Wild About Weeds

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 23 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Very informative and well laid out. Some good interviews with experts and inspirational ideas for the garden.
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4.5 stars.

It was nice reading a book about weeds since many people think of them as pests and try to eradicate them completely, sometimes forgetting that they're living things too (though I get that they could get uncontrollable and hurt the wanted plants). I share the same feelings with the author but of course not as strongly.

The first 1/3 part of the book is some basic information and history. The rest of the book is a page each for the recommended weeds to add to your garden. There's different categories depending on what soil they grow best and also there was a chapter on weeds that grow best in the shade. I was under the impression that most weeds are shrub-like so this was a pleasant surprise. There's also like 5 interviews with various experts.

Overall, this was nice to read though the beginning of the book was a bit lengthy.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with the digital copy for an honest review.
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I was delighted to have the opportunity to read this book.  I recently embarked on a programme of raiding the pastures around our home for what I considered wild flowers to transplant in my garden, to have neighbours ask why I was planting those ‘weeds”!  I wish I had had Jack Wallington’s book then – I love his description of rebel plants.
The first part of the book covers collecting seeds, dividing plants and design ideas. For me the best section is the second part which is divided into chapters covering a selection of plants for various areas/types of gardens  - from weeds for shady borders, to weeds for steps and walls.
The book gives detailed advice on various plants and useful information on growing conditions.  Each plant description starts with a summary; care, effort and rebelliousness are indicated on a scale of 0-5,  as well as  plant family, size, colour, flowers, soil and situation. I also liked the inclusion of the origin and range of each plant. Each plant is described in detail, with suggestions for how to bring them into your garden, as well as advice on how to control them and, if necessary, to eradicate them if they prove to be too invasive.  
This is a comprehensive, superbly laid out and informative book that would be a useful addition to any gardener’s bookshelf.
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There is a saying about weeds that "it is plant growing in the wrong place", I have some weeds in my garden, others that are in this books are prized possessions, and what I loved in my childhood was running in a field with lots of fabulous flowers growing wild, picking a bunch and taking them home for the kitchen table.
I love this book, I love the way that it looks at plants which have been constituted as weeds, and the information  that is given on each weed and the way it can be used in the garden.  There are interview spots where gardeners, landscapes, designers and biologist  are asked the same questions re weeds from all over, including Australia.  
Have a read, you'll never look at weeds in the same way.
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Bright and full of life, Wild about Weeds is an invitation to gardeners to reframe the way they think about weeds. In a rebellious, cheeky whisper, Wallington shares with us his perspective on harnessing the resilient super-powers of weeds to add whimsy, texture and interest to your garden while taking precautions for control and maintenance.

The photos in the book are quite stunning and showcase Wallington’s picks wonderfully, though the shallow depth of field in some photos left me wanting more shots for a clearer picture of what these fascinating plants look like. My only complaint is that the saturation was perhaps a little too intense, skewing colours, especially where the interviewees were pictured, quite severely.

Wallington gives a fantastic run-down on the place weeds can have in our own garden ecosystems before presenting us with his favourite weeds for various conditions and environments, with detailed recommendations on how to incorporate them into your garden and help them flourish while keeping them under control.

This would be an interesting read for any gardener with an interest in learning more about wild plants.
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Wild about Weeds: Garden Design with Rebel Plants is a gardening tutorial and design manual for incorporating more spontaneity and unfussy looks into the garden by using some native plants and 'weeds'. Released 22nd Oct 2019 by Laurence King, it's 176 pages and available in hardcover format.

I remember my grandmother (a legendary gardener) telling me at a young age that 'weeds are just plants growing where we don't want them'. That's profound, and anyone who's struggled with beautiful mint or strawberry plants gone wild will understand how they can be as stubborn as the weediest weed.

Lately, all the garden wisdom and advice tells us that we should endeavor to keep at least part of our gardens wild, leave as much deadfall as we can, along with unraked leaves and long grasses to provide food and shelter for overwintering insects and wildlife. This book gives a really refreshing look at more natural garden design philosophy.

The book follows a logical easy to follow format. The introductory sections (~20% of the content) cover the background, some general ideas and definitions (what are weeds, how they can work, and what to absolutely avoid). The following section includes some good discussion on sourcing native plant material (with worryingly little information about doing so ethically), establishing native plants in the garden, and controlling them. The next sections cover specific plants and their situational needs and places where they should thrive.

It includes some lovely photography, both of the plants covered and some garden shots in situ. There are also some FAQs / short interviews with some garden designers and 'weed' specialists at the end of the book which were fun to read. There's an index and glossary and a nice list of other potential weeds to adopt into the garden which didn't make it into the book.

I strongly prefer exuberance and 'cottage-y' gardens, so a lot of the 'weeds' in the book, including Pilosella and Centranthus are already incorporated into my gardens and grow more or less where they will. There are a number of other plants which I fully intend to find space for come spring.

