Playing God in the Meadow: How I Learned to Admire My Weeds


Advance praise for Playing God in the Meadow: How I Learned to Admire My Weeds:

“I don’t think ‘meadow’ and ‘meditation’ have the same root, but perhaps they should—Molnar’s book is a lovely reminder of how you can see the world in an acre.”

Bill McKibben, environmentalist, author, journalist and founder of and Third Act

“Molnar’s journey of working to restore the biological potential of her land shows the richness and depth of living systems, and the many ways people can engage with that dynamism. Her story is an important one as we seek to understand the best ways to steward land and resources in changed and changing environments.”

– Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration

“Molnar creates a valuable testament to our evolving attitudes toward nature. And by weaving in her  personal history, she makes this an important contribution to the field of natural history writing in the tradition of Robin Wall Kimmerer and Michael Pollan.”

– Robert Taylor, nature writer

“A remembering of our ancestry and our connection to place. Molnar weaves past with present, reawakening her connection with nature through her relationship with a reclaimed meadow and the promise of bobolink song.” 

– Bridget Butler, aka Vermont’s Bird Diva

“A thoughtful tale of making a meadow, from a gardener who is not afraid to struggle with questions botanical and environmental.”

– Sidney Landon Plum, author of Solitary Goose

After decades of fantasizing and saving, of working multiple jobs and embracing frugality in the midst of Manhattan, Martha Leb Molnar and her husband found their land. Determined to turn a dying Vermont apple orchard into a thriving and beautiful landscape, they decided to restore these acres to a pristine meadow and build a safe haven for the myriad birds and insects that call it home.

Once they cleared the trees away, Molnar was forced to wage war on the invasive plants that moved in. Propelled by the heated debates surrounding non-native species and her own complicated family history and migration, she was driven to research the Northeast landscape, turning to scientific literature, experts in botany and environmental science, and locals who have long tended the land in search of answers. 

At turns funny, thoughtful, and conversational, Playing God in the Meadow: How I Learned to Admire My Weeds follows this big city transplant as she learns to make peace with an evolving landscape that she cannot entirely control.