FINE-LEAVED SHEEP'S FESCUE (Festuca ovina L., var. tenuifolia Sibth.)
This variety, as a rule, is of lower stature than ordinary Sheep's Fescue. The leaves are extremely fine and hairlike. It is distinguished from Sheep's Fescue by its awnless flowers.
It has no special agricultural value but could be used in mixtures for lawns.
HARD FESCUE (Festuca ovina L. var. duriuscula (L.) Koch.) Other Latin name: Festuca duriuscula L.
Hard Fescue is only a vigorous variety of Sheep's Fescue, with which it agrees in all essential points. It is a strongly tufted perennial with all its leaves rolled up like Sheep's Fescue, but the leaves of the basal shoots are longer, thicker and firmer in texture—hence the name Hard Fescue. The panicles and spikelets are a little larger, but no fixed marks can be given to distinguish this plant from ordinary Sheep's Fescue. It has about the same geographical distribution and value. It is adapted to sandy soil but should not be grown unless the land is too poor for better grasses. The basal leaves being rather long, it may be used to a limited extent on poor land as a bottom grass for hay mixtures.
The seed of Hard Fescue is very like that of Sheep's Fescue but often has a bluish tint.
For they counte this the moste juste cause of warre, when anye people holdethe a piece of grounde voyde and vacaunt to no good nor profitable use, kepyng other from the use and possession of it, the whiche notwithstandyng by the lawe of nature ought thereof to be nouryshed and relieved.—Thomas More, Utopia, 1515.
The greens' grass,
So small, so thick, so short, so fresh of hue,
That most like to green wool, I wot, it was.
—Chaucer, The Flower and the Leaf, 1560.
It is less creditable for a man to remain in the house than to attend to things out of doors. The pursuit of agriculture is at once a means of enjoyment and of increasing resources; and it is also an exercise for the body, such as to strengthen it for discharging the duties that become a man of honour-able birth. For though it offers blessings in the greatest plenty, it does not permit us to take them in idleness, but requires us to accustom ourselves to endure the colds of winter and the heats of summer; to those whom it exercises in manual labor it gives an increase of strength, and in such as only oversee the cultivation of it, it produces a manly vigor by requiring them to rise early in the morning and forcing them to move about with activity.—Xenophon, The Economist, 434-355. B.C.