The Itchy Finger Strikes Again!

Beside renewing seeds of plants I have already have, I have some new plants to try, some are different varieties of what I have grown.

Spinach is handy as a late season vegetable and it must be good for you, look what it did for Popeye! I have grown tree spinach (Chenopodium giganteum), a tall, beautiful, green plant tipped with magenta tips which look as if they have been dipped in pink glitter powder. It’s hard to believe that this plant is related to the weed, ‘fat hen’. Joining it this year is another member of the Chenopodium family (Chenopodium capitatum) Strawberry spinach. None of these plants belong to the spinach family but can be used as a spinach substitute. Making a trio of spinach substitutes is Indian spinach (Basella rubra) although unlike the other two, it’s not good at tolerating cold weather so will probably spend more time in the greenhouse until summer weather ensures night temperatures of over about 10°C.

Still determined to get colour to the front garden, I will be adding more flowers, Nicotiana Sensation Mix, Sweet William and Miraliis jalapa. The latter, is also known as the 4 o’clock plant as the flowers don’t open until the afternoon.

Grown for interest, Tagetes minuta, has numerous alternative names including Peruvian Black Mint. It is used a lot in Peruvian cooking and being of the Tagetes family, it makes a very good companion plant. Another plant chosen for both interest and curiosity, is Chinese Kale (Brassica oleracea), it looked interesting and I thought worth a try. It’s apparently quick growing and has a strong cabbage flavour. My curiosity plant is the Luffa cylindrica the plant known for ‘growing your own luffa’. I’m a bit uncertain of its hardiness to cope with our weather but it will be interesting to find out.

Although I have vetch growing wild in the front garden, I decided to get Lathyrus japonicus maritimus for my beach inspired container. I don’t think many of the beach plants have survived this year but I will wait to see if any will make their appearance next spring.


I never seem to have much luck with lavender. I bought a large number of lavender plug plants, left them for a few days in the greenhouse until the temperatures warmed up for them to be planted out, but the sun came out unexpectedly and scorched almost all the plants. I bought more Hidcote and Munstead and one variety didn’t survive. I now have Munstead seeds and will try again from the beginning. 

As usual I have used the photographs from the seed suppliers’ catalogues to illustrate my potential garden.

Heirloom & Perennial Ltd.

6 thoughts on “The Itchy Finger Strikes Again!

  1. I’m with you on the lavender. My sister, in the same growing zone, can grow it like crazy. Me? One season and it’s done. One year she gave me some of hers. Nope. Didn’t come back the next year either. I’m thinking it must be our soil. I can grow tons of other things in abundance, but lavendar – nope 😕


  2. The only success I get with spinach is the perpetual spinach, New Zealand spinach and tree spinach. The rest seem to have fallen by the wayside – or frozen to death! I like spinach but I didn’t find the flavours of substitutes quite the same, however the beneficial qualities of them will probably be pretty close. I’ve never found they come up to expectation with taste if looking a true flavour comparison. It would be unfair to say they weren’t tasty, they are but in their own right.


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