Wild flower meadows are very much in vogue nowadays, but not many feature the Shetland Cabbage! This variety of Brassica oleraceae is reputed to have been cultivated in the Shetland Islands since the 1600’s. Traditionally grown in planticrubs or crubs, small drystane enclosures to protect the crop from the wind and grazing sheep, these plants were essential as winter feed for dairy cattle and as a spring vegetable. Latterly the area under cultivation has fallen as feed supplements for cattle replace the growing crop.
There are two arable plots in the garden; the one described above is in the demonstration garden. The second is in the nursery. The five main species providing the intense swathe of colour are; Blue Cornflower, Centaurea cyanus; Corn Marigold, Chrysanthemum segetum; Common Poppy, Papaver rhoeas; Long headed Poppy, Papaver dubium; Scentless Mayweed, Tripleurospermum inodorum.
Sown in April 2008 this is now a floral masterpiece. A mass of bright colours attracting pollinating insects to ensure a good seed set for the following years colour.