Taming Wildflowers: Bringing the Beauty and Splendor of Nature's Blooms into Your Own Backyardby Miriam Goldberger
Wildflowers are the jewels of spring and summer everywhere. Families drive miles to witness their beauty in wild landscapes. Now, gardeners are discovering that they can easily and successfully cultivate these hardy native wonders right at home, for year-after-year enjoyment. Wildflower farmer and floral designer Miriam Goldberger believes that wildflowers belong as an essential part of North American gardens. Taming Wildflowers is the ultimate DIY book on wildflower gardening: part wildflower history (“How Wildflowers Changed the World”), part upbeat, informative how-to, and a little basic plant science, and an easy primer on designing with these wild and wondrous blooms. Her richly photographed book shows gardeners how wildflowers enhance the beauty and environmental health of their gardens by attracting birds, butterflies and other important pollinators; the simple steps in seed propagation (“Making Babies”); cutting garden must-haves (natives and non-natives); integrating wildflowers into the vegetable garden; harvesting fresh and everlasting wildflowers; drying; using floral design secrets to create long-lasting arrangements; and how to design a wildflower wedding. Features more than 60 of Miriam’s favorite wildflowers and 300 full-color photos.
– Mark Cullen, Canada’s best known gardener; garden expert for Canada AM on CTV; columnist for the Toronto Star; author of 18 garden books
It is with this colorful garden dance and the dancers in particular that Miriam Goldberger fell in love some 30 years ago. In her new book, Taming Wildflowers: Bringing the Beauty and Splendor of Nature’s Blooms Into Your Own Backyard, Goldberger shares her love story with wildflowers, as well as tons of information about planting and enjoying them.
“The book is truly an assimilation of 25 years of experimenting with all different kinds of wildflowers,” says Goldberger, who is also the president of Wildflower Farm, a North American wildflower seed grower that sells wildflower seed and mixes.
For Goldberger it all started with some zinnia seeds she bought at a grocery store and grew. Before long, she had rented a 100-acre flower farm. And then she and her fiancé, Paul, asked for contributions to a greenhouse fund in lieu of wedding gifts. Soon she was experimenting with perennial wildflowers and native grasses, many of which also flower. …
She emphasizes that when she speaks of wildflowers, she’s referring to perennial flowers that return year after year, not the annual mixes you’ll find, many of which won’t grow well, if at all, and may even contain invasive nonnative species.
The good news is that wildflowers are incredibly easy to grow once you get them started, providing that you choose the right wildflowers for your garden. It is also important to keep in mind that planting them is a long-term, permanent proposition. Many won’t flower their first season, but once they get going they’ll be with youin bouquets and in the fieldfor years to come. ~ Julie Bawden-Davis
– Piet Oudolf, internationally acclaimed garden designer, nurseryman and author
To aid pollinators and ultimately the planet Goldberger makes a strong case for planting native blooms in her new book, Taming Wildflowers (Ten Speed, $18.95).
“I love all flowers, but to me, wildflowers are the ultimate expression of floral perfection,” writes Goldberger, who co-owns a wildflower farm in Canada. “They are nature’s flawless plan for pollination, and they never fail to impress me with their flat-out beauty.”
Wildflowers have a host of other attributes as well: They help with erosion control, tolerate weather extremes, and attract birds and other animals. And they require little care.
Although a slim 194 pages, Taming Wildflowers is packed with information.
It covers basics defining the difference between a wildflower and a weed, explaining the types of pollination, identifying pollinators. It even contains a section on designing arrangements with wildflowers, including bridal bouquets.
But the heart of the book is a list of 60 favorite wildflowers and grasses, many native to the United States.
“Over and over, my research led to the same conclusion: Perennial wildflowers and native grasses lived longer, needed minimal maintenance and were stunningly beautiful in both garden and vase,” Goldberger writes. “Then and there, this desperate and exhausted gardener began to grow wildflowers from seed. And I haven’t looked back.” ... Taming Wildflowers is a good resource for those of us who enjoy a riotous flower bed full of life.
– Mark Richardson, Director of Horticulture, New England Wild Flower Society
– Damon Waitt, Senior Director and Botanist, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Native plants are survivors. They can take just about anything nature dishes out, and they can do it without human help, thank you very much.
Yet so often, we tend to think of flowers that grow in the wild as less suitable for our gardens than plants bred for that purpose.
Miriam Goldberger thinks otherwise.
Goldberger, a flower farmer in Ontario, believes wildflowers belong in any garden or flower arrangement. She isn’t a purist she even recommends some non-native annuals to add punch to a garden but she does argue that wildflowers are beautiful in a cultivated setting and beneficial to wildlife and the earth.
Goldberger’s book includes growing information for specific wildflowers, divided by season, as well as guidance on starting wildflowers from seed and creating gardens of wildflowers. She also offers instructions for harvesting those flowers and using them in floral designs, even wedding bouquets and arrangements.
- St. Lynn's Press
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- 8.10(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Meet the Author
The author has been a full-time wildflower farmer for 25 years. She and her husband own the sustainable horticulture enterprise known as Wildflower Farm, outside of Toronto, Canada’s oldest and largest wildflower seed company. Boasting a multi-acre Native Botanical Garden and meadow demonstration areas, it produces wildflower and native grass seeds for private and public gardens and meadows throughout North America. Over 40,000 homeowners are growing Wildflower Farm seeds, with over 250,000 plants. The farm's website http://wildflowerfarm.com receives 224,000 unique visitors each year. The author is also a floral designer, teaching wildflower wedding workshops at the farm.
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