Our donor passed this cress to us as it had been grown in his family for at least three generations. He says, “It germinates easily and produces a crop in only a few weeks.” A broad, serrated-leaved garden cress with a peppery flavour and tender texture. The flavour of the leaves gets stronger the higher up the plant you go. Can be grown in a pot all year round.
Syn. King of the Garden & May Queen. Introduced by New Jersey seed merchants Peter Henderson & Company in 1897, possibly as a renaming of an old bean known since the 1850s. Produces pretty lilac flowers and straight, slender, stringless pencil pods, which have a lovely flavour and freeze well. The jet-black seeds are very good for drying. It is attractive, very prolific, yet neat and tidy.
This old variety, originating in the Kentucky Hills, produces bushy plants, but will send out one or two leaders. Pretty lilac flowers are followed by dark green pencil pods that cling to the seeds and become mottled reddish purple when they mature and are left to dry.
This tasty and prolific bean was donated by Seed Guardian Liz Ramsay, who was given the seeds by her sister's partner, a native of British Columbia, Canada. His family have grown this variety since the beginning of the 20th century. It is thought that the family received the beans as payment for help repairing farm equipment for a Ukrainian neighbour. Liz says, “The pods can be eaten at all stages: juicy and young, tender and mature or even as a dried bean.”
Originating in the city of Rouen, capital of the Normandy Region in France, in the 1950s, this vigorous (1.8-2.4m) ex-commercial variety looks beautiful grown on a wigwam support with its pairs of delicate white flowers and large green leaves. The long green pods have a slight red stripe and are tender and flavoursome when young. When mature the podded beans are delicious.
This white-flowered pea bean will crop reliably and prolifically in the British climate. Seed Guardian Jane Few says, “The beans are tasty at whatever stage they are picked”. The stringless pods provide fresh, tender and delicious haricots when picked young; also perfect for shelling. As a dried bean they resemble pretty little bicoloured bird's eggs, ideal for winter storage and for use in soups and stews.
Named after our donor who was the Organic Gardener at the Environ Eco House Project, Leicester from 1998 to 2013. The seeds were discovered in an old cocoa tin, but with no other information. It produces tall plants (around 2.4m in height) with dark green leaves, purple flowers and stringless, mottled purple pods, which turn dark green when cooked. Guardian Eluned Paramor says, “They laughed at the dry weather and took the rabbit attack as a challenge!” Best used as a (very tasty) dried bean.
This old French variety yields one of the prettiest beans in the collection; they are neatly zoned into a cream area and a purple mottled area. Early, vigorous and prolific with vines reaching up to 2.75m tall. One of our Guardians in northern England found that this was particularly suited to her conditions. When young they have a delicious nutty, beany flavour, and their intriguing appearance when dried makes attractive soups, stews and casseroles.
Syn. Longfellow. Donated to us by Harlow Carr Botanic Garden, Harrogate. This fine haricot bean produces neat plants with white flowers followed by slim and crisp pencil pods, which are stringless when young. Seed Guardian Bill Dale comments, “I probably shouldn't say it but in the many years I've grown it, no disease or other problems. A crisp and crunchy treat when eaten fresh and young. A good, no-nonsense bean!”