If you want to learn about growing wildflowers, but faced overwhelming tomes on native plants, Miriam Goldberger’s Taming Wildflowers: Bringing the Beauty and Splendor of Nature’s Blooms into Your Own Backyard is an excellent alternative.
Goldberger oozes enthusiasm for her favorite style of gardening in Taming Wildflowers and shares her passion for the native plants by spilling literary observations and visual instructions onto the book’s pages– leaving any stuffiness behind.
When recently sharing her perspective about growing wildflowers with Decoded Plants, Miriam Goldberger confided, “One of my primary goals in writing the book is to encourage wildflowers to be incorporated into all public and private landscapes, veggie gardens and community gardens alike.”
Instruction and Tools for Growing Wildflowers
Whether you grow your plants in a backyard landscape or container garden – or a vegetable garden in the front yard or in a rented community plot, Taming Wildflowers offers you the tools to fill your space with native plants.
Goldberger separates her plants’ sections differently than many garden authors. She organized the 60 wildflowers by bloom phases labeled as: Spring, Late Spring – Early Summer, Summer, and Fall. She grouped some families together within each of the summer seasons: the Legume Family that includes blue false (Baptisia australia) and purple prairie clover (Dalea purpurea,) for instance, and the Echinacea Family, where readers find mentioned the rare Ozark coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa) and the Tennessee coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis), which is making a comeback.
Beyond the basic description criteria and obligatory flower photo in standard plant books and below the thick red bar that states the common name and botanical name across each page, Goldberger added facts particular to growing native plants in North America in her book:
- The best specific soil type to grow the plant.
- The U.S. states and Canadian provinces in which the plant is native.
- An image of each plant’s seedling with its true leaves.
Goldberger included a “germination” code: no pre-treatment necessary, seed needs scarification, or cold moist stratification. The author explains each process and gives readers tips on incorporating them into their gardening routines.
Pollination Partners is a narrative on each plant page. The author details specific kinds of beneficial insects that use that plant. Readers will find in this example: Compass Plant Silphium laciniatum “Bumblebees and other long-tongued bees are the primary pollinators. Sulphur butterflies and monarchs occasionally visit the flowers for nectar. Goldfinches enjoy eating the seeds.”
Sustainable Gardening Versus Non-Native Plants
From the first chapter, Goldberger makes the case for growing wildflowers by pointing out that they were here first and she does not shy away from the impacts of climate warming on wildflower bloom times or on wildlife that rely on these plants for food.
Despite her organic gardening stance, Goldberger admits to not being immune to non-native plant choices. Still she recognizes them as “cheap thrills.” The wildflower farmer, like the pollinators she fully supports, thrive on diversity and on each plant page in the non-native section, the author lists its native location wherever in the world that might be.
Weddings with Wildflowers
Perhaps the most surprising feature I found in Taming Wildflowers was the DIY Wildflower Wedding Experience she shared. Goldberger’s assembling process to make bouquets; from boutonnieres to table-top centerpieces is a bounty for home gardeners.
Photos of step-by-step do-it-yourself instructions and before and after celebrations are throughout the chapter. Of course, no wedding talk would be complete without wedding albums that the author shares at the end of her book.
Organic Wildflower Farmer Miriam Goldberger Writes Garden Book
Miriam Goldberger admits to being seduced by wildflowers, so much so that, as I read her book, she convinced me that her plants might feel just as comfortable on a seedier side of an abandoned back alley lot as they are on a Canadian meadow.
She says, describing one of her flowers, “There she was, all tarted up, decked out in full bloom, tantalizing you with her full color plant tags, her sassy foliage.”
Putting her literary imagery aside, Goldberger is a serious expert in organic and sustainable gardening. She is a self-taught horticulturist, who has been a flower farmer since 1986, and is the founder and co-owner of Wildflower Farm in Ontario, Canada. The wildflower seed production company produces wildflower and native grass seeds for use in North American environments.
Goldberger grows her gardens and meadows without irrigation or pesticides. The 100-acre wildflower farm is a pick-your-own flower farm, as well, and is a monarch waystation certified by Monarch Watch.
Use Taming Wildflowers to Grow a Garden
Miriam Goldberger wrote Taming Wildflowers: Bringing the Beauty and Splendor of Nature’s Blooms into Your own Backyard and St. Lynn’s Press of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, published the book on February 15, 2014.
The garden book– with only 208 pages– is deceptively small for being packed with an overflowing feel of plant photos cover to cover. The book includes a bevy of garden terms that the author thoroughly explains.
However, an index with page numbers, or a glossary of terms at the back of the book is absent.
Miriam Goldberger has delved headlong into sharing her life of wildflowers with all who want to grow them. The Ontario wildflower farmer’s spring board is called Taming Wildflowers: Bringing the Beauty and Splendor of Nature’s Blooms into Your own Backyard.