Appreciate a humble plant

Every time I turn on the television I am faced with some cooking programme, we seem to be besotted with different ways to cook food.

There is always someone showing what can be done with different ingredients and how to present it in an appetising manner.

Whilst I do enjoy good food cooked to perfection, surely there are more things to life than just preparing a very sumptuous and expensive meal.

Food is a very important part of our existence without it we would not last, so that by providing the necessary food to keep us alive is surely more important than the various ways in which it can be prepared and presented.

However we must not lose sight of the pleasure a good meal can give.

But to appreciate the food we really need we must first be aware that we are very dependent on what we grow. Quite apart from the variety of vegetables available there is also wheat corn, oats and barley to provide healthy eating in some form or another.

But here we must give credit to one of the most important plants of all and one which we do not eat directly and that is of course grass.

Yes, a plant which we take for granted, but do we appreciate how much we depend upon it. The animals which mean so much to us in the food chain need to eat grass, the sheep crop it close, cows wrap their tongues around anything that grows in a field whilst horses are very selective.

Fortunately grass grows very strongly constantly renewing itself and only needing water and sunlight for a healthy existence.

It gives us attractively coloured fields and provides a surface on which most outdoor sports are played. But there many forms of grass, as they say in Ireland ‘There are forty shades of green’ and we must now consider how the various forms of grass are used.

A very fine grass is required for bowling greens, golf greens, cricket pitches and tennis courts.

Golf fairways, football rugby and hockey pitches require a tougher grass and the deep rough at the side of golf fairways require a thin wispy grass.

You need to be an agronomist to know all the complexities of the different forms of grass and where they are needed and how to grow them.

If you are not careful the rougher grasses will take over dominating the area and they must be firmly controlled.

There is an art in providing the right grass at the right place and evidence of this can be seen on the Turnberry golf courses. See you next week.