Common Weeds of the United States
Common Weeds of the United States, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Dover Publications, 1971; $17.95) can help you identify hundreds of common weeds. Categorized by plant families, this handy book is a must for any serious gardener. You can find information to help you understand how and where these weeds grow, and how to effectively control them.
Favorite or New Plant
A deciduous native shrub, American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) develops masses of spectacular, magenta-colored berries in late summer/early fall. The berries encircle the branches in tight bunches, creating an unusually attractive, bright contrast to their deep-green leaves. These clusters of berries provide a late-winter food source for birds, raccoons, and deer.
As with many natives, beautyberry is not particular about soil or exposure to sunlight. It stays compact in the sun, but its foliage becomes more luxuriant in light shade. I think beautyberry looks best when massed in the light shade of hemlocks, cedars, or viburnums. Pruning back hard in late winter or very early spring will keep this shrub low and compact, without sacrificing berries.