This is a beautifully photographed book and an inspiring read. Four stars.
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I'm a plant person, so generally speaking any books about plants are going to spark some joy. My favorite plants books however are the books I come away from, having read, with a stronger foothold on technical knowledge and inspirations and ideas for future projects and endeavors. This was one such book. Wild About Weeds by Jack Wallington is not the first pro-weeds book I've read but it is the first one to posit the idea of purposeful design with them in mind.

The eBook was 89 pages, so it looks like the book's about double that in page length. What I expected was a book that was majorly comprised of pictured fact-sheets about individual plants. What I got was not too far off, fact-sheets divided through chapters by ideal growing conditions. Each chapter highlighted no more than 10 plants, if that. 

From the beginning my biggest hangup with the book was that there was no initial statement clarifying the baseline perspective with regard to region and thereby the plants. At the onset the author mentions having traveled around Australasia, North America, and the United Kingdom, but we're left to understand contextually that the fact-sheets for each plant are written with reference to the last-mentioned. As I read I also found myself opening tab after tab in my Chrome browser. The respective fact-sheets for many plants were referenced in book by page number, but other non-weed plants that I was not familiar with were not, and so instead Google became my teacher.

For a casual gardener like myself, not in the industry or not likely to memorize plants by Latin name, this book will best serve as an informative guide, lending design ideas and practical information. As with most plant books outside reference is encouraged and often necessary (e.g., for referencing local laws). Being that most plants were referenced by Latin name and common name use was sparse and near non-existent, I imagine the target audience for this book to be other landscape design and garden industry professionals. Regardless, it was an informative read and I'd love to have a physical copy of the book and even see a more extensive edition with more comprehensive chapters. If you're a plant person, you're sure to love this colorful book.
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“For the purpose of this book, I have defined a garden weed as ‘a plant that reproduces seemingly uncontrollably’.” - Wild about Weeds by Jack Wallington

I loved this definition and swiftly warmed to Jack Wallington’s theme in Wild about Weeds! He goes on to speak of plants which, in South Africa, would be considered prized, sold in nurseries and shared amongst friends. I chuckled at the idea of them being considered a weed in a far more moist country like England. Some Weeds transcend continents and climate and enough of the principles of the books apply globally.

Weeds are unbelievably resilient, they have survival tactics that other plants should envy! This book drew my attention to their positive qualities. It should be admitted now that I’m not the weed-remover. Mum and Charles wrestle and remove those at which I point and exclaim “that shouldn’t be there” so I’m not sure they’ll appreciate my newfound admiration for these previously judged plants!

“A plant is a plant and if you like it, you should grow it no matter what anyone else thinks or what label it’s been given. Labels are annoying. They’re often someone else’s opinion telling us what we should think. “Weed” being a good example – it is merely a broad and negative term associated with any plant that pops up where we weren’t expecting it. The label is a lie.” - Wild about Weeds by Jack Wallington

Certain “Weeds” I gasped to hear called such, my beautiful foxgloves…never…my gorgeous flowing ivy…daisies…violas…oh no! And I reflected on this, I realised that’s the point of Jack’s book, to love those plants that you find attractive whether they grow voraciously or not! He makes several recommendations in the book to help limit the growth if the plant begins to escape its bounds. He shares wisdom on planning your layout to make the best of each plant. He inspires and encourages the gardener to observe, admire and shape one’s garden to one’s own tastes and I throughly enjoyed it from cover to cover.

I loved the interviews with key landscapers and garden aficionados included in the book, particularly the one on plant communities. I think this picture of plant communities is gorgeous “They’re social networks, densely layered, incredibly diverse and sophisticated in their interactions…Plants collaborate, compete and communicate with one’s another.”

Overall the book is a call to a new way of gardening, more in tune with the environment, more respectful of our resources and more accepting of all plants. If you love learning more about plants and are keen to explore new gardening methods, this is one for you! It’s five out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale and highly recommended.
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This is a beautiful and brilliant book for UK gardeners on how to embrace weeds in the garden with gorgeous results. Wallington has packed the book with examples of weeds shining in carefully designed gardens where gardeners have used their tenacity and looks to great benefit. He includes a list of weeds he does not recommend (I disagree with a few, such as brambles/blackberries) and then dozens that he does, with information like bloom times, sun requirements, uses and more. He breaks them down into chapters by need, such as sunny locations, ground covers and meadows. He also features interviews with renowned garden designers from around the world about how they deal with weeds and which ones they let grow in the gardens they manage.

The photographs really make this book, as they're stunning and colorful, and really show how unwanted plants can become stars or supporting players in the garden. Ironically, many of these "weeds" are flowers I'd love to have in my Minnesota garden but they don't grow here, like poppies. Others are ones I happily grow but don't consider weeds, like violets as groundcover in a shady part of our property and echinacea that I've seeded all over to add color to larger border.

