Don’t like weeds? Perhaps you need an attitude adjustment and Pamela Jones’ book Just Weeds is just the thing to help you. Jones does not regard weeds as the scourge of the garden but sees them as one of nature’s most generous gifts. Her love and enthusiasm for weeds is contagious and give you good reasons to turn contempt into appreciation and acceptance.
Beginning with yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and ending with great mullein (Verbascum thapsus), Jones presents her pick of the thirty most common weeds. To make the list the weed must have directly or indirectly served humankind for many years and have an intriguing story that would capture the readers’ attention and arouse their curiosity. By relating the stories of these special plants, Jones aims to inform and entertain nature lovers everywhere.
Each of the thirty entries begins with a full color drawing of the plant and a page presenting its vital statistics including recognizable features, uses, size, habitat, propagation and control. Following a discussion on the origin of both common and botanical names, stories gathered from myth, folklore, and history roll out. Did you know, for example that shepard’s purse is a closet carnivore with its seeds attracting and digesting microscopic animals in the soil? That horsetails appeared on the earth in Paleozoic times long before the dinosaurs roamed, and has been used as a polish and scouring material for over 400 years? Or that the Germans substituted stinging nettle fiber for cotton in the manufacture of uniforms for World War I? If you suffer from pimples or the blotchy skin of old age, try the juice from oxeyed daisy; if floral clocks interest you, try chicory that opens its flowers at the same time every afternoon; or if you want a long lasting ink try the juice of pokeweed. Many of the weeds are edible and Jones provides some tasty recipes including mild and hot mustard, a barberry dessert, and Indian lemonade made from sumac. The information on each weed is delivered in an easy conversational style that entertains as well as captivates
Just Weeds is the kind of book that can be read any time without regard to order. Each entry is a unit unto itself and can be enjoyed alone or in sequence. See a new weed in the garden? Great! Read up on it and enjoy it for the unique plant that it really is. Anyone who enjoys nature in general or plants in particular can find a wealth of information and hours of reading enjoyment.
To buy Just Weeds: History, Myths, and Uses from Amazon.com click here.