An old tent, tree spinach, some Mexican favourites and getting out a bit…

Image5520 lowresThe first few days of September were hot, dry and windless here on the Suffolk coast. That changed on Friday as a soft rain fell in the morning and throughout the afternoon. This weekend the sun’s back, but there a definite sense of autumn in the air.

This is our old tent, falling slightly apart at the seams but still just about habitable in warm weather. Those tall plants are Tree Spinach (Chenopodium giganteum), living up to their name as they’re now well over 10 feet tall.

Image5517 lowresI had planned a Mexican garden this year, but didn’t quite get round to dedicating a specific area for it. Maybe in 2014.

I do grow lots of Mexican plants though, from the incredible herb Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides), to Cempoalxochitl (Nahuatl meaning twenty flowers). Commonly known here in Britain as African marigold, like all Tagetes marigolds, its origin is in fact Mexican. Its Spanish name is Flor de Muerto (Flower of the Dead). I’ve been growing this single-flowered variety for a decade or so; the original seeds were from wild plants in Oaxaca.

Image5527 lowresAfter years spent in large pots where they flowered sporadically, in 2012 I planted these Mexican Evening Primroses (Oenothera berlandieri) in the ground and they have thrived. They have the most incredible delicate smell I never tire of. Here they are amongst our native wild carrot (Daucus carota). They all seem to get along together!

I love the garden with its mix of wild, feral  and cultivated plants. It’s easy to get into flower time and not venture much beyond the boundaries.

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Time to get out for a bit! Down to the sea, sand and shingle. And hang out with some ancestors, who know how to root themselves in edgy situations. Like this Sea Kale…

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Images and text by Mark Watson, May 2013. All posts, text and pics here on Mark in Flowers are subject to Creative Commons with Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives license.

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