Author: Neil Lucas

Publisher: Timber Press

ISBN-13: 978-0-88192-983-6

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An appreciation of ornamental grasses has slowly influenced garden designers in a stealth manner. At first, we noticed them planted in Mediterranean-style gardens in South West USA, where drought filled summers are common. Then we began to see them in the prairie meadows of the Mid West. Eventually, they were included in revolutionary and boundary-breaking designs of public spaces in the North and North East. In tandem with these developments has been the rise in profile of grass-filled meadow gardens as an optional replacement for resource-depleting lawns.

Today, ornamental grasses are considered as significant as perennials. Several publications have been written about designing with these plants and it is only a coincidence that, of them all, Neil Lucas’ book has crossed my path. The author is a nine-time, award winning ornamental grass specialist, who lectures around the world.

According to Mr. Lucas, the rise in importance of ornamental grasses mirrors contemporary expectations that gardens should be successful with less work. These plants are helpful in that regard. Their adaptability to a wide range of climates and growing conditions allows them to contribute more to a garden’s success, using fewer plants and less labor. In addition, ornamental grasses work to complement other plants as they supply form, structure and movement to the garden. Their versatility makes them adaptable to grow in sandy or clay soils, in sun or shade, in dry or wet areas, and under trees.

The author elaborates on the multi-purposeful contribution of grasses to garden design. He discusses how their color and lasting form give a garden year-round continuity and how their texture and shape add character. We also learn that grasses have the ability to capture the wind, thereby creating movement and sound in the garden. Mr. Lucas further highlights the effectiveness of grasses as design elements by describing how they influence static foundation plants with their movement and how they help to soften the straight-edge boundaries of hedges and hardscapes. It is fascinating to learn that when grass plumage captures the rising and setting sun, they transform sunlight into a design element.

Also discussed in detail, are the conditions under which grasses will thrive and the varieties that perform best in each of the different growing environments. These include, sun baked, gravel and drought conditions, woodland and shade, wet and waterside positions, pots and containers, erosion control, habitat restoration, green roofs, rain gardens, and native gardens.

Specific tools for maintenance are suggested and care advice is offered for the many classifications of grasses, such as deciduous, summer dormant, evergreen, and semi evergreen. In addition, there are tips for maintaining meadows, lawns, green roofs, container–grown grasses as well as propagation. Finally, the author supplies a beautifully illustrated directory of grasses and grass-like perennials with technical information on no less than 450 plants. Some garden books inspire us with words, others with images. This publication does both.


Click Here To Purchase Designing with Grasses