How about some weird wildflower seeds?

Spread the love


Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Before Christmas, my husband and I had dinner with the wildflower queen herself, Miriam Goldberger, and her husband Paul Jenkins. We see them once or twice a year, because their company, Wildflower Farms, based in Coldwater, Ontario, has a Buffalo distribution center. After the events of 9/11/01 and the subsequent anthrax scares, it was no longer possible to mail seeds from Canada to the U.S. without paying inspection fees that could add $75 to the cost of each pack of seeds. In order to serve their U.S. customers and stay competitive, Wildflower Farms has a US-based warehouse and distribution center.

As many of you may know, Miriam published a lovely book about wildflowers, Taming Wildflowers, in 2014. If you follow her on Facebook, you know she posts images of gorgeous wildflowers in her Ontario fields all year round, even in winter. And some of us (not me, sadly) visited Wildflower Farms as an extra garden bloggers’ Fling trip last June.

Finally, I was able to connect Miriam and Paul with artist Jenny Kendler last summer, and they provided all the seeds for Kendler’s Community Seed Station project, in which Buffalo residents could obtain milkweed and other seeds aimed at pollinators from centrally located kiosks.

I’m pleased to say that Miriam and Paul left me with a huge box of seeds. Even after I gave some away as holiday gifts, others to a public school project, and a big bunch went to a friend who creates sustainable, wildlife-friendly landscapes, I still have quite a few packs left. And some of these are varieties I’ve never (or rarely) heard of. For example:

Jennifer Anderson, hosted by the USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Canada Tick Trefoil (Desmodium canadense):
These are tall, pretty plants, kind of a like wild sweet peas. Indeed, they do belong to the pea family.

Public domain

Sideoats Gramma (Bouteloua curtipendula)
This is a beautiful blue-green drought-tolerant grass. It’s actually listed as endangered in Michigan.

Photo by George H. Bruso

Wild Senna (Senna hebecarpa)
Here’s another endangered plant (in some areas). It gets very tall and has yellow flowers in high summer. Some varieties have been used for what we now call “cleansing;” it’s often mentioned in 19th century literature as medicinal.

You can look up more information about these, and I have lots of other interesting varieties, including the more common asclepias, heliopsis, and rudbeckia varieties. Would you like some? Leave a comment about how you’ll be using wildflowers this year. I’ll give 6-10 packs to about 10 of you (depending on when I run out), chosen at random.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on January 12, 2016 at 8:27 am, in the category Gardening on the Planet.

Previous post
Lawn-Mowing as a Patriotic Act
Next post
Look at My Big Rock


  1. 1st January 1970 at 4:00 am —

    Please add me to the drawing, I always have room for wildflowers. These will be going on a sloped meadow in my garden.

  2. 16th February 1997 at 12:04 am —

    I have part of my very large yard that is a pain to get to and mow. I’d much rather have wildflowers growing there! It is really a lovely part of the yard–good drainage, full sunlight, but not really usable space. Wildflowers would totally make it “usable” if for no other reasons that the beauty and the flowers for the wildlife.

  3. 28th January 2006 at 5:37 am —

    Great images and of course great blog. Will be my first spring thinking of starting from seed in the garden! Please include me in the draw.

  4. 31st January 2015 at 3:57 am —

    Oh these sound lovely. We garden in Piedmont NC just south of Chapel Hill. I have a new garden – no lawn, no pesticides and I am in process of adding more grasses and perennials to the new garden, attracting birds and moths and butterflies. I have both sun and shade , dry and damp locations. These items would become jus great so please add me to your list

  5. 9th November 2015 at 5:23 pm —

    Sign me up please, and thanks!
    We bought former farmland bordered by woodland, and in both wildflowers and grasses are being reintroduced. Although we are planting many things, there are many former natives that are going into larger beds (nearer the house) and the wild areas (down near and in the wooded areas.) Also working on diversifying the woodland shrubs, which are mostly gooseberry and multiflora rose right now. The former is fine but the latter I am battling….

