The Wild Excellence: Notes from Untamed America

From her humble six-acre patch among the pines, Patten has experienced more land-use and wildlife issues than most Westerners encounter in a lifetime. Patten digs into everything, from archaeological preservation to trapping to wolf and grizzly management, probing the bones of each with a thoughtful calm born of research and experience. This updated edition has new photos and a new preface. More
Available ebook formats: epub
About Leslie Patten

Leslie Patten is a well-known landscape designer in the Bay Area of California. Her work has been featured in Mill Valley’s Outdoor Art Club Garden Tours, in the Marin Independent Journal, Marin Art & Garden Center tours, the Garden Conservancy, and Marin County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program tours. She grew up in the Los Angeles area and went to college at the University of Santa Cruz. After college she spent the next thirty years living all over Northern California, in Lake, Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz counties. She has hiked and backpacked all over the state, including desert, mountain, and coastal regions, gaining her familiarity with native plants and their habitats.

Leslie’s background is in horticulture and botany, but she also has naturalist training and worked for over eight years at a museum lab preparing wildlife specimens of museum quality. She has assisted with spotted owl studies, as well as wolf and grizzly bear studies as a citizen scientist. Her knowledge of tracking, wildlife, and native plants of the West greatly enhances her ability to create successful designs and wildlife gardens. Low water gardens has been her specialty in the Bay Area for over twenty years, but she also has designed tropical, English, and Zen gardens. Her expertise is best described as a habitat specialist.

She now splits her time between the wilds of northwest Wyoming and the Bay Area. Her ongoing blog can be seen at Her business website with photos of many jobs can be viewed at

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