Gardening & Environment

The family of grasses, the Poaceae, is the fifth largest, with 12,000 species. Their physical stature varies enormously, from low growing bents on golf greens, to pretty ornamental grasses grown in gardens, to the bamboos and elephant grasses used to feed pandas and burn for energy.

Grasses are also crucial for life. They act as a larger carbon sink than the Amazon rainforest and are used to manage floodwaters, improve soil health and provide erosion control on slopes and roadside verges.

The blogs I write here demonstrate how gardeners and researchers are increasingly using grasses to create amazing gardens, as well as helping to save our planet.

New burger restaurant champions 100% grass-fed meat

I was honoured and excited to attend the launch party of the Chalk Valley 100% grass-fed burger bar in the centre of Southampton this week. William Buckley and his wife Sarah Jane Fairey and their team, welcomed suppliers, supporters, local dignitaries, friends and family to their new 40-cover restaurant on London Road.

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Lawns are far from pointless!

I’ve just listened to Quentin Letts in his fascinating BBC Radio 4 series ‘What’s the Point of…’
This week he was digging deep to find out why the British are obsessed with lawns.

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Waitrose joins initiative to make sustainable packaging from grass

A new Welsh Government funded (of almost £600,000) project is looking to isolate and extract sugars and other components from ryegrass, and convert them into products that have a lower carbon footprint than oil. These will include pulp-moulded packaging products for retail applications such as food packaging.

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Only animals grazing grass can save the planet

Grazing guru and biologist Allan Savoury recently gave an inspirational TED talk (riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world at www.ted.com). It has already had over 600,000 views – so it’s certainly hitting a chord.
His key messages are: Two thirds of the world (yes two thirds) is turning to desert – rainfall that falls onto bare earth quickly evaporates, carbon is also released into the air and the soils below are dead. Nothing will grow.

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