Monday, May 21, 2012

sparrow nasturtium herb Robert

This sparrow and I played hide and seek for a while before I managed to snap it.

In recent years I have bought dark red nasturtium plants from The Farmers' Market . The orange ones which climb all over the place, seed themselves in the vegetable garden every year. This year a packet of seed sown in the green house produces all the dark red plants I need and more.  They are of compact habit and intended for pots. Today I transplant a few of them to see if they will withstand the still cold weather. If they succumb there are more in reserve.

Lucy wrote the other day of herb Robert, a charming and very common wild flower, a member of the geranium family.  It has popped up in the garden this year nestling under the well established and almost indestructible fuchsia (the wild, small flowered variety which grows on the coasts of Cornwall, Wales and Ireland). Though technically growing as a weed, I think I shall look after my herb Robert for a while. Interesting to note it is growing out of a pavement crack down the road, but  because it is in full sun, the red flowers have blanched to a pale pink, and it looks none too happy. It is better off in woodland shade. Geoffrey Grigson, in his The Englishman's Flora, quotes the herbalist Gerard: "'Herbe Robert groweth upon old wals, as well as those made of bricke and stone, as those of mudde and earth: it groweth likewise among rubbish... '". Grigson says of it that : "it lives with man much as the robin flips into his garden and to his back door."


marja-leena said...

I can't find where I'd seen that earlier piece about herb Robert, which I did not recognize then. This time I searched and found on a wikipedia page that came up with several photos. The top one with pink flowers looks just like what I have in my garden, a weed certainly, but a pretty one which I like and find easy enough to pull out when it's in the wrong place. Wow, now I know what this one is, thanks!

CC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CC said...

Another interesting post.
Never heard of herb Robert, but will get on to exploring further.

Sweet Sparrow.
Ours are so loud this year, calling loudly through the excessively thick
foliage (due to so much warm weather and rain).
Saw a bunch of young fledges hopping around after their Mom. tweeting their heads off. Very cute.

Roderick Robinson said...

You are the first person to identify this herb to me, as you were to identify rocket. Could they be combined in some elaborate salady sort of dish? I find Robert Rocket intriguingly anthropomorphic.

Lucy said...

One reason I like it is that I once had a rather nice, rotund Welsh boyfriend called Robert. The affair had no future (I put it down to Welshmen and their mothers...), nevertheless I have an added affection for the little weed for his sake!

I'm not sure about eating it, it has a very strong scent which is not unpleasant, I find, but too pungent to imagine eating it.

That's a lovely quote about it being like the robin; they're both rosy and red too...