Book Review of Bamboo for Gardens
American Bamboo Society Logo
Promoting the Beauty and Utility of Bamboo
Book thumbnail Bamboo for Gardens
Ted Jordan Meredith
Foreword by Susanne Lucas, Past-president of the American Bamboo Society
ISBN 0-88192-507-1, 408 pp, 158 color photos, 5 line drawings
7 3/8 x 10 3/8", hardcover, © 2000

Bamboos are unfortunately too often kept out of gardens for fear of their invasive qualities or lack of hardiness. In truth, these elegant grasses, encompassing both woody and herbaceous forms, can achieve dramatic yet restrained effects in a range of climates. Tropical and subtropical bamboos present many possibilities for landscapes in warmer climates, while the hardier species can be grown as far north as Minnesota.

Bamboo expert Ted Jordan Meredith provides a thorough and multifaceted treatment of these ancient grasses, including insight into selecting the right plant for the right situation. The bulk of the book is an encyclopedia of bamboo genera, species, and cultivars. More than 300 bamboos from 40 different genera are described in detail, including information on size, lighting and temperature requirements, native range, physical characteristics, and landscape and other uses. Excellent color photos and clear line drawings effectively illustrate both the details and broader effects of these exquisite plants.

American Library Association

A resurgence of interest in bamboos calls for an expert to help gardeners select appropriate plants for a given setting. Meredith’s approach perfectly suits this objective, with engaging personal experience illuminating comprehensive coverage of the subject at hand.

The book’s attractive format opens the door to the usefulness and beauty of bamboos, presenting a vast range of possibilities to enhance a garden or landscape. And although avid plant lovers have generally overcome a fear of the invasiveness associated with these plants, Meredith addresses the issue with a chapter pointing out landscaping options and maintenance requirements. He also lists bamboos for special situations, so readers can glean which plants might be used to create an evergreen privacy screen, lush grove, or other design ideas that might translate to a private garden. Concluding with an encyclopedic reference that provides particulars on form, color, cultural requirements, and the habits of each species, Meredith’s fine resource offers clarity and enlightenment to new and experienced gardeners alike.

- Alice Joyce, Booklist, American Library Association, August 1, 2001

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