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  • Writer's pictureRae Story

Beautiful Legumes

We tend to separate out vegetable growing from other types of plants in the ornamental garden.

There is a lot of appreciation for trees and flowers in particular in the garden, but we can also appreciate the beauty in the plants that we grow for food. At the moment the allotment is bursting with vegetable plants produce their fruits, growing their leaves and strengthening their roots - all of which (at the allotment at least) is food for us to eat.

It is simply the little miracle of growing.

In this post I thought I would celebrate my Mangetouts which are actually not in my allotment, but in my front garden, because they are so beautiful I want to see them every day (and because they are also very handy to pick the peas as they come and then throw them into my stir-fries!) Mangetout also known as Sugar Peas or Snow Peas are picked very young before the peas develop. You eat the whole flat pod - hence the name 'eat everything' in French.

There is a lot to love about this plant, from the outstretched tendrils that the plant throws out opportunistically to grab hold of anything it can find to help itself climb up, seeing the curling spiraling tendrils is just hypnotizing to watch - it definitely reminds you that this plant is a living breathing being. Then the leaves somehow remind me of lily pads, just so open and round and juicy looking, they would make a great subject to draw. But it is the flowers which have really drawn me in (excuse the pun!) this year. Firstly the range of colours popping out of the bunched up leaves has been really astonishing - blues, purples, yellows, oranges, purples and pinks and then the shape and detail of the veins in the petals just reminds me of butterfly wings, which is also fitting because these little flowers are fleeting. They herald the edible pod so where you see a flower one day within a day or two you have a pod ready for picking. But the plant is quite audacious in its vitality and by keeping on picking the pods more and more flowers arrive. And this is the beauty of nature, rather than using all of the goodies up by picking them you actually stimulate more growth and more production. I love this relationship that exists between humans and plants where the more we use them the more abundant they become. The same is true of herbs and flowers. The best way we can show our appreciation is to pick and use these plants and that will ensure their health and abundance.

Here are my studies of their flowers

(if the slideshow does not start automatically please use the arrows to click through)

All images by Rae Story

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