Chester Gardens Zoo Life, Autumn 1999:

Glorious Grasses

    This new garden, located on the site of the old rose garden by the Fountain Lawn, will focus on the importance of grasses to humans.  Grasses have a worldwide distribution and consist of over 10,000 different species.
    They have been cultivated over a period of about 5,000 years and have gradually been selected, hybridised and bred to produce the crop plants we grow today.
    Imaging life without bread, rice, maize, sugar, cheese, milk, yoghourt and red meat.  Either directly or indirectly all of these products are derived from grasses.  They are the major food source of most civilizations throughout the world.
    Wheat, barley, oats and rye are grown in temperate regions; millet, sorghum and tef in Africa; rice in East Asia and maize in Central America.  Wheat, rice and maize provide more than 50% of calories consumed by humans.
    Grasses also form the basis of extensive pasture for grazing animals, providing us with meat and dairy products.
    Bamboos are another major group of Grasses which are used extensively in tropical countries for furniture, food and building purposes.
    Other important products derived from grasses include sugar cane, aromatic oils for soap and cooking, thatching and weaving materials, and many others.
    Grasses also play a very important role in holding sand dunes together. Their roots help to bind the sand and prevent it being blown away.