SG510 Nancy Peters The Weed Lady: 10 Ways to Tell if It’s a Weed

Nancy PetersIn this episode of Still Growing…(SG), I feature the uber-knowledgable Nancy Peters, also respectfully known as “The Weed Lady”. Lest you think sweet little Nancy has spent a lifetime hunched over weeding, this Columbia Business School graduate enjoyed a successful career as a Wall Street Analyst with EF Hutton, Shearson, Morgan Stanley, Mobil, Prudential Securities, Smith Barney and EJ Lance.  As Nancy tells it, she “went from Wall Street to Weeds.” And, I am so happy she did. Nancy is a charming interview and a dedicated gardener who generously shares her encyclopedic knowledge of weeds with us in this episode of Still Growing. This episode will cover Part 1 of our discussion. Part 2 will be featured in next week’s episode of Still Growing.

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More about Nancy Peters

Nancy began gardening at a weekend home in Westhampton Beach, NY.  She now gardens on 10 acres in Virginia where she lives with her fiction-writer husband Joe, a retired and published mineralogist. Nancy trained as a Master Gardener at Cornell’s Co-op Extension and as an organic “Green Guerilla” at Nature Lyceum and then taught at both places.  She also trained in Botany at Suffolk Community College, lectured at the Organic Turf Trade show, libraries, and clubs, won prizes at rose shows, and landscaped both public and private gardens. Nancy’s book on weeds is an instant gardening classic that everyone from serious gardeners to weekend yard warriors will turn to again and again.

Visit Nancy online: Website | Amazon (where you can download her book on kindle!)

Nancy Peters The Weed LadySG510 Nancy Peters The Weed Lady: 10 Ways to Tell if It’s a Weed

  • Nancy tells about herself – where she grew up & early experiences in gardening (6:20)
  • Nancy’s brother and proofreader, James Kardon, & her family’s passion for gardening (9:30)
  • Nancy’s slice of heaven; 10 acres  in Spotsylvania, Virginia – zone 7a (12:00)

If you ask me on any given day, any plant I look at is my favorite.

I really think the garden is a place for abundance and beauty.

– Nancy Peters

  • Nancy’s Mentor – Dr. Andy Senesac (15:15)
  • What drew Nancy to study weeds (18:00)

More Great Quotes from Nancy Peters, the weed lady:

“A lot of the [gardening] books use ‘botano-speak’, which I consider to be a foreign language.”
If we don’t weed, we can’t enable any of our cultivars to shine.”
As the daughter of an electronics engineer, I like to posit the problem and find the solution.”
” I kind of like some of my own personal, more weedy characteristics… I identify with the weeds. They are resilient.”

  • Nancy’s favorite weeds (22:00)

“It’s hard – it’s very hard – not to love their bullet-proof indestructibility.  They’re (weeds) like Spiderman and Wonder-woman, but of the green world.”

-Nancy Peters

  • The pioneering spirit that drives Nancy (24:15)
  • The weed Nancy loves to eat (26:20)
  • Nancy’s favorite terms: Glucoraphanin and Myrmecochorous (27:00)
  • How Nancy came to be known as The Weed Lady (28:40)
  • The inspiration for Nancy’s book was actually her first unpublished book “Weeder’s Digest” (29:24)
  • The design process for Nancy’s book (31:00)
  • Nancy shares how identifying weeds has helped her grow as a gardener (32:15)

“If you have weeds, you just don’t have enough plants to cover the bare bosom of the soil.”

“The flowers respond to attention – just like any living thing responds to attention.”

-Nancy Peters

  •  Weed ID: Have known cultivars disappeared? (39:00)

“I need a strategy [for dealing with weeds] to compensate for my lower level of upper body strength.”

“I find them [weeds] enchanting and surprising. And, their varieties never cease to delight and amaze me. And, frustrate me. Because just as I think I understand something, I find something else I don’t know anything about. I could spend the next hundred years learning about plants and never get to the end of it.”
-Nancy Peters

  • Insights on the common Dandelion (48:00)
  • How to eradicate the most invasive weeds (52:00)
  • Staggering stats about the Canadian Thistle (54:15)

Mentioned on Still Growing… this week:

My Blog Post: Back to School, Writing & Weeding

My Blog Post: The 10 Commandments of Smart Gardening

Nancy’s Brother’s Cookbook

Dr. Andy Senesac Cornell 




Nancy’s favorite book “Weeds of the Northeast” by Richard Richard Hart Uva

Cleistogamous Flowers  

Invasive Plants Guide 


Dandelions: Stars in the Grass by Mia Posada

Author Mia Posada

Still growing...

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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