          

Website: HumaneGardener.com

Facebook: Humane Gardener

Twitter: @humanegardener

Instagram: @humanegardener 

Pinterest: Humane Gardener

Goodreads: Nancy Lawson



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