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The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes

Articles: The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes

Grasses are in the news!

A recent front-page article in the San Francisco Chronicle extolled the virtues of a tropical grass now being tested by the University of Illinois as a potential biofuel crop.

Depending, one supposes, on their political persuasions, the newspaper’s readership might have given a generous nod of approval to this development, or casually moved on to news of America’s psuedo-celebrities. Meanwhile, horticulturists would have dug deeper, searching for the identity of this supergrass. They would have discovered it to be a clone of Miscanthus ×giganteus. So, what, pray tell, is that?

The answer may be found in this splendid book by noted grasses expert Rick Darke. This volume represents a sumptuous evolution from his Color Encyclopedia of Ornamental Grasses (1999), and, although this new book might be mistaken for a typical oversized piece of prettiness to decorate the coffee table, it is ever so much more than just big and beautiful.

It is comprehensive, up-to-date, and mature. Darke shows us grasses (which he no longer finds necessary to describe as “ornamental”) as bona-fide denizens of the modern garden and, further, places them in the fo...

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