Greg graduated from the University of Arizona in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture. After working in the landscape industry he went back to the University to study Botany and further his education in horticulture. Greg worked for Warren Jones (co-author of Plants for Dry Climates and Landscape Plants for Dry Regions) and Dr. Charles Mason at the University of Arizona herbarium. Greg made his first foray into the world of collecting in 1979 when he traveled with Warren and Bill Kinneson to Texas. He emerged from the University in 1985 with a Master of Science in Horticulture with a special emphasis on botany.
He opened Starr Nursery in the summer of 1985, and has specialized in low water use plants for landscaping in southern Arizona. Greg has traveled extensively in Mexico and the southwestern United States to study the plants for their potential landscape use in desert regions of the world. He has also traveled to South Africa in search of potential landscape plants for southern Arizona.
Greg has written several horticultural articles for the journal Desert Plants. Topics have covered various groups of plants as well as botanizing in South Africa. He has also described a new species of Agave, two new species and a subspecies of Hesperaloe, and revised the genus Hesperaloe in a monograph published in the journal Madroño. Greg worked with Dr. Jose Angel Villarreal in describing Agave ovatifolia which has been dubbed Whale’s Tongue Agave, a reflection of the incredibly wide leaves that sometimes double as water harvesting vessels. Greg’s book, Cool Plants for Hot Gardens, was released at the end of April 2009. He is putting the finishing touches on another book, tentatively titled Enchanting Agave: 75 species, hybrids and cultivars.
He has taught Plant Biology and Plant Materials classes at The Art Center Design College in Tucson for their program of Landscape Architecture.
Greg spends most of his days tending to Starr Nursery, specializing in Agaves and related plants as well as other succulents and new introductions of perennials, flowering shrubs, and small trees from arid and semi-arid regions around the world. He and his four-legged pal Nikki spend many hours in the nursery potting up Agaves and other cool plants, chasing rabbits, and napping on the soil pile.
Gardeners and garden designers are having a love affair with agaves. It's easy to see why--they're low maintenance, drought-tolerant, and strikingly sculptural, with an astounding range of form and color. Many species are strikingly variegated, and some have contrasting ornamental spines on the edges of their leaves. Fabulous for container gardening or in-the-ground culture, they combine versatility with easy growability.
In "Agaves," plant expert Greg Starr profiles 75 species, with additional cultivars and hybrids, best suited to gardens and landscapes. Each plant entry includes a detailed description of the plant, along with its cultural requirements, including hardiness, sun exposure, water needs, soil requirements, and methods of propagation. Agaves can change dramatically as they age and this comprehensive guide includes photos showing each species from youth to maturity--a valuable feature unique to this book.
In Cool Plants for Hot Gardens: 200 Water-Smart Choices for the Southwest, the award-winning horticulturist, nursery owner, and master gardener Greg Starr provides an indispensable reference for arid climates. He offers extensive information on 200 low-water-use plants, including clear descriptions of each plant and its ornamental features, maintenance, and climate requirements, along with landscape applications, precautions, and tips for plant identification. He completes each entry with a handy At a Glance Summary. This is an essential tool for gardeners, professional and amateur landscapers, and anyone interested in conserving precious desert water without sacrificing attractive, healthy plants.