The Book of Thistles
UWA Publishing, $29.99 pb, 303 pp, 9781742588049
Every Saturday around Australia, the suburbs hum with the sound of lawnmowers. While cutting grass, the mowers simultaneously decapitate the milk thistles (also known as sow thistles) that sprout in most gardens around the country. But this rude beheading is little more than an inconvenience from which these hardy plants soon recover. Perhaps this is why, despite their benign name, milk thistles rate a mention on the webpage of a company that is synonymous with weedkillers. The Roundup page describes milk thistles as ‘a common weed’ that ‘can reach over two meters if not controlled’. Given the apparent threat, the solution to managing these seemingly triffid-like proportions appears obvious and unavoidable. Homeowners must take part in the ‘war on weeds’.