Scarlet Ladies

Runner beans scarlet ladies

Each year I try to grow something different and as I’d been given a packet of runner bean seeds the subject of my experiment was self selected. A few years ago I’d tried growing them in the polytunnel – beautiful plants and a mass of flowers, alas no beans.

Fortuitously there was room in the fruit cage and although I was probably a little late in planting and I’d not prepared a well-manured bean trench in advance, the results were surprisingly good.

As my broad bean flowers had not been pollinated I was not too confident that we would actually get any beans, but we did get a small crop. I was also surprised how well the plants stood up to the windy weather – they’re still flowering and producing a few beans!

So I am encouraged to try again next year, although I might look for a dwarf variety or perhaps try some climbing French or even borlotti beans. Runner beans were originally grown for their flowers and that is probably a good enough reason to continue to grow a few plants each year.

10 thoughts on “Scarlet Ladies

  1. Your Scarlet Ladies are beautiful. I tried White Lady this year and a two- tone one; I can’ t remember the name. They are so pretty and Runner Beans go on producing for so much longer than French beans. Borlotti beans are always a disappointment for me, they look promising but don’ t produce many beans.

    • I grew French beans in the polytunnel and I’m not sure how well thet’d do outside and perhaps borlotti beans may be too exotic for northerly latitudes, but there is one way to find out.

  2. They look a lot healthier than mine. First the rabbits, then the slugs weighed in. I have a few leaves left at the very top of the poles and one or two beans. I’ve given up!

    • Such a sad tale of woe. Fortunately I don’t have much of a rabbit problem, but I’ve grown some monster slugs this year.

  3. My garden summered from the heat and lack of rain this year so I really appreciate the result you are getting.

    • There must be somewhere that has perfect summer weather we we could grow beautiful vegetables – but then we’d have nothing to write about!

  4. The flowers do look pretty. Can see why there were first grown as an ornamental. I’m growing the pink variety called Celebration each year. They are really tasty and reliable.

    • I think growing beans for their flowers is as good a reason as any. I’m already looking at the seed catalogues for varieties to try for next year.

  5. I suspect you must have them well supported although I suppose the fruit cage softens the effect of the wind a little – they certainly look very happy there. My climbing French beans were rubbish this year although admittedly they didn’t get much in the way of tlc 🙁 Growing beans for their flowers is an interesting thought…

    • I was surprised at how robust they were – each plant had an upright pole attached to a cross beam tied to two upright pillars of the fruit cage. They were obviously protected in the fruit cage, but survived a couple of 50mph blustery days. French beans seem to be more temperamental and need warmth and sunshine. I’ll have a go with climbing French beans in the fruit cage next year but I’m not too optimistic.
      I’m looking for a slightly less vigorous runner bean variety and I will definitely grow some just for the flowers – might even replace the sweet peas which were abyssmal this year, although I’d miss the perfume.

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