The Grass Garden was created in 1982 to showcase some of the world’s 9,000 species of grass.
Kew’s growing collection contains around 550 species. Specimens range from delicate clumps of feathery Hordeum hystrix to tall stands of the Korean feather reed grass Calamagrostis brachytricha.
The grasses are cut back in February when clumps are divided and replanted. By early summer they are in full growth and beginning to flower. From late summer and into winter the Grass Garden looks its best, with feathery seedheads catching the light of the low sun and leaves turning shades of yellow and bronze.
The sculpture 'A Sower', depicting a man flinging seed, stands in the Grass Garden. It was cast by Hamo Thornycroft in 1886 and presented to Kew by the Royal Academy of Arts.
Scientists estimate that grasses make up 20 per cent of the Earth’s vegetation. Grasses are some of the world’s most economically important plants. They provide us with cereals, form the basis for many alcoholic drinks, are widely used for creating structures and increasingly used as sources of renewable energy.