Sarah Coles


IMG_4972Good to be here again, in spite of the howl of the A 14, with all these experts and all the veg and flowers bursting from the sandy soil.

Never seen such runner bean flowers, a perfect peachy pink, grown over wigwams.  Named Celebration.  I’ll grow them here, allowing them to ramble over shrubs and pick them when I felt like it.

IMG_4951All forms and colours of dahlias, but I am not keen on pompon, ball, waterlily, anemone or cactus types – they attract no insects, no bees, and would be like Essex bling in my garden which gets wilder by the day.  So, my best dahlia the single Happy Days, visited by a bee.  Splendid gladioli, upright with no supports.  Mine are keeling over.  Why?  At Mr F’s they plant the corms four to six inches deep, giving the roots room to anchor.

Bindweed from next door was clambering up the mesh of the cabbage cage, and some flowers were split like white clematis.  Our guide said, ‘Not meant to be there’, but worth having we said – as long as it kept to itself.  But how had they occurred?  Radiation?

IMG_4964Gorgeous eschscholzia – all these silky red and sunset hues on the ground, which open when their pixie hats fall off.  Would love to grow them here, but it’s too shady.

IMG_4982Blackest red scabious, Moonred, dotted with white like a starry sky.  A grey blue callistephus (never heard of it, but looking I knew it would be ok here on chalk), a IMG_4958IMG_4976 sunflower Buttercream not too tall, not elbowing neighbours out of the way, a cheery antirrhinum, and Alaska Red IMG_4973IMG_4987nasturtium with green marbled leaves.  Zinnia Envy – why are green flowers so alluring?  Love zinnias, & the gold coronets within the petals/

The neatest basil, with tiny leaves and strong lemon scent.  From D.T.Brown, and I must grow it next year. (Why not just get a lemon, said Mike Jarman – anyway I’d rather my basil tasted of basil.  But I think it would be delicious in salad.)  There was also ‘land seaweed’ , agretti, very fashionable among chefs these days Rachael said, and it tasted of … nothing much, Grass?

Broad beans for September?  Don’t really want them then. Squash leaves are edible, she said.  And at lunch, with risotto of pearl barley and all the adjacent veg, I sat next to a man from BBC Radio Northampton, and could actually hear because he was on my left side, and such bliss to talk of nothing but gardening.

Came away with a new rhubarb, Poulton’s Pride, now planted in my rhubarb bed.  Will it get enough sun?  Anyway, it’s supposed to be there for pulling most of the year.  I’ll be happy if it just grows well.



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