I love this plant combo in the herbaceous border at Polesden Lacey with the reddish feathery grass of the Pennisetum alopecuroides contrasting beautifully with the upright, stately golden Achillea filipendulina 'Gold Plate' and the traditional border stalwart, the Fuchsia magellanica binding the planting scheme together in the foreground.
But what I like even more than the planting scheme…is eating the fuchsia berries produced after it has flowered. They taste a bit like juicy grapes, but have a peppery, spicy finish. It makes the perfect, healthy tea-break snack.
The famous garden writer and consultant Graham Stuart Thomas designed this 150m border in the 1970s and I wonder whether he designed it around lunchtime, as there are plenty of edible plants in here. Sea Kale has been used to punctuate the border, like full stops, at the end of each sequence of planting schemes. I’m sure he was thinking of it’s architectural foliage, stately habit and clouds of tightly furled florets, but I’m thinking ‘hmmm those leaves and stems would taste nice if steamed with garlic butter’
And there are loads of day lilies (hemerocallis) in this border too. And these are the tastiest of all flowering plants. Their young, emerging shoots can be harvested, and stir-fried or steamed. Their roots and flower buds can also be eaten. But obviously the highlight are the flowers which are tastier than you would imagine, and add the most amazing vibrancy and colours to any salad. Use them for garnishing platters too. Hemerocallis 'Doubloon' (photographed below) is one of the tastiest of the day lilies, and it has a long flowering season, meaning you'll be kept well-fed for most of summer.
They’re called day lilies cos they flower for a day. This is how Hemerocallis fulva 'Green Kwanso'looked this morning…
and this is how it looked this afternoon...stunning. Beauty really is fleeting and transient.
We even have marjoram growing in our border. It really is a design that is good enough to eat.