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The Weather Detective: Rediscovering Nature’s Secret Signs

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  469 ratings  ·  88 reviews

As soon as we step out of the door, nature surrounds. Thousands of small and large processes are taking place, details that are long often fascinating and beautiful. But we've long forgotten how to recognise them.

Peter Wohlleben, bestselling author of The Hidden Life of
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published June 7th 2018 by Rider (first published 2012)
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Heidi This author is German and the book almost exclusively deals with Europe (his area of most experience). There are some general, more wider observations…moreThis author is German and the book almost exclusively deals with Europe (his area of most experience). There are some general, more wider observations included but, again, these deal predominantly with the Northern Hemisphere. (less)
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Average rating 3.36  · 
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Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: popular-science
I picked this book up thinking it would be focused on the weather. The first half was wonderful, talking about climate change, changes in the weather and how to spot them, and the seasons. However, by the second half, it seemed like Wohlleben had run out of weather-related things to talk about, instead discussing unrelated topics (such as predator and prey relationships). While it was still pretty interesting, it just didn't end up being the book I thought it was going to be, hence the 3 stars.
The gardener in me was thrilled that I chose this book to read. . . .very interesting information on weather features and affects on plants, trees, bugs and us.

It is the kind of book that I like to keep on hand as a reference - there was even a section on how to determine exactly what time it is where your body in your yard is! Local Mean Time. . .which was how time used to be kept . . . .who knew? (Many. . . but it was not something I thought about in my life.) Using this you could figure out
Rachel (Kalanadi)
2.5 stars. Full of interesting tidbits if you're a gardener in Europe, but diverges wildly from the topic of weather in the second half. The title promises something completely different from what's delivered.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
These days finding out what the weather is going to be doing is as easy as looking at the app on your phone. I know as I have three on mine. One swipe and you have a fairly accurate prediction (mostly) of the weather for the next 24 hours or so. While these are good for giving a good general guide to the weather in your region they can sometimes fail in your own locale because of the particular microclimate.

Peter Wohlleben wants us to look a little harder next time we step outside, to look at
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is presented in English as a book how about "nature" (that is, plants and animals) acts in certain ways because of impending weather. But it's really a book about gardening. This was frustrating, to say the least. Even though I am a gardening patron in our home, I didn't want to read about gardening per se. I looked up the original German title of this work and, using handy Google Translate, learned that its original subtitle was "Observe, Understand and Use Natural Phenomena in the ...more
Peter Tillman
As others have noted, this is really a book about gardening in Western Europe. It's well-written, but not what I was looking for. Skimmed a library copy.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
The first 1/3 of this book is about what the title says it is about. I enjoyed that part and learned a lot of good information about the relationship between our environment and the weather! However, the rest of the book centers on gardening? That's not what I picked up the book for. The flow of ideas in each chapter felt very haphazard as well.

Oh and one note: The author is from and lives in Germany, so every example in the book relates to Western Europe and their weather and wildlife. It's
The Weather Detective is the third book of Peter Wohlleben's that I've had the pleasure of enjoying. Like the previous two, Wohlleben draws upon his experience working as a forester and living deep within nature to paint a vibrant photo of the natural world. While the book is called The Weather Detective, only the first half of the book is strictly meteorological. The second half delves into how the weather, among other things, affects our gardens and the animals within it. While some of this ...more
Haralambi Markov
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Rather misleading title and description. Weather comes up only at the start of the book - the whole reason I bought this book was to gain understanding for research purposes on a project. Instead, I have mostly a text that waxes poetic about gardening, recites basic science facts (hardly anyone needs a reminder that the Earth circles the sun, and that astronomy concerns itself with the study of stars) and follows no particular structure.

