To see accurate pricing, please choose your delivery country.
United States
All Shops

British Wildlife

8 issues per year 84 pages per issue Subscription only

British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

Subscriptions from £33 per year

Conservation Land Management

4 issues per year 44 pages per issue Subscription only

Conservation Land Management (CLM) is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles. CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters.

Subscriptions from £26 per year
Academic & Professional Books  Conservation & Biodiversity  Species Conservation & Care

Gardening for Gorillas Trials, Tricks, and Triumphs of a Zoo Horticulturalist

By: Stephen C Butler(Author), Jane Powers(Introduction By)
369 pages, colour photos
Gardening for Gorillas
Click to have a closer look
Average customer review
  • Gardening for Gorillas ISBN: 9781914225949 Paperback Apr 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Price: £39.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles
Images Additional images
Gardening for GorillasGardening for GorillasGardening for GorillasGardening for Gorillas

About this book

During the author's 37 years as Curator of Horticulture, Dublin Zoo transformed from an almost Victorian appearance to a verdant green ark. A progressive masterplan focused on animal welfare and themed habitats reflect the spirit of the animals’ natural homelands. Plants have been instrumental in achieving that, for the visitors, and the animals. A well-planted habitat gives shade, shelter, and natural enrichment for the animals, all increasing health and well-being. Choosing the right plants to survive is key!

Stories of animal interactions with the plants, and insights into the creative thinking well outside of the box of normal horticultural endeavour, make for an entertaining read. But it’s not just purely gardening. The last chapter details many educational stories about plants, their names, their history, their origins, or their interesting and unusual botanical points, especially any animal connections. There is something for everyone on these pages, irrespective of their gardening expertise.


Preface   iii
Introduction   ix
Thanks   xi
Dedication   xii
Preamble   xiii

1. Early days. A Victorian appearance   1
2. First successes, changing minds and becoming sneaky   8
3. First small projects   15
4. More developments, bigger and with a masterplan   30
5. Design and thinking ahead   35
6. Cooperation, learning from peer groups   49
7. Asian Elephants – Kaziranga Forest Trail   52
8. African Savanna, a totally different habitat   78
9. Family Farm, a small area for Irish farm animals – and plants    126
10. Gorilla Rainforest, a massive task for the horticulture team   141
11. Asiatic Lions and Sumatran Tigers, two very different habitats   182
12. Sea Lion Cove and Flamingo Lagoon, problems working with water   190
13. Orangutan Forest, more watery challenges   222
14. Soil Compaction and Urban Tree Soil, the answer lies in the soil   245
15. Mulching, a wonderful natural weed control system   265
16. Libertia, a most useful non-edible plant   271
17. Weed Control, a never ending and essential task   286
18. Fauna and Flora, uninvited guests, often welcome, but not always   291
19. Education, the most essential role for any zoo   299

Resources   356
Index   358

Customer Reviews (1)

  • Combines information and an enjoyable read.
    By Martin 4 May 2024 Written for Paperback
    We Are All Going to the Zoo Tomorrow is an enthusiastic song written by Tom Paxton in 1962. Readers of Gardening for Gorillas will be more enthusiastic and a lot better informed about their visit. Stephen Butler has brought his 37 years of experience as a horticulturist for Dublin Zoo to bear as he describes the many different facets of developing all forms of life within the Zoo.

    At the heart of much of the book is a passion for the five domains of animal welfare. These are:
    1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
    2. Freedom from discomfort
    3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
    4. Freedom to express normal behaviour
    5. Freedom from fear and distress.

    These freedoms need to be maintained across a variety of different domains that have been developed for different animals. Asian elephants, an African Savanna, a family farm, an Orangutan Forest as well as the Gorilla Rainforest are just some of the domains. All the environments that have required careful research and planning to bring them to life.

    It is not just the animals that need to be thought about, there are insects, staff and visitors as well as Stephen’s prime concern, the plants. All plants are different and they have different relationships with the different animals. Some are poisonous for some animals and good for other animals. Prickly plants may keep animals away while others are a good source of food for some but not for all. Under everything else is the ground and the author takes time to spell out the consequences of human and animal footsteps compacting the soil. To keep soil in good condition large quantities of mulch are used and getting the right mulch in the right place is clearly an art form that Stephen’s team take pride in delivering.

    Stephen’s work in ensuring that plants are carefully observed and documented means that one white flowering plant now bears his name as liberia × butleri. Co-operation and working with other zoos have been developed over the years, learning from each other. Education and learning are key to modern zoo keeping and Gardening for Gorillas reviews many of the education resources available in Dublin and other zoos.

    A chance to read Gardening for Gorillas will make it more likely that you will be going to the zoo tomorrow, both enjoying the visit and learning so much from it.
    Was this helpful to you? Yes No


Spanning 50 years, Stephen Butler's career has involved not just the world-famous gardens at Hampton Court Palace, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, but also a few years in Bangladesh. Travel around that area, including Darjeeling in the foothills of the Himalayas, and Calcutta in the plains of the Ganges, certainly broadened the mind.

He has had a keen interest in gardening societies such as the Irish Garden Plant Society and the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland. Equally, involvement with horticultural organisations such as the Professional Gardeners Guild and Plant Heritage in the UK has been productive. Zoo plant groups too benefitted from his energy and knowledge.

By: Stephen C Butler(Author), Jane Powers(Introduction By)
369 pages, colour photos
Media reviews

"Not every gardener must accommodate tigers, meerkats, and giraffes. This book is an insight into Stephen Butler’s special world."
– Mary Hackett, Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland, The Journal Autumn 2020

"In the 37 years that Stephen Butler was curator of the gardens at Dublin Zoo, it transformed from an almost Victorian appearance to a verdant ark."
– Dr Klaus Schuling, Tiergarten Magazine

"Gardening for Gorillas has set the stage for a new area of literature regarding the field of zoo horticulture, it is hoped that this book will encourage more work of this nature as it is truly a fascinating subject."
– Jude Lamph, keeper, Peak Wildlife Park

"If I were starting a zoo or held a directorship at one (we can all dream!), this book would be amongst the first I would put on my shelf – because I’d want my zoo to be a zoological garden."
– Tim Brown, Zoo Grapevine & International Zoo News

"Gardening for Gorillas [...] is a fascinating record of the 37 years he spent transforming what was a botanically dull and uninspiring landscape into a series of beautifully planted spaces"
– Fionnuala Fallon, Irish Times contributor specialising in gardening

"A fascinating book by Dublin Zoo’s head gardener explores his efforts to make animal environments more authentic."
– Michael Viney, Irish Times contributor, broadcaster, film-maker and natural-history author

"Stephen Butler has been an important figure in the gardening community for decades. His knowledge is encyclopaedic, fuelled by a robust curiosity that drives him to investigate the world of plants and horticulture from many angles."
– Jane Powers,, garden & nature writer

"It is time for those of us who complain about our garden pests, slugs and snails, greenfly, blackfly and aphids in general, vine weevils, leatherjackets, rabbits, foxes and badgers, even pigeons and pheasants to put things into some perspective"
– Paddy Tobin, book reviewer for The Irish Garden Plant Society

"This legacy of Stephen Butler‘s longterm work for Dublin Zoo is the first book about zoo ecology and condensed wisdom about zoo horticulture, particularly in climatic areas similar to Ireland. With his distinct style and sense of humour"
– Monika Fiby, chief editor, founder, & manager of ZooLex Design Organisation

Current promotions
Field Guide SaleNHBS Moth TrapNew and Forthcoming BooksBuyers Guides