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100 Favorite Garden Wildflowers

100 Favorite Garden Wildflowers
Teri Dunn
New York: Metro Books
Publication Date: 

cloth, 120 p., $15.98.

One hundred seems to be the magic number in making a list. There are the 100 best movies, the 100 best books, and now we have Teri Dunn's collection of the 100 Favorite Garden Wildflowers. And a handsome volume it is, obviously designed for a coffee table with over a hundred color photographs, a graceful, well-written text, and a lavish use of white space — always a sign of a "class" publication.

This is an eclectic collection, with entries from many different habitats — woodlands, prairie, bogs and western mountains. A purist might quarrel with a few of the inclusions, non-native species such as Queen Anne's lace and ox-eye daisy, as well as the controversial purple loosestrife. But being a personal list rather than a technical treatise, and obviously meant for the novice wildflower grower, such quibbling is probably undeserved.

The information provided in this book is practical, well-organized and easy-to-read. Each wildflower merits its own page and color illustration, with time of bloom, height, width, light requirements and hardiness all entered, along with a brief description of the plant, and some specifics on its care. In the book's introduction, there is general information on how to buy, plant and care for wildflowers as well as details on designing a wildflower garden. Lists of wildflower sources are included along with recommendations for further reading and a hardiness chart.

Interestingly, the book lists some Australian sources for these plants, as well as United States and Canadian. Since the wildflowers covered in this book are U.S. species, it suggests the popularity of our native wildflowers abroad.

— Jim Kemper, Contributing Writer and Master Gardener at the Chicago Botanic Garden.