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Timber Press Pocket Guide to Ornamental Grasses

By Rick Darke

You'll be convinced there's a grass to solve every landscape dilemma.

Valerie Easton, Seattle Times

An accessible and comprehensive reference to the wide range of striking grasses available to gardeners, this pocket guide features an assortment of plants with varied textures, forms, sizes, and flowering times. In a handy, compact format, new varieties are presented, as well as plant descriptions and cultivation information. More than 500 species and cultivars are covered, illustrated with over 300 color photographs.

Media reviews

"A thorough, scholarly handbook that's valuable for identification and information."

—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post

"This easy-to-use pocket size edition of colorful ornamental grasses with color photos taken by the author is a great help to any gardener planning on adding them to the garden design."

—Joanne S. Carpender, National Gardener

"A reference workhorse that should be part of any garden library."

—Abigail Higgins, Martha's Vineyard Times

"Another winner. ... Darke writes with expertise garnered from 20 years experience as an assistant taxonomist and later curator of plants at the renowned Longwood Gardens, along with his current role as a landscape design consultant."

—Nancy Szerlag, Detroit News

"The volume is a timely addition on a current hot topic in horticulture."

—Kathy Fescemyer, E-Streams

"This is a handy, condensed–but just as useful–compilation."

—Patricia A. Taylor, Trenton Times

"Rick Darke's personal insight into each plant's outstanding horticultural features and his excellent photographs demonstrate both a professional and hands-on love of ornamental grasses."

—James L. Luteyn, Plant Science Bulletin

"Retailing for under $20.00, anyone wishing to have all needed information on ornamental grasses should make this small investment and obtain this work."

—John E. Bryan, Gardening Newsletter

"If you thought there were just a few varieties, arm yourself with the Timber Press Pocket Guide to Ornamental Grasses."

—Pattie Baron, London Evening Standard

"This handy paperback includes crisp color photographs, useful appendixes and a broad encyclopedia of terrific grasses—all laid out in an easy-to-use format that makes it a great reference to take along to nurseries or garden centers."

—Sarah Robertson, Eugene Register-Guard

"When researching which varieties [of ornamental grasses] to use in your own project, I recommend starting with any book by Rick Darke."

—Leah Berg, Kansas City Gardener

"Thanks to Rick Darke and Timber for making my life easier."

—Donna Williamson, HortResources Newsletter

"Looking for help choosing grasses for your garden? You’ll find it in Rick Darke’s Timber Press Pocket Guide to Ornamental Grasses."

—Jan Riggenbach, Omaha World-Herald

"You can take this handy book to any nursery or garden center as a reference."

—Thomas Mickey, Brockton Enterprise

"Home gardeners seeking a clear pathway through the bewildering maze of ornamental grasses will find help in this newly published, compact guide."

—Helen Chesnut, Victoria Times Colonist

"Rick Darke’s gift with words carries this Pocket Guide to Ornamental Grasses from the arena of useful reference to the poetry corner."

—Mary Ann Fink, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Home gardeners will appreciate not only the lightweight portability of this guide but the price as well."

—Marianne Binetti, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"It's the perfect size for trips to the nursery and provides quick reference to help you "weed" through the varietal fields of grasses."

—John Bagnasco, Garden Compass

"You'll be convinced there's a grass to solve every landscape dilemma."

—Valerie Easton, Seattle Times

"After using these lists, turning to the photos, and reading how easy many of these grasses are to grow, you'll be convinced there's a grass to solve every landscape dilemma."

—Valerie Easton, Seattle Times


—Karen Hopson, Albany Democrat-Herald

"Rick Darke explores the world of 430 grass species and cultivars, while the photographs offer one-glance shopping."

—Sharon Wootton, Olympia Olympian

"This book will be a useful addition to gardening sections of public libraries, as well as to individual gardeners or garden centers."

—Elaine Ezell, American Reference Books Annual

"Provides back-yard gardeners and professionals alike with an impressive array of color photographs, many in natural settings, and readable and informative text on how to grow grasses and which species and cultivars are available for cultivation."

—James L. Luteyn, Plant Science Bulletin

"Like landscape gardening itself, Rick Darke's Pocket Guide to Ornamental Grasses is a delightful mix of art and science; its photos a pleasure to the eye, its descriptive text and horticultural insight a pleasure to the mind."

—Liz Kirchner-Parr, Fairfax ReLeaf

"This is the handy-dandy book to take to your garden center when shopping for any ornamental grass."

—George Graine, Virginia Master Gardeners Association Report

"A must-have for any gardener who wants to incorporate decorative grasses into the garden and landscape."

—Nancy Szerlag, Detroit News

"I recommend this book as a first-rate reference for an important group of plants, for the exciting photos, and because it covers twice as many grasses as John Greenlee's book on this same topic."

—Susi Torre-Bueno, Let's Talk Plants

"Pocket Guide is a ideal reference for anyone interested in ornamental grasses, particularly gardeners at all levels."

—Henry Berry, Midwest Book Review

"Over 530 species and cultivars are described, a great achievement."

—John E. Bryan, Gardening Newsletter

"A comprehensive, thorough, and well-illustrated reference to more than 400 species and cultivars, including several new introductions."

—Ethel Fried, Manchester (CT) Journal Inquirer

"Fits in a pocket."

—Suzanne Hively, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Beautifully illustrated ... will make a fine addition to the shelf of any gardener."

—Dan Hays, Salem Statesman Journal

"Demystifies ornamental grass culture."

—Ruth Ott, Door County Extra

About the author

Rick Darke

Rick Darke is a landscape design consultant, author, lecturer, and photographer based in Pennsylvania who blends art, ecology, and cultural geography in the creation and conservation of livable landscapes. Darke served on the staff of Longwood Gardens for twenty years, and in 1998 he received the Scientific Award of the American Horticultural Society.

Read more about Rick Darke

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