Colors of Change: Observing Spring’s Green Grasses Recalled to Life

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During my daily runs and bike rides this week, I have observed the dormant, brown grass turn into verdant green blades.  In my jaunts, I have also noticed tree buds forming; hyacinth, daffodils, and tulips popping up from the ground; and earth worms wiggling with delight through the varying green colors.

Daffodils in my landscape

Daffodils in my landscape

All of these sights are most welcome, not only because they color the landscape, but also because they signal spring’s arrival, which means I will be able to run and bike under more favorable and less inclement conditions.

Green Fields

The greening of my lawn and the fields around my house got me thinking about the many types of grass.  The grass in my yard is a mix of perennial ryegrass, fine fescue, and Kentucky bluegrass.  My fields contain orchardgrass, which is used by farmers in my area as feed for livestock, mulch for plants, and erosion control.

Ryegrass, fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass mix  Source: www.scotts.com

Ryegrass, fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass mix
Source: http://www.scotts.com

The colors of green range from greenish blue of the Kentucky bluegrass to the lime green of the ryegrass.  Some sections are greener than others.   Areas where the snow of winter sat longest are slower to awaken, and some have snow mold, characterized by white or grayish powder on the grass blades.

Soak Up the Sun

Though grass in general appears to be simple on the surface, it has a somewhat complex structure with each part playing a role.  Rhizomes grow below the surface to facilitate nutrient absorption from the soil and support the blades.  The stolen are horizontal appendages that assist with reproduction.  The leaf blade, also known as the lamina, is the most visible part of the structure.  It acts as a medium for transporting nutrients and as a means for identifying grass types.  The peduncle is the uppermost portion, supporting the seed head.

Grass structure

Source: http://www.fsl.orst.edu/forages/projects/regrowth/print.cfm?PageID=11

All parts of the structure are affected by the amount of sunlight and moisture received.  The sun starts  the process of photosynthesis, the transfer of light energy into chemical energy.  Water helps transfer nutrients throughout the structure.  This is one reason why the grass appears greener after a rain.

Sunshine On My Shoulders

With the sun on my shoulders, blue sky above, and wind in my hair, I feel like a grass blade myself, awakening from the cold of winter.  The sun warms my bones.  The blue sky inspires me.  The wind creates a sense of potential for growth and freedom.

In many ways, I feel “recalled to life” like the character Dr. Monet in Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities.  Though my human body has a different support structure than that of grass, I still need the sun and rain to live, learn, and grow.

Sunrise at my house April 10, 2015

Sunrise at my house April 10, 2015

Resources and Related Links

Dormant grass – http://www.milorganite.com/Lawn-Care/Lawn-Care-Basics/Dormancy

Fine fescue – http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/tidbit_templatea617.html

Grass types – http://www.scotts.com/smg/gosite/Scotts-v2/grassTypeIdent;jsessionid=407E82C64EAD6CDD2B5C8BBEFFFB102E?stp=1

Kentucky blue grass – https://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_popr.pdf

Orchardgrass – http://extension.psu.edu/plants/crops/forages/species/orchardgrass

Perennial ryegrass – http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/TURF/TURFSPECIES/perrye.html

Peduncle – http://www.fsl.orst.edu/forages/projects/regrowth/print.cfm?PageID=11

Photosynthesis – http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/458172/photosynthesis

Rhizomes – http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/501483/rhizome

Snow mold – https://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/bp/bp-101-w.pdf

Stolen – http://www.fsl.orst.edu/forages/projects/regrowth/print.cfm?PageID=11

Tale of Two Citieshttp://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/t/a-tale-of-two-cities/a-tale-of-two-cities-at-a-glance

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