“A good book is like a garden carried in the pocket.” ~Arab Proverb
With spring still tucked away in a dream in these parts, I have been envisioning my meadow, and how it will bloom this year. Will there be even more lupines, like those above? Will the milkweed take hold and the Joe Pye spread. How about the Mountain Mint and Helenium? Will I see them spread instead of the thistle and teasel?
The meadow is the wild area where I love to see natives grow and take over while eradicating the aggressive weeds that were here when the land was developed. The birds and pollinators love this spot as much as I do, and they have multiplied since we have been cultivating the native wildflowers.
When I saw the title of this book, I thought…what a perfect title for dealing with wildflowers as the name says they are …WILD-flowers. Of course I am interested in any book about wildflowers, especially native wildflowers. I have had a long term affection for these flowers.
And what a treat to read a book by an author you know. I got to know Miriam Goldberger through social networks where I learned she has a nursery in Ontario just a few hours North of me. And what better person to write a book about wildflowers than the owner of the Wildflower Farm.
Author: Miriam Goldberger
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: St. Lynn’s Press (March 6, 2014)
Amazon Price: $14.22 (Hardcover)
In A Few Words
Miriam’s book is not just about growing and using wildflowers, but she also delves into her passion for wildflowers and how she came to love and grow these native plants. In the introduction, we learn how Miriam came to love flowers through her mother’s passion for growing indoor plants and collecting floral art. As she says,
“my daily exposure to this artwork was an obvious indicator that I was destined, programmed, nurtured-cultivated, if you will-to fall in love with flowers.”
In the first two chapters, Miriam tells the story of the interconnection of man and wildflowers, and pollinators and wildflowers. These relationships are important parts of the story that Miriam cleverly uses to set the stage for why wildflowers have such importance for our planet. She also goes into the differences between invasives, aliens, naturalized plants, heirlooms, open pollinated and cross pollinated plants.
The next chapter goes into Miriam’s main picks for wildflowers to grow. She has arranged these by bloom time, which helps when planning a garden that you want to bloom in all 3 seasons. In this chapter she first gives you some basics about the propagation of wildflowers. Then each plant is profiled with a description, picture, and basic info on light, soil, moisture, height, color, germination, container growing, salt tolerance, deer resistance, and whether it is edible. Also included is where the plant grows as a native and its pollination partners. I found this last category so interesting since I plan to watch who is pollinating my wildflowers this year. This will certainly help get me started.
Miriam also has a whole chapter on non-native wildflowers (heirlooms, herbs and vegetables), many I do not currently grow. Some that were new to me were Mexican Sunflower, Honeywort, Lion’s Tail and Zulu Daisy. There is also a chapter on how to make wildflower babies that is a great resource. And she gives you many design ideas for using wildflowers in your gardens.
The last two chapters deal with how to harvest, use and design floral arrangements with wildflowers. She even includes some wedding ideas.
What I Liked
There were several stories Miriam shared that I thoroughly enjoyed. She has a wonderful way of drawing you into her story. I related so easily to the anecdote of how she was influenced by her mother. I was also influenced by my mom’s love of indoor flowers ( African violets) and her veg gardens not to mention my dad’s roses.
The photos in the book are stunning and for such a small book you would never know it was so jam packed with so many pictures and so much information. I enjoyed her explanation of the “extraordinary reach and service” of wildflowers. Miriam mentioned some of my favorite reasons for growing wildflowers: attracting and sustaining wildlife, mastering extreme weather survival, erosion control, nurturing a wide range of living organisms, and hard working while giving us such a gift of their beauty.
And with the big rage these days of having your own cutting garden, why not use wildflowers. With Miriam’s tips and pictures as a guide, I plan to use more of my wildflowers this year.
One of my favorite gardens Miriam included in her design chapter was the Edible Herbal Wildflower Garden. I have been trying to design and build this type of garden, and now I have some more ideas of great plants to include. Some I already include in my veg beds like borage and marigolds.
The book also provides a great summary of the different pollinators of wildflowers (including birds). It was interesting to read the evolution of wildflowers and how they are so different today. As Miriam explained, 90% of flowers that flourished here millions of years ago are gone and our pollinators are in jeopardy-her solution, like mine, is to grow wildflowers.
There was absolutely nothing I didn’t like in this book. Cover to cover it is masterful in weaving its story of the wildflower. The only caution I have is for those on the west coast. Included in the book, is a good mix of plants that are found throughout the US and Canada. But of the 60 wildflowers Miriam profiles, there were few wildflowers of the west coast as these are very unique to that area of the continent.
You may think I might be biased about this book because I adore wildflowers, but the book really is a fabulous resource for anyone growing or wanting to grow wildflowers. Everything you need to know is here. It is one of the best all in one books about wildflowers that includes the planning, growing, and use of these fabulous flowers. It is important, though, to read the first two chapters before you get to the eye candy of the pictures so you have a good basic understanding of wildflowers and the living creatures that are influenced by these flowers.
So if you are looking for a low cost aesthetically pleasing way to landscape, and you want to learn some basic biology/botany about plants and pollinators then grab a copy of this book.
You can find more information about the author and the book, at the book’s website, Taming Wildflowers. I am excited that Miriam will also be a contributor on the 10th of each month at Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens, the sister blog of Beautiful Wildlife Gardens where I blog monthly.
Do you grow wildflowers from seed? Do you pick your wildflowers to bring indoors to make stunning displays in a vase or container? Which ones are your favorites for use in floral designs?
“Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers, “Do you like it? I did it just for you.” ~ Max Lucado
It is not too late to join in the Seasonal Celebrations meme happening now. Details about how to join are below.
Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time. I hope you will join in by creating a post telling us how you celebrate this time of year whether winter or summer or something else. Share your traditions, holidays, gardens and celebrations in pictures, poetry or words starting March 1st.
And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Lessons Learned meme. What lessons have you learned this past season of autumn here in the North and spring in the South. Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.
The rules are simple. Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations. If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts. Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post. Make sure to include a link with your comment.
Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the equinox (around the 20th of March). And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog. Your post should be linked in the weekend before the solstice to give us enough time to include your post in our summary. And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page. The badges here can be used in your post. So won’t you join in the celebration!!
Next up on the blog: Monday I will have another native plant profile. Do you sense a theme here? And Thursday will be time for a wrap up of your posts for Seasonal Celebrations.
I hope you will join me for my posts once a month at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. See my latest post.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.
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