I’m gonna hop on the good foot, do the bad thing and get straight to it: your lawn is the bombdiggity. It’s amazing. It’s like the first pancake you get right on Shrove Tuesday. It’s like throwing a ball against a wall and finally reaching your target of a hundred. It’s like… oh you get the gist.
Of course, you probably had an inkling of this already. You stare out the window and at your lawn a lot, so you know grass is wicked-groovy. Nonetheless, I’m totes willing to make a bet with you. I bet you didn’t know just how awesome grass is and, to back that up, I’ve pulled together a list of 10 Melt-Your-Mind Facts that you can check off with a tick or a big, fat, X-Factor-style, red X. Good luck.
Okay, some people (cough, Americans) think there are three types of grass, and they’re not totally wrong. But given almost every habitat and biome on our amazing planet grows some type of grass as its resident – that’s a pretty big dollop of ground to call home. And, like human beans, grass comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes and whatnot. There’s the sort of grass that makes up your lawn, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane and, yup, even bamboo is a type of grass.
Now, I don’t want to call out Americans again, but they love a fake flamingo. In fact, shops in the US of A sell around 250,000 of these pink lawn ornaments each year. Thanks a lot, Don Featherstone. That’s the name of the dude who first designed these things in 1957. It’s even got to the stage where there are more fake flamingos than real ones.
When grass puts down its roots and they start growing beneath the soil, your grass starts to act as an anchor for all the loose soil and sand around it. That means grass everywhere is helping trap water by storing it in their roots and blades and other body parts. And that’s not all. Grass is also one lean, mean, green, air-cleaning machine thanks to that little thing called photosynthesis. How awesome is grass?
All the best sports require grass to be played. Football (or soccer if you’re a confused American who hasn’t realised your version of “football” is played with your hands), golf, rugby, hurling, rounders, five-a-side archery and, at the top of the pile, tennis. In fact, the most expensive slab of lawn in the world is our very own Centre Court at Wimbledon. This famous tennis court is covered in around 54 million single grass plants and requires quite a bit of maintenance.
Okay, I should probably say, if you’re drinking wine made from grass, you’re not drinking wine. However, loads of your other favourite boozy tipples are made from various grasses. Barley, rye, and wheat are all used to make whiskey, while rice is used to make sake (lethal stuff). Alas, we all owe a lot to grass because, well, partying without our favourite cocktails just wouldn’t be the same.
Are you ready for a maths test? No? Tough. If a lawn fills around six grass plants per square inch and the average lawn size is about one-fifth of an acre, is it true there are over 1.2 million square inches in a garden and thus over seven million grass plants in that garden? Yes. It is. Now imagine how many grass plants there are on a golf course, where there is an average of 74 acres at those al fresco sports venues.
We know pushing a mower up and down in neat lines is no one’s idea of a good-time. But I have some good news to make it sit a little better. You can actually burn around 380 calories by giving your lawn a half-hour mow. That means you can have a doughnut for brekky and then burn it off immediately without having to go to a gym and pretending like you know what you’re doing.
Technically – technically – palm trees can be classified as “very tall grass” thanks to their biological makeup. To clarify this, grass is a monocot, and monocots are classified as having one seed and fibrous stems. Ipso facto, palm trees are actually just uncut grass.
Believe it or not (and I can’t see what evidence you have up your sleeve to not believe this), but some white-coat wearing scientists have found a species of seagrass in the Med that has existed for 200,000 years. That makes it one of the oldest living organisms to have ever been discovered. Ever.
Here’s a cool fact for you: grasslands make up most of the Earth. That’s right. And not just that but grasslands are actually some of the largest ecosystems in the whole world. To put that into figures, roughly 20-40% of the Earth is covered in grassland. And then there’s the small fact that over 800 million people are dependent on grasslands, whether that be for agriculture and their livelihood. Grass is a giver.