Friday
Oct162015

Miriam Goldberger - Taming Wildflowers

October 26, 2015 MEETING

Meetings are held at the Bonar-Parkdale Presbyterian Church, 250 Dunn Avenue, just south of Queen Street West. Doors open at 6:30pm. Meetings start informally around 7:00pm and the meeting starts at 7:30pm. Arrive after 6:30pm and enjoy coffee and cookies while you check out the Hort library, chat, and ask questions!

Volunteers Needed to help set up the meeting room for 7pm. Arrive by 6:15pm, set up chairs and tables, wheel out the library, open the projection screen, and other small things that need doing before everyone arrives.  

An organic and sustainable flower farmer, Miriam has seeded, planted, nurtured, harvested and created floral designs with thousands upon thousands of wildflowers. As in her book, Taming Wildflowers, her knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for wildflowers will take us from seed to vase. Check out the Wildflower Farms website here.

EARTH MOTHER

There are many ways the moniker Earth Mother is used and in most ways, this month’s speaker is a manifest example. Miriam Goldberger recently described her Thanksgiving Day family gathering as “incredible” for the distance from which family members travelled (all over North America) to be together for this harvest season celebration. Such familial warmth and exuberance apparently transcends the very personal into the professional. Miriam was once a midwife, a role that suits someone who exudes such a nurturing personality; and her preoccupation with birth and people has transcended yet another order of life—from ‘fauna’ to flora. Miriam loves bringing seeds to life, from dormancy into germination and growth, through maturation and into what she refers to as the radiance of fall colours.Courtesy of Miriam’s Twitter page.

Miriam, who hails from New Jersey, has been in Canada for 35 years. After a career in Toronto working for a Los Angeles-based sound effects post-production company, she became a late 20th century back-to-the-lander, settling in Schomberg. She was able to expand and grow the interest she’d been developing in growing plants from seed, an interest that became an enduring love affair. And then, together with her husband and business partner, Paul Jenkins, she founded Wildflower Farm in 1988.

The company has an impeccable reputation for a variety of products. Beginning with wholesale dried flowers to becoming Ontario’s first pick-your-own flower farm in 1991, Wildflower Farm soon became a destination. After much demand from customers, the farm developed Eco-Lawn, a turf-grass mix of drought tolerant, low maintenance species. In 2000, the farm expanded further, selling wildflower seeds, meadow mixes, and Eco-Lawn throughout North America via their website http://www.wildflowerfarm.com. Wildflower moved to its present location in Coldwater, Ontario, outside Orillia, in 2004. Their products have evolved to focus on native plants and grasses, now only available as seeds, since Miriam has come to see that plugs are not the best means to ensure plant survival. This is one of the issues she will discuss in her talk this month.

Miriam is renowned as a knowledgeable and engaging speaker. She will share photos of Wildflower Farm’s spectacular 100 acres, including what she describes as “beautiful, beautiful acres” of little and big blue stem grasses turning their rusty fall colour which, at the time of writing is “perfectly at peak” and “completely spectacular”. This will be a pleasant way to visit the farm which has ceased its casual destination status but still schedules tours and workshops, now offered only to horticultural, building and landscape architects, planners, farmers, florists, conservation and environmental groups. Wildflower Farm’s business has been completely online for the last two years.

This change in operations made it possible for Miriam to write her book Taming Wildflowers which she will have available for sale at our meeting. Don’t miss her expert lessons in step-by-step seeding and nurturing of hardy native perennial seeds, to site specific seed mixes for everything from institutional plantings to an instant meadow for summer and fall weddings.

If that’s not what you’d call an Earth Mother, I don’t know what is!

Maria Nunes

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