I wouldn't leave such a low scorе hadn't the title and
KayLynn Zollinger
I'll be honest, I didn't know what to expect from this book. I downloaded it because the title intrigued fell short.
The author wasn't a terrible author, on the contrary, the writing was well done. The content of the book, however, was allll over the place. I expected a book about learning to read the signs in nature to determine weather and meteorological patterns, right? I got a little bit of that, but the I got a whole ton of everything else as well. Talking about hedgehogs to
Oct 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-release, nature
Based on the title, subtitle, and jacket description, you'd think this was a book about weather. I was expecting some old-timey, low tech wisdom of how to become an amateur weather forecaster. But it's really a book about gardens. I have a lawn and some garden boxes, so that's fine for me. I like reading about nature and animals, so I did somewhat enjoy this one. And the first 20 or so pages do focus on weather. But I was frustrated that what the books is sold/packaged as and the contents are ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Debated giving up on this one, but I really thought it would get better. The first third of the book was actually about weather with bits of gardening information interspersed. Two thirds of the way through became exclusively gardening. Then the last third he just lost all direction completely and started bringing up random subjects like he had a contract to fulfill for the book length and just ran out of things to talk about. Don’t be deceived by the title, this book has very little to do with ...more
Shelley Sackier
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a massive fan of The Farmer's Almanac and have been as early as I can recall, as growing up in Wisconsin, you're guaranteed to hear most every farmer bark out his opinion on exactly how the year is going to unfold due to the time-trusted data he gets from his knees, how fuzzy the woolly worms are growing, or the amount of acorns gumming up his tractor.

As much as I relied upon this type of information to guide me toward planting and harvesting dates--or more important, how many cords of wood
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It's great because it covers a lot of ground and feels sufficiently supported by science. It speaks to a European or UK audience however, so you have to translate those lessons back to NA if you live where I do. But he's stoicly poetic.
Wayne McCoy
Jul 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
'The Weather Detective' by Peter Wohlleben with English translation by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp is the third book by the author. It's also continuing in the vein of his other works.

In this work, the author seems to want us to slow down a bit and look and listen around us. The weather can be seen in the signs in our gardens, and how the critters who inhabit our yards are acting. How plants can survive in global warming, how much water is enough for plants, and what creatures we should allow in our
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Misleading title. The first part did discuss weather. After that, it was about gardening, soil, insects, etc., not what I was looking for and pretty much nothing I didn’t already know. Also, the reference point throughout the book was Eurocentric, rather than global. It wasn’t well organized, and it was pedestrian at best. Either it was a poor translation or the author wasn’t facile. Guess I should have thumbed through the book beyond the first chapter ...

His first book about the hidden life of
David Fonteyn
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Peter Wohlleben's latest book is a must read for all permaculture advocates and gardeners as well as environmentalists who understand nature in panpsychist terms. Wohlleben explains how to read many aspects of nature's signs, from being able to tell the time of day from birdcalls or flowers, to knowing the type of soil from the weeds or understanding the weather and how to predict it. He also looks at climate change and its effects, and ways, as a gardener, to adapt to a warming climate. He ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I gave this 5 stars, though I almost removed one for the somewhat misleading title. I expected it to be more about the weather. It's about nature and the garden and the processes of the garden - including weather and seasons. All of which I loved.

This would ideally be read by someone with some green space in Europe as it names specific plants and animals whose behavior one can watch for signs of specific weather. The same general trends I'm sure can be used here on the West Coast of North
Petch Manopawitr
I've seen Peter Wohlleben's books in many of botanical book shops lately. It's enticing and kind of what I expected - stories full with anecdotal data and nature observation. This is his third book and many people seem to find his title 'the weather detective' quite misleading because it focuses more on the second part 'rediscovering nature's secret signs'. Only the a third talking about weather observation which is quite nice, the rest is quite random but centre around reconnecting yourself ...more
This is my third book by Wohlleben. I've enjoyed and learned a lot from his previous two and this one did not disappoint me. How much information you will learn obviously depends upon your previous interest in weather and its phenomena; I did the Girl Scout Weather Badge and so a number of the "signs" of weather I already knew. There are others he does not cover because they are distinctly geographical, i.e. fog on coast lines and the like. Wohlleben, however, assumes little or no knowledge ...more
Going into The Weather Detective, I realized this book would likely be a stretch for me, but- hey-I was in a cute bookstore with a giant coffee so anything was possible and I bought it!

