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For 30 years, Owen recorded all the wildlife in her Leicester garden. Using several trapping and monitoring methods, she recorded 2673 species of plants and animals. She discusses diversity, abundance, seasonality and annual fluctuations and relates these to weather, changes in surrounding land use and other ecological factors.
The groups covered include butterflies, moths, beetles, hoverflies (Owen's specialist area), bees, wasps, ants, flies, dragonflies, sawflies, psocids, bugs, lacewings, grasshoppers, crickets, myriapods, spiders, molluscs and earthworms, as well as plants and vertebrates. The natural history of each group is also outlined.
Owen's earlier book, The Ecology of a Garden, presented the results of the first 15 years of her survey. It was a landmark publication that became an essential reference for urban ecologists. This new stand-alone work brings the whole survey together by adding many new records and analysing long-term trends.