Beautiful edibles Plants to enjoy – and eat. Plus, father and daughter on Plot 29
My daughter’s garden brings joy all year round, says Allan Jenkins
My daughter Kala has been in my life since I was 19. We are still (of course) close. Kala lives four doors from me in London’s Kentish Town. I look over to her home from mine.
We always sow her annual garden around her birthday in May. And what a year it’s been. Self-seeding poppies bursting through her patio. Extravagant oriental flowers a metre tall. Nasturtiums have swamped the space. Kala’s been ripping them out by the armload in a mostly failed attempt to stop them conquering the wall.
Our nigella seed did well this year, a first sowing for us, lots of blooms in delicate blues. There is always tithonia (Mexican sunflower), sown this year from seed she saved. I watch from my window for its iridescent orange. Sweet peas were also a first, throwing up dozens of scented flowers in the corner, though Kala is a bit concerned about picking them because of the spiders that also live there.
There is calendula, of course. ‘Flashback’ here in soft, rusted tones.
She is sharing seed from these with her friends. Towering wild, weedy lamb’s quarters smothers her shed. Proud yellow sunflowers reach for the sky. Beautiful golden amaranth heads adds more exoticism.
I love to hear Kala hand-mow her lawn. Her kids more reluctantly water but always wave. It makes me wildly happy to see them there. Her daughter Leah sits languidly on the stairs and sunbathes, Dylan is often lost in his headphones. There have been lots of lunches and dinners eaten outside. I often stop by for tea and weeding.
Sometimes I almost envy her flower garden until I see her joy in wandering around, deadheading, saving seed. Kala is a gifted gardener. She makes me very proud.
A handful of posies: Kala’s colourful tithonia, sweet peas and sunflowers