May 23, 2018
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Best wildflower spot in the U.S.? New book says it’s Mount Rainier

By Craig Sailor, McClatchy Newspapers

A new book that picks the 50 best wildflower spots in the world names Mount Rainier National Park as the best in the U.S. for its natural bouquet.

“Possibly the most flowery place in the world,” reads the caption for the photo Bob Gibbons took on Mazama Ridge near Paradise, Wash.

The book, “Wildflower Wonders: The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World,” was published this month and contains 200 color photos and short write-ups on each spot.

Gibbons, a photographer and tour guide, has traveled five continents and more than 20 countries, including Ireland, Turkey, South Africa, Iran and Australia, to get photos for his book.

Whether you’re a gardener, naturalist or traveler (armchair or actual) there’s something appealing in this book. Gardeners will get inspiration from nature’s bounty while travelers will appreciate tips on the best times to visit.

Gibbons has selected only sites that offer access, a long display and a varied palette of flowers. The cover photo shows a Greek hillside covered in a rainbow of wildflowers. It’s a nice reminder that Greece has more going for it than a crippling debt crisis.

In the U.S., Gibbons visits Washington, Oregon, Colorado and California.

Gibbons informs his readers that if you can only visit one site in North America, make it Mount Rainier. He calls it a magical place. After the two page write-up on Rainier is a panoramic photo shot at Mazama Ridge showing lupine, paintbrush and other flowers.

Gibbons also heralds the area’s vast reaches of avalanche lilies and white spires of beargrass flowers that flank the park’s mountains and ridges. For visitors from out of the area, he suggests visits to the park’s Hoh and Quinault rain forests where flowers give way to moss-draped trees.

For the gardener it serves as a reminder that nature, not people, makes the most spectacular gardens.

“Wildflower Wonders: The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World,” by Bob Gibbons, from Princeton University Press, retails for $27.95, but is $17.89 at


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