I loved the idea of this book and overall it was interesting through and through. It was written in a way that you should be able to directly apply some of the tests and concepts but a few things held me back from applying concepts of this book. One- the author is based in the UK and talks about nature from that
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Juli Anna
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: natural-history
Honestly, I started reading this one but ended up skimming chapters and put it down. It's not as practical for North American weather forecasting as other books I've read (this one centers on continental Europe) and I found this information to be repetitive of what I read in The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals—and Other Forgotten Skills, with a more scattershot, less formulaic approach. This may be helpful ...more
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sadly, I did not enjoy The Weather Detective. My expectations of this book did not match its reality - expectations that were skewed somewhat given the book's title: The Weather Detective, surprisingly, involves far less discussion of weather than one might expect and instead focuses much of its energy on discussions of your garden.

I do not have a garden. I just wanted to learn about the weather.

All salt aside, The Weather Detective is not bad per say. It is written well enough, simple though it
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Imagine meeting Peter Wohlleben early each morning and walking with him around the woodland he manages. Each morning he will teach a new lesson. But imagine that he has forgotten more about nature than you know. So, many of the things he teaches you, though simplified and distilled, are things just beyond your understanding because you haven’t experienced them yet. This struggle was accentuated for me as a North American, as the book is written from a German context. I wasn’t familiar with many ...more
Holly McIntyre
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book even though it was somewhat meandering and not primarily about the weather. A more truthful title would have said that it is about “sensitivity to nature” (as the author states in the final paragraph.) Moles, astronomy, and invasive species appear equally as frequently as weather. As an American reader, it is an ongoing effort to translate the examples of fauna and flora to North American equivalents (although the translation from Celsius to Fahrenheit is meticulously ...more
Barbara Kemp
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and Easy read

There was little new information in this book, but it was easy to read and reinforced things I may have forgotten about nurturing the soil and domestic plants. I was fascinated by his suggestion to leave a piece of dirt unattended to see what kind of wild weeds popped up as a barometer to the health of the soil. I was hoping for more weather signs but it was primarily about climate, not weather. The information about how climate change is affecting our gardens was
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm not sure the title really captures the essence of this book. There is certainly some information about reading the weather using such things as the clouds ("read sky at night... red sky in morning" - pretty good in my opinion, too), insects, birds and animal behaviour. A large part of the book is about connecting with backyard nature. I love the suggestion that we should take more notice of the abundance of life and the insect, plant and animal behaviour on display on our very doorsteps. The ...more
Sheri S.
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book was about so much more than just the weather, though it did cover the weather in detail. I appreciated some of the discussion on the structure of plants and how the structures work to optimize the collection of rain water and sunlight. The author covers other topics such as the advantages/disadvantages of feeding wild animals (i.e. squirrels, etc.) and how artificial light can negatively impact insect populations. Many subjects related to gardening, particularly in Europe, are covered ...more
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Peter has a real insight into the natural world, not just weather, but also the plants, animals, microorganisms, and geological processes all around us. He gives concrete and thoughtful suggestions on how we can connect with the natural world, not only during camping trips and visits to the wilderness, but also in our own gardens, backyards, and neighborhoods. I want to call him a "Nature Whisperer" - he seems to have a deep and personal relationship with nature that he is eager to share with ...more
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Peter Wohlleben born in Bonn, 1964, is a German forester and author who writes on ecological themes in popular language.
“Comets are just like huge dirty snowballs, consisting of ice mixed with dust particles.” 0 likes
“If you want to give these hardy specimens a helping hand in dry periods, then it is better to drench them thoroughly, giving them about 5 gallons or two watering cans per 10 square feet. This is easier with a hose, although this makes it trickier to measure the amount. A good way to work out an estimate is to fill your watering can using the nozzle or attachment that you normally use to water the beds, and measure the time it takes” 0 likes
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