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A Weed by Any Other Name
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In A Weed by Any Other Name, environmental studies professor Nancy Gift offers a different perspective: that "weeds" themselves are desirable, both for their beauty - texture, color, variety - and for their ecological function. How do we determine that a plant is a weed? Gift's love of these plants, from the irreverent hawkweed whose flower shoots up over nicely mowed grass to garlic mustard, a surprisingly useful ingredient in pesto, is infectious, and her confessions to crimes against weeds, such as her use of herbicide - gasp! - on the dreaded poison ivy, will make even the most green person nod guiltily.
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What's a good garden without a few weeds? Weeding them out on summer mornings is one of my favorite pastimes, and as Gift points out, they are good indicators of what lies beneath. About time someone did a book singing their praises.--John Hanson Mitchell, author of "The Wildest Place on Earth: Italian Gardens and the Invention of Wilderness""To see the world in a weed is Nancy Gift's approach to ecology, and she combines the knowledge of a scientist with the understanding of a parent of young children to remind us that taking care of the environment begins in our own backyards. Before you pull up that dandelion or spray the lawn ask yourself what difference it makes. It's not the grass that needs greening-it's our lives. Gift follows in the tradition of Rachel Carson, and her entry as a writer is timely indeed."--Emily Herring Wilson, author of "No One Gardens Alone: A Life of Elizabeth Lawrence" and "Two Gardeners/Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence: A Friendship in Letters""Nancy Gift has written a persuasively green brief in favor of organic lawns and playing fields. Morning glory, plantain, wild garlic, scarlet pimpernel, clover, and others-let nature take its course, and rejoice that you need not mess with humanly hazardous herbicides. A delightfully contrary book that may just turn your weedy enemies into friends."--Janet Lembke, author of "From Grass to Gardens: How to Reap Bounty from a Small Yard""Nancy Gift's ruminations on weeds reflect her varied roles, from suburban gardener and soccer mom to highly trained weed ecologist; from conscientious neighbor to the passionate admirer of the wily and persistent plants others call pests. . . . If you live anywhere in the eastern half of the United States and know your weeds, you will find many old friends in this book-and recognize a few human characters as well."--Laura Jackson, Department of Biology, University of Northern Iowa

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