Book Review: Xerces Society’s Gardening for Butterflies

by Glenn Steinberg

Xerces Society.  Gardening for Butterflies:  How You Can Attract and Protect Beautiful, Beneficial Insects.  Portland, OR:  Timber Press, 2016.  ISBN 9781604695984.

Gardening for Butterflies is an excellent – though basic – book about gardening for butterflies and moths.  As someone who has been gardening with native plants for many years now, I found most of the information about garden design, plant selection, and seeding/plant installation to be pretty rudimentary – although even I learned of a new native species that I’d like to investigate for my garden.  For me, the sections on different families of butterflies and moths were the most interesting and informative parts of the book, since I knew very little previously about anything but monarch and swallowtail butterflies (and, frankly, not a lot about them).  There was also a very basic but informative section on observing, photographing, and raising butterflies.

What makes this beginner’s guide stand out is that it gives good, solid information, divided up into short, digestible sections with lots and lots of first-rate photographs.  Eventually, you’ll probably want to get other, more detailed books about native plants and more comprehensive guides of the members of the order Lepidoptera.  But as an introductory book on butterfly gardening, Gardening for Butterflies is hard to beat.