hands down the best book for........

gardenlady48(z5 IL)February 25, 2006


I need to find the absolute best book for designing with ornamental grasses.....plese share your choice. Thanks for you time! :-)

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Taylor's Master Guide to Landscaping

It's not just grasses, but has many in it's designs. 372 pages of photos and ideas for landscape design, maintenance and renovation.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 8:50AM
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Check out pretty much any book by Piet Oudolf, particularly 'Gardening with Grasses" with Michael King or "Planting the Natural Garden" with Henk Gerritsen. Oudolf is a master at designing with ornamental grasses and has done much to bring these plants to the popularity they now have in the country.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2006 at 10:14AM
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Check out "Grasses" by Nancy Ondra, photographs by Saxon Holt. Absolutely the best photos of ornamental grasses I have seen, capturing their unique beauty and appeal. The book is broken down into chapters listing OG varieties by their colors, uses in the garden and special habitats. It is very useful for design purposes. However, the book does not provide an encyclopedic listing of most or all OG varieties, if that is what you are looking for.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2006 at 10:43PM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

Being one that is just a rookie in the grasses jaunra I have several different grass books and each and everyone of them holds something that is not quite there in any of the others.

It might be a photo or an article. It might be the description of how to maitain that grass or what other plant or plants goes good with a particular grass.

Each book is worth the money I spent to get that book.

My list includes these books:

The Pathfinders Guide to Ornamental Grasses by: Roger Grounds

Step-by-Step ornamental grasses, by Better Homes and Gardens

ORNAMENTAL GRASSES The amber wave, by: Carole Ottensen

Gardening With Grasses, by: Michael King, Piet Oudolf

GRASSES by: Nancy J. Ondra

The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses by: Rick

Pocket Guide to Ornamental Grasses by: Rick Darke

Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses text by: John Greenlee photographs by: Derek Fell (who is an excellent landscape / plant photyographer, writer and speaker)

Taylors Guide to Ornamental Grasses

From these books I have found most everything that I think is important to grass habitat, grass characteristics and grasses in all forms, shapes and sizes.

These books have worked for me and I still contiue to look for more books because every grass covered by one author is not spoken of the same way by another.

So which book would I recommend ?? Let read through them again and maybe I might be able to narrow it down to 6 or 7 books.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 4:13PM
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Good question, but you won't get an absolute answer here. (And that is absolute.)

Best book? More likely "favorite" book. For design: Piet OudolfÂs "Designing with Plants." Good because it shows grasses in combination with other plants and plant-shapes. (All of OudolfÂs books are good in this regard. See reviews at amazon.)

For grasses only: absolutely, hands-down, bar-noneÂRick DarkeÂs "Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental GrassesÂ" ÂDK

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 7:25AM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

gardenlady48 -

Are you asking for yourself or to suggest such book to a friend who has no design skills?

If you actually are going to use the design from any book be sure to read what zone that design was created for.

I only use the books for ideas as most times I am not wholly comfortable with the designs that I see.

I really can't believe that any designer would readily copy or use a design from a book. As a starting point maybe but by the time you finish your design will it look like the design from the book?

Mine never have and most likely never will. Thank goodness.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 8:27PM
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What'samatter, Jake? Don't any of the designs in the books include the lawn chair? ;>)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 5:58AM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

None do that I have read but then again not everyone is on the same page.

The books that i have seen I feel are only guide lines and inspiration and not specific designs that I feel would work in the landscapes that I have worked on.

Again just personal opinion here.

It's like those that think a CADD program will make them a better designer when in fact in some cases it doesn't even make some a better draftsperson.

You have it or you don't, I know it took me quite awhile to get that correct ornamental grass chair.

Dang that search took more work then planting, cutting back, making the refreshment, plopping my butt down and watching the grass grow.

Just gotta love those grasses.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 11:51PM
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Jake, you got me thinking about something I never thunk before: surely people don't look at these books in order to "copy" them, do they? The thought of someone doing that is as embarrasingly funny as it is baffling. But your questions are astute: afterall, somebody buys those preplanned and plotted perennial beds that some nurseries sell. I guess I can see a beginner doing that, but not a learner. The learner gardens from inspiration and wonder, often from a butt-in-chair position. The books mentioned here do inspire, but dirt under the fingernails holds the seeds of wonder. (Now, I've gone over the top and can't get my tongue out of my cheek.)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 7:39AM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

What other people do we have no control over. Let 'em do what works for them.

As I see the calendar and the temperature are coming together for another season of growing I need to get out to the garage, pull the chair out from under the tarp, clean it up and make sure the slats are firm enough for another season of hard watching.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 10:19AM
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Hi, I'm new here and have fallen in love with this web site. From my eavesdropping, it seems Jake has his research down, now could you maybe narrow down the book list to about 3 that provide 1)good photography, 2)solid information about growth habit, propagation, care of. I hate the books that just show how grasses look on a California hillside, I live in Indianapolis for heavens sake. So if maybe you could say which books do you consult the most. And Jake, those chairs are for dreaming up more places to dig, plants to add-you understand.
aunt millie

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 11:50AM
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gardenlady48(z5 IL)

Well, I ordered the 'Planting the Natural Garden'.....I have to say I was disappointed. I've flipped thru it twice and now it is sitting on my bookshelf. Oh well...

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 1:11PM
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Aunt millie...the two best are listed above:

The Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses, Rick Darke, Timber Press, ISBN 0881924644

The Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses, John Greenlee, Rodale, ISBN 0875961002

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 1:11PM
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Thanks for the help, I have lots of ripping out to do before I am ready to pick plants, so I will be watching for more advice. aunt millie

    Bookmark   March 18, 2006 at 2:34PM
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jake(z4b-5 NE)

Aunt Millie -

I have never needed a chair or any support to dream of places to put more plants. If there is bare ground - it needs some kind of plant.

If there is a bad looking plant then it needs to be replaced. If I want "that" spot for a different plant then that spot is where the new plant will go regardless if there is a plant there already.

I will agree with Donn on his two choices for the best OG grass books yet I cannot dispel any of the others that I listed.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 1:42PM
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