Plants - B

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Balloon Flower Platycodon grandiflorus
Everdeen from Houston sent this picture of her Balloon flower Platycodon grandiflorus"Sentimental Blue". It is also known as the Chinese Bellflower
Runner Beans
Runner Beans - Phaseolus coccineus (that doesn't mean that there aren't whiteflowered cultivars! and even the heritage bi-colour painted lady) were originally brought to England from South America as an ornamental plant. They are the favourite beans of the English, vastly superior to Phaseolus vulgaris (haricot beans) which the French, and other assorted Europeans grow instead. Runner beans picked young and fresh from the garden are one of my favourite vegetables. At one time I would have to net them against sparrows but the sparrow population round here collapsed a few years ago.
Spanish Bluebells
Spanish bluebells are far more robust than our English variety. Remember that warning never to pull up bluebell flowers so the stems show white or you will kill them. It doesn't work on Spanish bluebells. They will smother everything in your garden if you let them - yet they look very pretty amongst shrubs
Spanish Broom

This is not a good picture of the genista. I'll take a better one next June

The word broom describes the use of the plant as a house tool rather than its species, although most 'brooms' bear blooms similar to the pea plant.
I much prefer the muted colours of
genista cinerea to the garish yellows and reds of the cytisus scoparia (the common or Scots Broom ). The genista is the plant from which our English Plantagenet kings took their name. They wore it on their helmets during battle.
I like the way, too, that the stems of genista cinerea, (which I have always called Spanish Broom, on the grounds that it can be found growing wild in Spain,) swirl so that the plant looks stylish even when not in flower. Other people call sparteum junceum the Spanish Broom. I grow this too. It is a much less hardy and more reed-like plant than genista cinerea and flowers later. When I first planted it, snails feasted on it but it has outgrown their ravages. If I had grown sparteum junceum in the back garden rather than the more sheltered front one I doubt if it would have survived
Brussels Sprout
Brussel Sprouts have, so far, been the most reliable of the vegetables I grow. I do find it helps to fertilise them occasionally with salty water

Miekals' Buartnut

I had never heard of the Buartnut before Miekal invited me to link to and join in the plant wiki that he started. Do go and look at it (and join in too). Miekal writes this of the buartnut :
A buartnut is a butternut crossed with a heartnut, two species of walnuts in the juglan family. I've planted a lot of them in my demonstration garden at Dreamtime

Do you know, Miekal, I had never heard of butternut and heartnut trees before. I had always assumed butternut toffee was called that because both butter and nuts were ingredients of it.MRP

From Miekal's description in the Wiki one would imagine it could grow in England, but then one would think that of pecans too, and they won't, apparently.