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The Ideal Guide to Garden Weeds

20160802AEnglish.jpgThere’s a stray seedling in your garden and you don’t know what it is? You suspect it might be a weed, but aren’t really sure? If so, I have a book I think you’ll really appreciate: the Identification Guide to the Weeds of Quebec by Claude J. Bouchard and Romain Nero.

This is hardly a new book (it was published in 1998!), but I’ve used it for years. And don’t let the end of the title (of Quebec) mislead you. Weeds are pretty universal. The weeds presented in this book are found throughout Eastern North America and in fact, most are common throughout North America. Even European gardeners will find it handy.

This is what a gardener really needs to know: what the seedling looks like!

Why do I like this book so much? Because of the abundant photos (650 to identify 120 plants). Unlike most weed identification books, which just show the adult plant, this one includes 4 to 8 photos of each species, showing all the little details you need in order to recognize them: how the leaf is attached to the stem, the appearance of the root or rhizome (if that’s a factor in identifying it), and especially, what the seedlings and young plants look like. It’s at the seedling stage when a gardener really needs to know if that plant is a friend or a foe and so few sources share that information!

Of course, the book has other advantages. It also describes in writing the plant at all stages of growth and supplies measurements (there’s even a ruler incorporated into the back cover, ideal when you’re in the garden). There is also a handy illustrated guide to plant morphology at the beginning of the book (after all, who isn’t a bit iffy about plant parts?). It’s a pocket guide that really does fit in a pocket. Plus the cover is water- and grime-resistant (hey, it’s a field guide!) and the book has a spiral binding, so it remains open on the page you’re consulting. The people who put this guide together truly knew what a gardener would be looking for in a weed identification book!

Where to Buy It

You won’t find this book in your average bookstore. The easiest way of getting it is to order it directly from the publisher, the Quebec Reference Center for Agriculture and Agri-food (CRAAQ).


Title: Identification Guide to the Weeds of Quebec
Product code: PEDI0133
Year: 1999
Pages: 264 pages
ISBN : 2-89457-174-7

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

4 comments on “The Ideal Guide to Garden Weeds

  1. I was so excited to see this and was off to buy a copy. Then I saw it is around $21 on your CN site and a whopping $195 on Amazon.

  2. I’m looking to buy a comprehensive book to ID weeds correctly (which this clearly is) BUT I live and forage in Cape Town South Africa. I know that distant countries share the same/similar plants – especially weeds – would this work for me?

    • It would work to a certain extent, but there is bound to be weeds found in your region and not in others. Try a book from Australia, if you can find one: a lot of the country has a similar climate and some of the same weeds.

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