Weed: Good Plant or Bad Plant?


Spring is here.  It’s time to start getting the yard ready for warm weather. At the local library, I found The Book of WEEDS How to deal with plants that behave badly by Ken Thompson.

Once I realized that the author of The Book of Weeds is an Englishman, I couldn’t help hearing John Cleese reading to me about “how to deal with plants that behave badly. “  In the background, the cast of Monty Python’s Flying Circus is shouting, “Bad plant, bad plant!”

Mr. Thompson uses humor to address a gardener’s “pain in the grass.”   He laments that weeds are here to stay and there is no magic method for getting rid of them.  He suggests that weeds are just “plants growing in the wrong place.”  The single most useful weeding tool is [still] the garden hoe, he concedes.

Herbicides do not work.  According to Mr. Thompson they do more damage to the greater environment than to the intended weed.   Most weeds have become herbicide-resistant he reports.  Alternative weed destruction methods are mentioned such as high voltage electricity, liquid nitrogen, UV light, microwaves, lasers, and robot weeders.  But Mr. Thompson says these are not ready for prime time as they are as “dangerous to the operator as to the weeds.” I have more mental images of an out of control robot weeder chasing the Monty Python crew across a field of oversized dandelions!

Like other botanical books, it contains colorful illustrations and profiles of the most common weeds.  This Common Reader thinks the author is joking, “Must we judge weeds as good or bad?”

If you have a friend who likes to garden and to laugh, this reference book would make a great gift.

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