This review originally appeared in the May/June 2014 issue of Northern Gardener.
If you are serious about native plants and pollinators, this is the book for you. Entitled Pollinators of Native Plants: Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants, the first three chapters provide an exhaustive course in all things pollination, including plant and insect anatomy and biology. Those 45 pages cover the pollinators, the pollinated and threats to the pollination process. It’s a bit overwhelming at first glance. Still, the importance of the topic justifies a rigorous “behind-the-scenes” review of the work native plants do to produce the environments we cherish.
With the scientific background established, Holm gets down to specifics. For each of 67 native plants, she provides basic information (flowering period, habitat, range, height) and which pollinators it interacts with and how. The profiles are grouped into three habitats: prairie, woodland edge and wetland edge.
Interestingly, Holm doesn’t offer much information about honeybees, pointing out that their contributions are well documented and beyond the scope of her book, or hummingbirds, which are not big players in pollination locally.
The last 67 pages have an extensive reference list, charts of interactions, visual and regular glossaries, information about common bee types, diagrams and plant lists for pollinator-friendly gardens, and visual and regular indices.
The author’s 15 years of experience as a landscape designer and horticulturist is evident throughout the well-researched text but her passion for native plants and their pollinators really shines through in her many exceptional photographs. Nearly every 6-inch by 9-inch page has multiple sharp color photos of specific plant-insect combinations.