In a Desert Garden: Love and Death Among the Insects

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 - Gardening - 186 pages
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With canny insight and bone-dry wit, John Alcock, a specialist in the ecology of the American Southwest, introduces us to the lives and loves of desert insects as they forage through his backyard oasis. Creating his own desert garden behind his suburban home in Tempe, Arizona, Alcock scrutinizes every square inch of soil detailing the exotic plant life he finds and offering tips on its peccadilloes and preservation.

The true heroes of this story, however, are the bugs of Alcock's backyard. We are drawn into complex plots almost biblical in nature of life and love, survival and death. Two male earwigs caught in each other's pincers battle for a prized female. A female mantis finishes copulating, beheads her mate, and cannibalizes his body for its precious protein.

With each detail, Alcock pieces together the entire ecosystem of his desert paradise. Always amusing and instructive, and sometimes dramatic, In a Desert Garden provides an eye-opening meditation on the joys of planting, weeding, pruning, and, most of all, bug-hunting.
 

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IN A DESERT GARDEN: Love and Death Among the Insects

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A spirited primer in Sonoran Desert ecology, cloaked in a memoir of gardening. To judge by this graceful little study of insects and desert plants, Alcock (The Masked Bobwhite Rides Again, 1993), a ... Read full review

In a desert garden: love and death among the insects

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Alcock (zoology, Arizona State Univ.) has written yet another book dealing with his specialty: desert ecology in the American Southwest. His previous works include The Masked Bobwhite Rides Again (LJ ... Read full review

Contents

TROUBLE IN PARADISE AND A PARTIAL SOLUTION
9
How TO REVOLUTIONIZE A YARD
17
THE GARDENERS FRIENDS
27
COMPOST LOVERS
41
LAWN LOVERS
57
NATIVE STINGERS
71
CAMOUFLAGE EXPERTS
95
TRANSIENTS
129
PARADISE REGAINED
158
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
169
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About the author (1997)

Turid Forsyth is a writer, artist, and photographer. She lives in Ontario.

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