By Jerry Rothstein
Our neighborhood is blessed with one of the finest book stores focused on one topic, though it is a very broad one — horticulture as the art and science of growing, knowing and hoeing about the plant world.
Terrace Horticultural Books (THB) is the kind of place that a book lover and gardener would like to be locked into over a weekend, and even then she would not have made much of a dent in the thousands of volumes and hundreds of topics present. How to grow petunias? Biblical plants? Planning a vegetable garden? The questions could continue almost indefinitely.
THB is also one of the richest on-line sources, and owner Kent Petterson is well connected with gardeners and scholars from the Twin Cities, throughout the state and Midwest, and beyond.
Twice a year Kent holds an Open House week. In the November example, he presented his annual Terrace Award — the twelfth — to Master Gardener Warren Banks. And at the other end of the week, author John J. Moriarty came to sign copies of his new book A Field Guide to the Natural World of the Twin Cities (with photographs by Siah L. St. Clair).
Warren Banks has worked and volunteered to help sustain home gardeners and anyone interested in horticulture. His efforts helped many to be more successful in their efforts to beautify their homes, businesses and public gardens. For thirty five years Warren has been a Dakota County/University of Minnesota Master Gardener. Warren has also served as a Tree Care Advisor for twenty five years. The Dakota County Test Gardens at U-More Park were one of his major projects.
John Moriarty is senior manager of wildlife for the Three Rivers Park District in the West Metro area. His intimate knowledge of those parks and many others (36 are featured in this book) is a fabulous gift to all nature lovers in our area. With beautiful color photographs by Siah L. St. Clair Director of Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley, the book will energize the reader’s understanding of our local natural areas that can be visited in a single day trip.
After a brief orientation to the Twin City natural area with highlights and maps, the book is divided into color-coded pages for easy reference to the natural biomes that are featured — Prairie, Savannas, Big Woods, Oak Woods, Wetlands, Fens, Bogs, Lakes and Rivers. A final category calls attention to our major metro parks and leaving no area unexplored, including your own backyard.
Within each biome, John has featured at least four significant natural areas you could explore. Each of these natural areas has a color map and a listing of animals and plants you could expect to encounter.
Older school-age children, their teachers and adults will find the book very useful in finding and experiencing the entire natural world that we have right here in and around the city.
Despite the long process of urban and agricultural development that has brought us so far away from the original environment, we still can find prairies, woods, and wetlands, along with pockets in the parks and open spaces throughout the cities and suburbs.
This field guide invites readers to investigate the Twin Cities’ wildlife — familiar and obscure, sun-loving or nocturnal, shy or easily observed. Here are snapping turtles, otters, and Cooper’s hawks, the wild lupines, white water lilies, and sprawling white oaks, among hundreds of species found in the wild, the park, or even the backyard. Including notes on invasive species and a list of references and organizations, this book is a perfect companion and an unparalleled resource for anyone interested in discovering the rich natural world of the Twin Cities.
For more information, including the table of contents, visit the book’s webpage: upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/a-field-guide-to-the-natural-world-of-the-twin. The authors will be discussing and signing the book on December 10, 7 p.m. at the Bell Museum of Natural History (2088 Larpenteur Ave W., St Paul), and on December 13, 7 p.m. at Common Good Books (38 Snelling Ave S., St Paul).
Terrace Horticultural Books, 503 St. Clair Ave., 651-222-5536; terracehorticulturalbooks.com.