Sunday, 20 July 2008

The elusive scarlet Pimpernel....

Weather: Windy and cool for July (20C max) cloudy with sunny intervals

This week's harvest: 1lb green/yellow courgettes, 2 artichokes,basil, 2 white cucumbers,rocket (lots as usual) Lettuce (a few leaves),mint,bay, parsley, shallots 2.

I came one of one of my favourite 'weeds' - the Scarlet Pimpernel yesterday and coincidentally in print too. It was in the first of Beverley Nichols famous gardening books - Down the Garden Path, written in 1932 - and referred to its ability to predict the weather.
A little more research in ' A Country Herbal' by Lesley Gordon reveals that one of its common names is 'poor man's weather glass'. This is because its flowers won't open in the rain - or even when rain is expected. It is also called 'poor man's clock' because on sunny days they are said to open at seven o'clock! The weather prediction certainly held good today (see the photograph above) there was indeed no rain. As to the opening at seven o'clock .... I wasn't up early enough to tell you...

Anyway - July and August are its months and I found the specimen in the photo lurking in my runner beans. I am delighted to report that my push against the slugs early in the season allowed them to get going properly this year and between them and my french beans there are already more than 25 bean-lets set.
Oh....and the sad spinach in my last post is now doing very nicely thank you!

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