By Steven B. Carroll and Steven D. Salt
Drawings by Errol D. Hooper, Jr.
Even a relatively small garden is a miniature ecosystem. It includes a surprising diversity of organisms that interact in a myriad of ways. Some are permanent residents, others come and go in search of a meal or a mate. An insect feeding on a garden plant is simultaneously hunted by predators and weakened by parasites; it competes with other herbivores for choice food plants; it is hindered in its feeding by the plants' chemical and physical defenses; and it challenges other members of its species for the best mates and locations for egg-laying. Ecologists Carroll and Salt argue that the more completely we understand these interactions, the better gardeners we become. The authors cite hundreds of examples drawn from personal experience and from literature on gardening and ecology.