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Pocket Guide to Ornamental Grasses (Timber Press Pocket Guides) Paperback – Illustrated, August 1, 2004

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Darke's voice is one of the most authoritative and pleasing to read in the world of horticulture, and in this small-format compendium on myriad grasses, his exceptional photographs provide an alluring complement. As availability of new species and cultivars continues to increase at an amazing pace, gardeners require updated resources. In this handy guide, Darke extends the material and research from his Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses (1999), adding descriptions of the most current plant choices. The use of ornamental grasses in garden designs has greatly beautified and enlivened personal and public landscapes in recent years. Darke's latest effort, including a source list, provides essential and helpful advice for selecting and cultivating a breathtaking range of grasses for every situation. Alice Joyce
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"A thorough, scholarly handbook that's valuable for identification and information."
—Joel M. Lerner, Washington Post, August 20, 2005 (The Washington Post)

"It's the perfect size for trips to the nursery and provides quick reference to help you 'weed' through the varietal fields of grasses."
—ohn Bagnasco, Garden Compass, April 2005 (Garden Compass)

"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, November 2004 (National Gardener)

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Product Details

  • Series: Timber Press Pocket Guides
  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated (August 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881926531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881926538
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.6 x 5.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,700 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rick Darke heads RICK DARKE LLC (www.rickdarke.com) a Pennsylvania USA-based consulting firm specializing in landscape ethics, photography, and contextual design. Darke's work blends art, ecology, horticulture, and cultural geography in the creation, conservation, and management of broadly functional living landscapes.

A knowledgeable field ecologist and horticulturist, Darke's professional experience includes 16 years as Longwood Gardens' Curator of Plants, during which he studied and photographed a great array of world ecologies including those of South Africa, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Canary Islands, and northern Europe. He continues to travel both hemispheres in search of ideas to sustain and enrich the global garden. His work has been featured on National Public Radio, in The New York Times, the Huffington Post, in Garden Design Magazine, BBC Gardens Illustrated and elsewhere.

Darke's approach to landscape design and management is grounded in first-hand observation of regional ecologies and cultural landscapes. He has studied and photographed North American plants in their habitats for more than 40 years, and this work is reflected in his books including The American Woodland Garden: Capturing the Spirit of the Deciduous Forest (Timber Press, 2002), which was profiled on National Public Radio and also received the American Horticultural Society's Book Award, the Garden Writers Association Golden Globe Award for book photography, the National Arbor Day Foundation's Certificate of Merit.

Darke is recognized as one of the world's experts on grasses and their use in public and private landscapes. His book, The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes (Timber Press, 2007) includes over 1000 photos of grasses in global landscapes, and is the most complete reference on this subject. It has been published in French (Editions du Rouergue, 2007) and German (Verlag Eugen Ulmer, 2010)

Rick wrote the foreword for Doug Tallamy's shape-changing book, Bringing Nature Home: How you Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants (Timber Press, 2009).

Darke worked with Timber Press to produce The Wild Garden: Expanded Edition (2009). In addition to reproducing the complete unabridged text and all the original illustrations from William Robinson's revolutionary classic, this expanded edition includes new chapters and over 100 photos by Darke, placing Robinson's concept of wild gardening in modern ecological context.

Darke contributed illustrated chapters to two multi-author books published in 2011: The New American Sustainable Garden (Timber Press) includes Rick's chapter on Balancing Natives and Exotics in the Garden. Fallingwater (Rizzoli, 2011) includes his chapter Wright in the Woods: The Nature of Fallingwater's Landscape.

Rick contributed the preface, multiple essays and photography to Annik LaFarge's book On the High Line: Exploring America's Most Original Urban Park (Thames & Hudson 2012). A revised and expanded edition was published in June 2014.

Most recently Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy continued their collaboration with a jointly-authored new book, The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, published by Timber Press in June 2014. Chapters include "Layers in Wild Landscapes", "The Community of Living Organisms: Why Interrelationships Matter More Than Numbers", "The Ecological Functions of Gardens: What Landscapes Do", "The Art of Observation", and "Applying Layers to the Home Garden". With over 500 photos and 70,000 words The Living Landscape describes and illustrates a broadly inclusive approach to garden design that supports both humans and wildlife.

Later in 2014 Darke's work will appear in The Good Gardener?: Nature, Humanity and the Garden, a multi-author work edited by Annette Giesecke and Naomi Jacobs. Published by Artifice Books on Architecture (London, an imprint of Black Dog Press). This heavily illustrated book will include Darke's chapter titled "The Accidental Landscape". The Good Gardener? is now available for pre-order through Amazon.

Darke is a frequent lecturer on a diverse array of topics relating to gardens and global landscapes. His programs utilize state of the art digital presentation technologies and typically integrate video. For further information visit www.rickdarke.com

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
TIMBER PRESS POCKET GUIDE TO ORNAMENTAL GRASSES by Rick Darke. Timber Press, 133 S.W. Second Ave. - Site 450, Portland, OR 97204-3527. 2004. 226 pp. $19.95 flexible hardcover, ISBN 0-88192-653-1. color photographs, glossary, index.

Over 330 bright, sharp color photographs illustrate as many different kinds of ornamental grasses. The grasses are cataloged alphabetically. But 32 categories preceding the encyclopedic catalog group the hundreds of kinds according to different characteristics. A few of these are clumping ornamental grasses, cool-season ornamental grasses, ornamental grasses for cut flowers, ornamental grasses for dry sites (and woodlands, dry shade, fragrance, etc.), and ornamental grasses for movement in breezes. Ornamental grasses are becoming increasing popular with today's gardeners because of their textures, variety, and adaptability. And because, as the numerous photographs show, they make for attractive gardens and landscapes that do not appear overly manicured. Darke is a landscape design consultant who has won awards in the field. His "Pocket Guide" is a ideal reference for anyone interested in ornamental grasses, particularly gardeners at all levels.
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I checked this book out from my local library in order to preview it before buy it on Amazon. I was not disappointed which comes as no surprise especially since I am one of the fortunate ones who, about 10 years ago, had the chance to study Ornamental Grasses at Longwood Gardens with Rich Darke. He knows his stuff. The book is well written, concise and intespersed throughout with the author's personal observations on specific genera and individual species. Excellent photography supports the text. Rich Darke is one of the best garden/horticultural writers of his time. I also highly recommend another of his books, "The American Woodland Garden" for his well written prose and the ability to articulate the beauty and nuances of each scene photographed as well as a plant's more endearing or not so endearing aspects. Stunning photography.
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Format: Paperback
The author writes from a very strong background gained from having planted many of the ornamentals described and photographed in this excellent book. There is much helpfull detail that greatly aids the reader in selecting plants.
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Format: Paperback
This little book is everything I heard it would be - a perfect compliment to the larger color encyclopedia. Rick Darke has done a wonderful job for those of us who don't have access to so much first hand info.
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