Green - such a versatile colour

Ellie Parryin Industry News

FlyTowerwatering.jpgFrom lush landscaping and manicured lawns to 90° angles on London landmarks, a remarkable 'stay-green' grass from the UK's largest seed producer is proving a hit with customers.

It took more than 12 years of conventional plant breeding and backcrossing by scientists at British Seed Houses' turfgrass breeding programme at the Institute of Grassland & Environmental Research in Aberystwyth to produce it. Today, AberNile is still the only Perennial Ryegrass on the market with the extraordinary characteristic.

Simon Taylor from BSH explains why it was such an important breakthrough in grass breeding: "When you're preparing grass surfaces for any purpose, lawns, landscaping or sport, aesthetics are important. Anyone who uses the 'So-Green' seed mixture that AberNile is blended in can see the difference it makes. Turf professionals and homeowners want to produce a green lawn without overfeeding and compromising the health of the turf. A26 also produces a hard wearing sward which will tolerate all the stresses put on family lawns."

Seed mixtures containing AberNile have been used on golf fairways, sports grounds, in turf production and for landscaping. Last year, landscape and grounds maintenance contractors N.T. Killingley used A26 to landscape the grounds of the imposing new Innovation Technology Centre in Rotherham. Ian Whibberley from the company explained why:
So-green Japanese girl.jpg
"Our company took over the maintenance of the site last summer. The grounds were sown with A26 because we wanted to make sure they did justice to such a stunning building which is a local landmark. We chose A26 for two reasons - firstly, we wanted it to display a rich, green colour all year round. Secondly, because the centre is built on the site of an old coal mine, the ground is low in nutrients and dries quickly in the summer, we needed grasses that would thrive in low-nutrient soil. We apply small amounts of fertiliser, maintain it like we would any other grass sward and get superb results."

AberNile's versatility and resilience was also demonstrated last year when artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, renowned for using grass as a canvas to produce pieces of 'living art', used it in a perennial ryegrass mixture to produce their most ambitious project to date which involved covering the north and west faces of the National Theatre's iconic Lyttelton fly tower in grass. So-Green was selected because the seedlings were subjected to a number of environmental pressures - growing vertically with a clay base, limited water and no nutrients. Despite the growing conditions being far from ideal, the results were astounding.

So-green is sold by distributors throughout Europe and the Far- East. Green Innovation Inc. has distributed it in Japan for the last five years, supplying major stores after discovering it performs exceptionally well in the country's climate. For much of the winter in Hokkaido where the company's based, there is snow cover. Many Japanese gardens are relatively small but gardeners take great pride in their perfectly manicured lawns and So-Green has proved incredibly popular.

Photo captions :- Artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey's work 'Flytower' involved covering the north and east faces of the Lyttelton fly tower in grass.
So-Green is popular in Japan where householders are proud of their perfectly manicured lawns.

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