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David Beaulieu

The Case for Weeds

By March 2, 2012

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Do you enjoy history? Do you enjoy good writing? Do you enjoy looking at an issue from the less-than-usual perspective? If you answered yes to these questions, I think you will enjoy Richard Mabey's book, Weeds.

picture of dandelions in bloomThe subtitle of Mabey's work is In Defense of Nature's Most Unloved Plants. I've picked up on that word "Defense" in my review, inviting you to see Mabey as (at least on one level) a sort of advocate in court, making the case for weeds. If you've ever felt skepticism towards the war on weeds, you'll appreciate the thoroughness of Mabey's defense.

Indeed, Weeds is a good read even if treated only on this one level. But for those looking for a bit more, there's a philosophical point or two lurking in the background throughout the book. My review points you towards this aspect of the work, as well.

Read review: Weeds

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Photo ©2007 David Beaulieu (licensed to About, Inc.)

Comments

March 7, 2012 at 12:30 am
(1) Scotty says:

I must check out that book.

A weed is just a plant growing where you don’t want it.

Without weeds I would have no lawn.If it’s green,I’m happy.

I’m rather partial to creeping charlie.It adds nice texture to my ‘lawn’.

I’ve always thought that dandelions look like little mums.What’s wrong with that?You can make a killer wine from them and the tender young leaves are nice in a salad.

But don’t get me started on Lily of the Valley.

Vile weed.

March 8, 2012 at 8:04 am
(2) landscaping says:

Scotty, I wrote a piece on creeping charlie that you might be interested in. Not only is it not bad-looking, but — as I observe in this article — it also perfumes the air when you mow it. Enjoying this aroma on a warm summer’s evening almost makes mowing tolerable. And as for dandelions, I love the sight of them in a green pasture with a red barn in the background (what can I say, I’m a New Englander!).

March 9, 2012 at 3:59 pm
(3) Scotty says:

Hi David

Wow.Another creeping Charlie aficionado:)I’ll be sure to read your piece.

A few other ‘weeds’ I have and don’t mind are common purslane(edible),creeping speedwell(nice little purple flower)and field bindweed(morning glory like flower but on a miniature scale).I even like white clover.

I wont tolerate broad leaf plantain though.The leaves are not very attractive and like all perennials, they will eventually die out and when they do,they can leave a bare patch.They should not be confused with plantain lily(hosta).The many hosta cultivars have been bred for their beautiful leaves.

Well,I just let the lawn naturalize with various bulb plants and so called ‘weeds’.

To each his/her own.

Cheers

March 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm
(4) landscaping says:

Thanks, Scotty. I have a piece on purslane, too. It’s one of the wild foods I genuinely enjoy (no Euell Gibbons jokes, now!).

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