Thursday, October 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Chard shows up on a cricket pitch

Swiss chard, especially the neon-stemmed variety known as 'Bright Lights,' is everywhere these days. You have to wonder if anyone ever eats the darned stuff anymore, so enamored is the public of using it as decoration. It is pretty, and you'll see 'Bright Lights' and varieties of kale, the other glamor veg, all over the flower show.

Chard shows up on a cricket pitch

Swiss chard, especially the neon-stemmed variety known as 'Bright Lights,' is everywhere these days. You have to wonder if anyone ever eats the darned stuff anymore, so enamored is the public of using it as decoration. It is pretty, and you'll see 'Bright Lights' and varieties of kale, the other glamor veg, all over the flower show.

Chard is even in The Scorer's Garden, J. Downend Landscaping's exhibit, which is a lot of fun. The fellow in this photo is W.G. Grace, whom Jim Downend describes as "the Babe Ruth of cricket in his day." It's true. I looked it up.

And how interesting that Grace - known a W.G. - played for the Downend Cricket Club near Bristol, England, from 1864 to 1908. I asked Jim if he knows anything about cricket. "Not even a little bit. Not even a smidgen," he replied. Flowers, he knows.

He's got giant foxgloves from the Camelot series, flowering jasmine, Persian shield, zinnias, salvias, rudbeckias, hellebores, astilbe, scabiosa, shasta daisies, hosta and - as many exhibitors continue to do because these plants have so many blooms - Knock Out roses. Talk about a landscape you can do at home.

And there in the middle of it all is the chard - 'Bright Lights,' of course. "A true English cottage garden was a vegetable garden that was taken over by these other plants," Jim says. In this garden, the score is pretty lopsided, chard being the lone standard-bearer for Team Vegetable.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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