In Walthamstow….

Dear Readers, I am in tearing haste today as I have my first assignment for the Open University due, but I did have a quick visit to Walthamstow today to see my friend S’s new house. On the way, I was very struck by these municipal beds, which instead of being full of the usual all-purpose shrubs, were instead full of fruit and vegetables! My friend tells me that local people volunteer to look after the produce, but that anyone can take some if they need some fresh food. How lovely to be able to grab a handful  of rosemary or a couple of tomatoes on your way home from work or school! Apparently people are generally very respectful, and don’t take more than they need, which is most encouraging. It’s fair to say that November is not the best time to peruse a bed full of vegetables, but even so I was impressed. As I don’t have an allotment you’ll have to help me out with what they actually are though 🙂

Now this looks a bit artichoke-ish to me, but I guess it could also be some kind of kale? Enlighten me, people!

Now this could be brussels sprouts, or some sort of winter greens. And do I spy an etiolated beetroot in the background?

Even I recognise sweetcorn when I see it.

And this is obviously something in the potato/tomato/aubergine/pepper family, but it had most unusual yellow and purple flowers, and strange lantern-like dangly things. My powers of description are clearly at a pinnacle of inspiration this afternoon.

And here, unless I’m mistaken, is some chard of some kind, and some herbs.

I just think this is a wonderful idea. All those boring bedding plants, no good for people or pollinators, could go, and humans and insects could feast on runner beans and broad beans interplanted with marigolds and goodness only knows what else. I know that schemes like this have worked in other places (Totnes, I think, and also Incredible Edibles in Todmorden). What’s going on where you live, I wonder? I have to say that I’m inspired.

4 thoughts on “In Walthamstow….

  1. Fran & Bobby Freelove

    Yes the first picture is Cynara Cardunculus, the Cardoon. We would say the one with the ‘dangly bits’ looks like Physalis.

  2. Anne

    I agree that your ‘dangly bits’ belong to a Physalis – commonly known in South Africa as Cape Gooseberry – that provide delicious golden berries.

  3. Sharon

    If that ‘artichoke’ isn’t, it’s a Cardoon. Look out for it towering over you next summer

    And, yes, it’s a lovely alternative to mixed bedding. Particularly when Councils, etc, are trying to save money for ‘essential services’ cos they aren’t getting enough from Central Government & don’t want to put up Council Tax.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      I think I’m going to try growing cardoons in the spring. After all, I had a lot of success with my angelica, and I do love an oversized, unusual, pollinator-friendly plant. I’d try an echium, but I think they’d need more sun than my north-facing garden could provide…


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