Need a last second gift idea for the summer doldrums?
Can I suggest to you a latest offering from Princeton Press (who gave me a free copy to review)?
Why go out into the summer heat when you can bring photo subjects to you? (Some assembly required).
The first 3rd of the book is a review of butterfly biology basics, range maps for some of the common showy species with information on their food plant as both adults and caterpillars. There's intro information about the different families of butterflies and short accounts for some of the most common and widespread species. A lot of it is going to be duplicated if you already have Kaufman's (or a similar) butterfly field guide.
For birders probably there's more new information about the plants, which is the subject for the middle third of the book. Did you know some flowers produce only pollen and no nectar? The spiderwort I plant every few years will attract bees ... but no butterflies since they require the nectar.
Of course the book is chock full of eye candy photos.
The final third focuses on specific regions (Northwest, California, Plains, Midwest, Northeast, and Florida) to give more targeted recommendations about different plants.
There's a lot of information in this book. Honestly I would probably have included some specific layouts of things to plant for both small and medium sized plots and made it more obvious about the sun and shade requirements of the plants. Practically I think I would be more likely to try this if the book tried to give me less overall information. Personally I'd prefer more exact directions for example gardens that could be adapted to one's space rather than having all the information and then having to internalize it and come up with a plan.
In any case, the book is going on the shelf and I look forward to experimenting in the future.