The New England Wild Flower Society is the oldest plant conservation organization in North America. It celebrated its 100th birthday by publishing this beautiful and useful guide to identifying, growing, and propagating native wildflowers.
Cultivating and appreciating native flora is a first step towards ecological gardening, a concept whose time has come. By choosing to grow the plants that thrive naturally in the conditions your garden offers, you are working with rather than against nature, resulting in easier maintenance and a reduced need of water and chemicals. A great many of the very loveliest flowers are available as natives, such as columbines, iris, trout lilies, violets, trillium, and even orchids. The delicacy of the native species, their simple forms and unadorned beauty, make many of the cultivars we see in the nursery appear overdone and blowzy, like a girl who has overdressed for a party. Horticulturists have worked for years to make new colors, double forms, and larger, brighter flowers, but these small natives have all the appeal of the original, plus they naturally thrive in appropriate conditions.
More than a thousand species of flowers are discussed and pictured, with thorough information on native habitat, cultural requirements, propagation, and design considerations. At the back of the book are lists of plants ideal for specific situations and with certain characteristics; look here to find what species have large leaves or attract butterflies, as well as which do best in dry shade, rocky areas, bogs, and, perhaps most useful of all, which wildflowers are deer-resistant. --Valerie Easton
From Library Journal
Cullina, nursery manager and propagator for the 100-year-old New England Wild Flower Society, shares his experiences growing and propagating temperate North American wildflowers. His comprehensive treatment begins with sections on how to use the book, ecological gardening, and an explanation of the floristic provinces of North America. This introductory material is followed by the heart of the book, the "Encyclopedia of Plants," covering 200 genera and 1000 species. Arranged by genus, each entry includes a beautiful, close-up color photo of a representative of the genus, common names, a general description of the genus, cultural techniques, propagation difficulty, uses in the landscape, and any benefits for wildlife. This general description is followed by a listing of selected species. Each species entry includes hardiness zones, soil type, where the plant is native, size, flower color, and bloom time. The text continues with a section on propagation techniques, then detailed information by genus on how to harvest seed and propagate the plants by seed, division, or cutting. Appendixes include wildflowers for various sites, sources of propagated native plants and seeds, and native plant societies in the United States and Canada. Packed with information on growing and propagating wildflowers and laced with interesting personal observations and tidbits, Cullina's beautifully descriptive book makes fascinating reading while also providing extensive factual material for novice or experienced gardeners. Nothing with this scope is currently available. Highly recommended for circulating and reference collections.DSue O'Brien, Downers Grove P.L., IL
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