Sarah Coles

Runner Beans

I’ve been so stupid in past years – tried to grow too many things, and when things germinated I planted them squashed together rather than waste them. (It’s the downside of that wartime message engraved on childhood hearts, Waste Not Want Not).  This year, only two crops, parsley and runner beans.  Ah the beans!  I planted them in pots, and the usual thrill as their spears pushed their head through the earth.  Variety: Flavour Star, except it can’t be because I can’t find it in Mr F’s catalogue which is where they came from. Bill erected a handsome aisle of gold...
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Parsley, King of Herbs

In this house we could do without every herb except parsley.  Sage? Rather a stuffy old person smell. Basil, a bit too pungent for me though fine with tomatoes and mozzarella, making them look quite glamorous.  Thyme? OK, but I’ve never been good at overwintering it, and am not wild about the smell.. Bay, yes, very good indeed and living in Bay Tree Yard we have a bay bush either side the cottage, ideal for stocks and the like.  Rosemary? Yes, good with roast lamb. Lemon balm? It’s here – I ought to dry or freeze it for drinks.  Rue? don’t know what one does with rue in...
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Drinking Rain

It’s raining, and runs all over the roof and windows.  I planted out pots with geraniums and the like, so I’m pleased, and as I hear the rain I breathe the sound in, to become part of me, and I breathe out, to join it outside in the wet and the wild. Then I read a poem by Peter Redgrove: ‘A wineglass overflowing with thunderwater Stands out on the drumming steel table Among the outcries of the downpour Feathering chairs and rethundering on the awnings. How the pellets of water shooting miles Fly into the glass of swirl, and slop Over the table’s scales of rust Shining like...
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I used to weed out ones I wasn’t so keen on, the pale pinks, the small flowered ones, they’re insipid I said, but now (age, my age!) I let them be, and they have affairs and breed, and this moment it’s a ball – girlish colours, pale yellow with magnificent spurs, powder blue and white, pink, pink and white beside dark macho blues.  They sway together, bending and kissing.  Promiscuous is the  word botanists use about flowers like these, condemning their glorious open handed love. How they love this chalky soil, dry but fertile, and spring up all over the place. I bought...
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Containers, planting up time!

What I like about containers is that when the rest of the garden looks tired or in a mess, I have my containers under control – weeded and watered, even in late August, but at the same time sporting a wild, exuberant look. So, I’ve been planting up the four large stone bowls on the patio.  I love doing it,  I love the feel of the compost,  weedless and stoneless, as I add jelly granules to hold water and slow release fertilizer (‘wear gloves’ say instructions – what rubbish).  It’s like sifting flour. The only trouble about newly planted pots is that they...
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