  6. 15th May 2016 at 5:35 am —

    I’d love to be in the drawing! I use wildflowers for the pollinators, my yard’s a Best of Texas Backyards and I always manage to find somewhere to squeeze something new in amongst the native staples. I’m in north Texas with heavy clay right smack in a little strip of blackland prairie.

  7. 11th September 2016 at 8:09 pm —

    Please include me, too! I have been trying to add more native and pollinator-friendly plants in my garden, but they can be hard to find. sometimes seed is the best way to go.

  8. 23rd September 2016 at 2:16 pm —

    These native species will be great additions to three residential gardens where natives are the focus in prairie regions of Indiana. Thanks for any types you can share.

  9. 22nd November 2016 at 7:43 pm —

    I harvested some milkweed pods last fall, still have to separate the seeds and stratify. Our community garden has had its ups and downs over four seasons, but this year looks promising. We’re going to try some naturalizing in the hard clay around the raised beds. Well, maybe a little amendment, but it just encourages the bindweed.

  10. 23rd November 2016 at 11:51 am —

    My husband and I have a couple of acres in northwest New Jersey that we’re slowly but surely transforming using permaculture principles. Since we keep bees and have a 4,800sf vegetable garden, we’re always looking to attract pollinators. Plus we’re shrinking the still-sizeable lawn a little every year by introducing native plants and perennials to the property, so your weird wildflowers would be a great addition!

  11. 23rd November 2016 at 5:58 pm —

    Please enter me in the drawing. These seeds would be for my partner, who just bought a small farm in the Wilmington, NC, area. He would like to turn one of the front fields, near the entrance, into a beautiful wildflower meadow. Thanks very much for the opportunity.

  12. 24th November 2016 at 9:13 am —

    I’d like to enter on behalf of the Memorial Park Block Club in downtown Niagara Falls. This year will be our inaugural “Black Squirrel Garden Walk.” This garden walk is a neighborhood attempt to (i.) strengthen community bonds, (ii.) highlight the beautiful architectural details of our historic homes and (iii.) show the outside world that our neighborhood is both safe and beautiful. In essence, our garden walk wants to show that older neighborhoods in Niagara Falls matter and are worth saving. We will be doing plantings in public spaces and provide materials and labor to some less fortunate neighbors so they can create their own gardens.

  13. 24th November 2016 at 9:16 am —

    I’ve been looking for some wildflowers to plant in a sunny bed by the front of my house! Those pictures look so fabulous.

  14. 24th November 2016 at 10:38 am —

    I would love to plant these in my Michigan garden!

  15. 24th November 2016 at 12:06 pm —

    Please enter my name in the giveaway. Our community must fill in a small farm pond in our common area. I have been asked to make the area a wildflower patch. We could use the seeds to add to our planned diversity. Thanks

  16. 25th November 2016 at 4:49 am —

    Wild senna is amazing, and underplanted. 4 weeks of blooms covered in dozens of bumble bees you can hear 20′ away. Awesome fall color. Highly ornamental, long, black seed pods that last the winter. Amazing plant. Did I mention it’s amazing? Miriam is good, too.

  17. 25th November 2016 at 7:11 am —

    I can use some wildflowers to help the urban pollinators here in Cleveland! I have a south-east facing front yard that I have been dreaming of turning into an urban meadow of sorts. Please keep me in mind for a pack or two of seeds.

  18. 25th November 2016 at 11:03 am —

    These flowers are beautiful! Would love to add some to my urban habitat in MO!

  19. 25th November 2016 at 11:15 am —

    Well, for us in Western New York, it does not get much more local than Southern Ontario. And the descriptions of these seeds make clear their regional applications.

  20. 25th November 2016 at 11:59 am —

    Oh, I see I may be too late! But I’d love to receive some seeds. I got rid of my yard a few years ago and replaced with natives. I do look for plants that will add interest and color. Thanks for a great gardening blog!

Leave a reply


How about some weird wildflower seeds?