We usually think of chives as the finely chopped leaves of this plant. Used as a garnish they impart a delicate onion-like taste to potatoes, a sauce or a soup without the astringency of raw onion. But the flower too has its merits and may ornament as well as add flavour to a salad if you do not think it infra dig to eat flowers.
Mrs Plutarch is reading Proust which gives me almost as much pleasure as it is giving her. Best of all every now and then she throws a passage in my way, as she does the other day. "Swann, in his solicitude for these new connections and in the pride with which he referred to them, was like those great artists - modest or generous by nature - who if in their declining years they take to cooking or to gardening, display a naive gratification at the compliments that are paid to their dishes and to their borders ...." I am touched by the resonance.
"I asked the gardener to get rid of the nettles in this hedge," says my neighbour this morning in a rare
expansive mood. " And he has I am glad to see." He may be. But I am reluctant to say that I am myself not entirely glad. I have a liking for nettles in their place. They attract butterflies and, stuffed into a watering can and left for a few weeks, make a magnificent liquid fertiliser. On the other hand I don't have to worry for the time being. The deserted garden which borders the vegetable garden abounds in nettles.