The past few weeks have seen allotment flowers and vegetables finally serving themselves up with disarming willing. At the climax of the year things feel almost too easy until I remember the graft put in earlier in the season to get to this point.
Time spent on the plot of late has been precious little, between work and life and holidays with pals. There’s something depraved about cutting every flower in sight before leaving the country for ten days, even though you know it’s necessary if you want things to keep ticking over. With cut flowers, my gardening grandmother's influence looms large. Although there's an iconic family photo of me as a child showing off an arrangement of campanulas, foxgloves and alchemilla in a Flora margarine tub (a collaboration for the local farmers' show), in general Grannie's indoor floral displays were synthetic ‘silks’; she wouldn’t have dreamt of spoiling her borders in their prime and real flowers were messy and unreliable inside anyway.
It’s that unpredictability that's made my recent messing about with them, still in whatever vessels I can lay my hands on, so much fun. Like everything else, flowers can seem to change beyond recognition in new contexts and the subtleties of form and scale reveal themselves and shift. Sometimes, as with the dahlias and cosmos (I have a glut of cosmos) in the last pictures, it's just been a case of stuffing everything I can fit into a vase.
No less gorgeous are the vegetables, both the common or garden varieties and those selected for their aesthetics at the outset. Those borlotti beans really couldn't be wavier, but I've managed to eat some as well as stare at them.
I Aster, rosehip, borage, sweet pea, cosmos 'Purity', clematis 'Alba Luxurians'
II Dahlia 'Edinburgh', dahlia 'Thomas A Edison', cosmos 'Click Cranberries', cosmos 'Purity', verbena bonariensis, potentilla, sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'
III Lettuce 'Italian Mixed', cavolo nero, kale 'Redbor', courgette, French bean 'Purple Cascade', globe artichoke, runner bean 'White Lady', borlotti bean 'Lingua di Fuoco 2’
IV Californian poppy, cosmos 'Click Cranberries'
V Dahlia 'American Dawn', dill, cosmos 'Click Cranberries', cosmos 'Purity'