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"Like Watching Grass Grow": Finding the Fascination in the Unseen


Like watching grass grow is a uniquely English expression, an idiom. And while some other languages do have expressions involving grass (and we English speakers have others as well) none seem to have settled as we have on the idea that watching grass grow is the tiresome, boring thing that we say it is.


But what if I told you that there’s a whole world of intrigue lurking beneath the surface? You might say, “Grass, really?” And I would say, “ Yes!” That ubiquitous green blanket that seems to stretch forever under our feet has secrets to reveal, tales to tell, and dreams to induce—welcome to the realm of grass varieties.


I work alone, and have a vivid imagination, so in researching this episode, I thought of myself as an intrepid explorer armed with a mission to unravel the mysteries of grasses, I embarked on a journey that initially seemed as laid-back as, well, watching grass grow. My destination? A podcast episode that would whisk you off to dreamland with its lush content. But oh, the twists and turns this journey took!


Ever heard of Love Grass? A name so poetic, it could have been lifted from a Shakespearean sonnet. And believe it or not, there's not just one variety of it. Multiple versions of this botanical romantic exist, each with its own unique tale to share. And then there’s a variety of Muhly Grass that is a true spectacle. Picture this: fields that momentarily blush pink, like cotton candy clouds descending upon the earth once a year.


As I plunged deeper into my grassy odyssey, a revelation struck—a multitude of grass varieties were waiting in the wings, each ready to showcase its unique personality. At first, lawn care sites teased me with only a handful of major grass groups—wet, dry, or mixed. It felt like trying to herd cats in a field of daisies. Could this be enough to lull listeners into dreamland? I had my doubts.


Then came the a-ha moment. Seed indexes and catalogues whispered promises of a rich and diverse world I had yet to uncover. Suddenly, my sleep-inducing endeavor transformed into a thrilling exploration. I found myself weaving through a tapestry of grass names, each more enchanting than the last. Love Grass and Muhly Grass were now only the tip of the iceberg.


Amidst the verdant sea, the allure of Blue Grass danced, mingling with other reeded wonders all with Latin names that sounded like incantations from a spell book. Several varieties of Hairgrass – which clearly should be a magic potion ingredient. Nearly a page of grasses with common names that all begin with the word common. And let's not forget Panicgrass, whose name might be more soothing than alarming. While the frightful word Panic is derived from the Greek figure of Pan, our hairy green grassy friend Panic grass borrowed from Latin roots that refer to the shape if its grain.


As I weeded deeper, I hit on a bamboo variety or two and several other grasses that could form a jungle within my episode. There is enough wheat and rye grasses to inspire a bakery-themed follow-up. This journey of discovery taught me that just when you think you’ve seen it all, nature’s magic (with a little help from botanists) unveils an array of surprises.


So, my dear sleeplister, as you drift into slumber, know that while the phrase "like watching grass grow" might evoke boredom, it holds within it a universe of marvels waiting to be explored. Nature's quiet whispers inspire us to craft beautiful language and cultivate a wide array grass varieties. May your dreams be as rich and diverse as the world of grasses—each variety a testament to the splendid collaboration between people and the earth.


The Lullaby of Lawns, the second episode of season 2 of Sleep Lists will be available to lull you to sleep starting, Saturday October 14th. So you can close your eyes, embrace the whimsy of a grassy odyssey, and let the Zzz's carry you away on a carpet of dreams. Until we meet again, sleep tight sleeplisters.


Signing off with lots of love,

Helen

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