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.

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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.

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