While much of our 'Green and pleasant land' was looking decidedly beige this summer, there were patches of dark green, lush turf which stood out from the rest.
Some of these enviable lawns were created by 'Lawn Solutions (UK) Limited', a lawncare company based near Thame, which operates in and around the counties of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The company is owned and run by David Hedges-Gower, a former Course Manager at the prestigious Oxfordshire Golf Club with more than 25 years turf management experience.
Contrary to popular belief, the results weren't achieved by watering, but by the use of the A26 'So-green' seed mixture from British Seed Houses. It contains AberNile, the revolutionary Perennial Ryegrass with 'stay green' technology bred by scientists at BSH's turfgrass breeding programme at IGER, Aberystwyth.
The company maintains a number of lawns on large private estates, where there's pressure to keep them green, whatever the weather. "When you're maintaining private lawns, your customer wants to look out of his window and see a green lawn, not a dry, brown patchy one, even though there's no irrigation available", commented David.
"This isn't a miracle seed, you can't just throw it down, but we treat it the same as we do any other seed mixture and we get great results. At one particular estate in Oxfordshire, the customer's entrance drive was sown with A26 by Head Gardener Nick Foot in April. It germinated quickly and we followed up with a slow-release fertiliser in May. It's been fed just once, had no water applied at all and it has stayed a rich, green colour all summer. They mow it down to 25mm but it's not growing excessively and the plant is more resistant to disease than some of the other seed mixtures we use. As a trial, we sowed one 12 foot strip with A26 and another with a golf rough and habitat mixture. The difference in appearance visually was amazing, considering the drought!"
"We recommend 'So-green' to our clients because they can see the difference it makes, and to them, aesthetics are important. We want to give them 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 a family lawn."
The stay-green characteristic found in AberNile is a unique development of British Seed Houses. For more information on its 'Grade A' range of seed mixtures, visit www.bshamenity.com.