cover image The Weather Detective: Redis-covering Nature’s Secret Signs

The Weather Detective: Redis-covering Nature’s Secret Signs

Peter Wohlleben, trans. from the German by Ruth Amedzai Kemp. Dutton, $20 (165p) ISBN 978-1-84604-578-3

Anyone caught in a rain shower realizes afterward that there had been warnings: dark clouds looming overhead, for example. In this slim volume, German forester and naturalist Wohlleben (The Secret Life of Trees) calls attention to such signs as these to encourage readers to notice and connect with nature. Despite the title, weather is the topic only in the first quarter of the book, which begins at the level of the Earth’s atmosphere and descends through the clouds to arrive at the vantage point Wohlleben advocates for interacting with and observing nature: one’s garden. Along the way he scatters interesting tidbits (he describes how small creatures maintain their body temperatures in cold weather and why some flowers bloom at night). “Whether it’s forecasting what’s ahead or assessing current weather events, whether it’s insect infestations or when it’s safe to say a season has started or ended,” he writes, “you can read all of this data from your garden much more accurately than any newsreader from an autocue.” Despite some focus on Wohlleben’s home country of Germany, green-thumbers all over should appreciate his insight on water requirements in gardens throughout the year and on soil composition, which can significantly affect what can be grown and how to do it. With clarity and enthusiasm, Wohlleben’s soothing guide to understanding nature via one’s backyard offers accessible encouragement “to take pleasure in time spent outdoors and relaxing outside.” [em](June) [/em]