Two things kept this from being a 5 star book for me -- First, it's written for the UK audience without growing zones provided and many of the plants won't work in my zone 4 American garden (those in warmer parts of the US may have great luck with them). Secondly, I plan my garden plants to a great extent not just for their beauty but for their edible and medicinal uses. While he occasionally touches on these, he doesn't really take any of this into consideration. The profiles do not generally include information about these uses, even for plants where I know of many uses (for the ones he recommends and those he recommends against). I understand that he's only writing about gardens for beauty and not for usefulness, but if he included that sort of information I'd be doubly sold. Some of my favorite weeds are ones I serve for supper that are tasty and nutritious, such as lambs quarters, which is tastier than spinach and doesn't bolt or get bitter in the heat, and just shows up happily on its own without even needing to be seeded, or ones that I keep because of their medicinal value (and sometimes beauty and edibility too) like elder, plantain and mullein. Mostly, though, it's that a great many of the plants he profiles are just not weeds in the cold climate where I live and the ones I do have are not well covered.

All in all, I love this book and am glad that it exists. Wallington rightly points out that weeds are just plants that are perfectly designed for the spaces they inhabit and he shows how to use a little thought to put them to great use. He points out how great they are for wildlife and for pollinators, and teaches how to keep them in check. It's so nice to see gardeners moving away from the overly manicured, heavily poisoned gardens of a few decades ago and towards these more organic, diverse, healthy and beautiful gardens.

I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review.
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What a wonderful reference guide for gardeners and herbalists. As an herbalist in training, I have studied many of these plants and am excited to now have the knowledge to grow some of them in my yard. One person’s weed is another person’s or animal’s food or medicine source.
 
A friend of mine has lots of acres where I am able to forage for plants, but I need to be able to identify them. The photos in Wild about Weeds does an excellent job capturing the flowers, leaves, and stem so I know if it’s the correct plant. There are also details in regards to their parts that make identification even easier.
 
Wild about Weeds begins with a brief history of garden weeds and how to design with them. It also includes some weeds that people now consider to be good and often grow in their gardens, along with weeds that are really invasive or you may want to avoid for other reasons. Jack Wallington tells you how to go hunting for weeds and how to collect and store their seeds. And once you find the plants, how to move and divide them, as well as managing them and how they fit into plant communities.
 
The plants are divided into various chapters in regards to what sunlight and soil they grow best in. There isn’t a zone included, but that is easy enough to look up on the internet. Some of the chapters include; weeds for rich, damp soils, weeds for colorful, sunny borders, weeds for ground cover, and many other areas and weather situations.
 
Each plant has a detailed section including how to care for it, the effort to grow it, rebelliousness, plant family, maximum size, color, flowers, pot friendly, soil, situation, range, and origin. There are interviews with gardeners and landscapers interspersed between the weed descriptions. And the book includes more resources and websites for you to gather even more knowledge.
 
With so many gardening books written about vegetables and flowers, I am very happy to find a good one in regards to weeds. The only thing is, I wish even more plants were included!
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I really liked this book. The organization and detail s impressive. I also found it surprising useful. I think I may actually want to plant a few weeds on purpose now. It’s a fascinating and informative read. I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review and really enjoyed it.
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I'm a keen gardener and was fascinated by this book. I loved the wonderful illustrations and how it's organised.
It's well written and full of useful hints and advice.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this arc, all opinions are mine.
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wild about Weeds is about introducing certain weeds to your garden - yes you did read that correctly!  Even those displaying at flower shows now include designer weeds in their gardens and often win medals for their displays.

The book is split into nine chapters which are:
Weeds for colourful, sunny borders
Weeds for dry and poor soils
Weeds for meadows
Weeds for shady borders
Weeds for rich, damp soils
Weeds for containers, pots and window boxes
Weeds for ground cover
Weeds for steps and walls
Weeds for big spaces

Each weed is has it's own page with colour photography of it in situ in a border, details of it's size, soil type, when it flowers, Latin name alongside how to collect seeds, how to grow them and what control they require.

Some of the plants that are weeds are now considered 'proper' plants/flowers such as snapdragons, primroses, poppies and foxgloves.  Also included in the book are some of the weeds that should be avoided in certain situations and how to treat the area they appear in.

At the end of some chapters is a page from a garden designers and experts from around the world with point of view on weeds and some tips too.  Also included at the rear is a glossary, a list of places to buy your weeds and seeds plus a further list of weeds to consider, some of which may be eaten or used as cut flowers.

I have some of these weeds in my garden - Herb Robert and Lesser celandine looks like something I have had before - which I will now reconsider when digging up.  I moved a Red valerian this summer in the garden as I thought it was pretty - now I know its a weed from seeing it in this book but I'm still going to keep it.  Also, in recent months, I've seen a number of times meadow weeds being mentioned on BBCs Gardeners World as Britain is losing too many of it's wild meadows and the need to reintroduce them, especially as it improves the wildlife too.

I received this book from Netgalley in return for a honest review.
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I really liked this book. It's informative about the various plants and it has a nice layout, in addition to lots of beautiful photos.
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