Leeks (also known by their botanical name Allium porrum) are tasty vegetables that have short sowing window and a long growing season; as a result, many gardeners miss the leek’s narrow seed sowing period and accordingly fail to grow these delicious and versatile vegetables.  Like the majority of edible plants, leeks grow best in a sunny or partially shaded area. 

Origanum onites is one of my favourite plants; its a pretty little thing with a long flowering period; plants bloom over the summer months.  This is a superb plant for a wildlife garden.  Origanum onites plants produce an abundance of these sweet, dainty flowers that are adored by bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and moths.  Commonly known as marjoram, Origanum onites is a culinary and medicinal herb with aromatic leaves that will enhance a wide variety of culinary dishes.

Tanacetum parthenium is a useful herbaceous perennial.  This is a really easy to grow, undemanding plant that flowers during the summer months.  I cut my plants back heavily after their flowers fade.  I usually cut my plants right back to the ground – don’t worry – this doesn’t harm the plants – they soon grow up and flower again!  Plants bloom in cycles, from June until September.

Knautia macedonica is a superb garden plant, with a long flowering season.  This herbaceous perennial is hardy and reliable, producing an abundance of stunning deep wine-red coloured flowers.  The blooms are circular; they resemble mini rosettes and are absolutely adored by bees and butterflies!  Knautia macedonica plants hold the majority of their leaves within the lower half of the plant; their tall and slender flowering stems have a branching habit, giving the plant an open appearance that allows you to easily view the plants growing behind and around it (in a similar manner as Verbena bonariensis).

Melons (also known by their botanical name Cucumis melo) are tender, sweet tasting fruits that can be successfully grown from seeds, in the UK.  Sow melon seeds in springtime – from March to the middle of May.  If you’re too late to sow seeds (or if you don’t have access to a glasshouse), you don’t have to miss out, as young melon plants can be purchased from many nurseries and garden centres.

Aubergines (also known as Eggplant or by the plant’s botanical name, Solanum melogena) are tender plants that need warmth and bright sunshine if they’re to thrive.  Sow aubergine seeds in pots of peat-free compost, inside a heated propagator or glasshouse, from January to April.  Ensure your seedlings are grown in an area that enjoys bright light.

From the end of May or beginning of June, (when there is no risk of cold temperatures or frost) if you garden in a warm area, aubergine plants can be hardened off (brought out from the glasshouse during the daytime and then taken back inside again at night for a couple of weeks), before being planted outside in a warm, bright and sunny area. 

Onions are lovely vegetables to grow.  Onions can be grown from seeds or from sets (sets is the name for small baby onions that can be purchased from nurseries, garden centres, or online, and planted in your garden or at your allotment).  It’s quicker and easier to grow onions from sets, but larger onions can be grown from seeds.  Many types of onions are available. 

Crimson flowered broad beans are great fun!  These rather glamorous plants are the crimson flowered form of broad beans.  Plants produce large cerise coloured flowers, which are followed by green broad bean pods, filled with green broad beans.

Broad bean ‘Crimson Flowered’ (also known by their botanical name of Vicia faba) are superb plants for bumble bees who delight in feeding on their flowers’ nectar.

Peas (also known by their botanical name, Pisum sativum) are annual vegetables from the Fabaceae or Leguminosae (Legume) family.  These climbing plants produce pods filled with peas.  The peas are often the focus for gardeners and cooks, but don’t miss out on the extent of the gourmet delights that peas offer us – as all parts of the pea plant are edible – the shoots, leaves, pea pods, and the peas themselves – they’re all utterly delicious! 

Garlic – also known by its botanical name of Allium sativum – is an easy to grow vegetable.  I simply adore growing garlic; home grown garlic tastes delicious!  I would heartily encourage you to give garlic growing a try.  This is an easy to grow vegetable with a fantastic flavour.  I love planting garlic in September, October, and November; for me, it feels so positive and exciting to see plants growing during autumn, winter, and springtime.

Salsola soda is a vegetable that’s also known by many common names, including: agretti, roscano, saltwort, Russian thistle, Friar’s beard, Monk’s beard, Barba di Frate, or barilla plant.  Plants have a grassy appearance, with stems of needle like leaves, that grow up to around 60cm (2ft) tall, depending on your plant’s growing conditions.  This is a mild but delicious tasting vegetable that adds a freshness, which softly and subtly enhances stir fries, risottos, and many other dishes. 

Actiniopteris australis is a tender fern that requires warm temperatures to flourish.  This pretty little fern can be found growing in the wild in a wide range of countries and locations, including: Madagascar, Australia, Africa, and Asia.

Producing very pretty, palm like fronds on a diminutive scale.  Actiniopteris australis is a charming fern to add to your collection.

Actiniopteris australis is a miniature fern, that grows to just 15cm (6 inches) tall. 

Leucanthemum vulgare is commonly known as the Ox-eye Daisy; it’s one of my favourite plants.  This hardy perennial plant is native to Europe and Asia, where it flourishes in meadows, banks, roadsides, and on areas of waste ground.  Leucanthemum vulgare produces large, single daises with golden centres, which are surrounded by rays of white petals.  This is a super plant to grow to encourage wildlife, it’s beneficial to bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and a great many other insects, which in turn will draw birds and a wider range of wildlife into the area.

You can’t miss Anthemis tinctoria when it’s in flower, as these glowing, sunny yellow daisies really stand out across the garden.  Anthemis tinctoria is commonly known as Dyer’s Chamomile, as the flowers and stems of this plant can be used to dye fabrics and other materials.  Plants flower in the summer time.  In the UK, Anthemis tinctoria usually blooms during June, July, and August.

I love Blechnum spicant, it’s such a handsome, charming little fern, with its narrow, dark green coloured pinnate fronds.  Depending on this fern’s particular stage of growth, Blechnum spicant may form low growing rosettes with the sterile fronds leaning out horizontally, or if the fertile fronds are more predominantly growing, plants will appear as more upright and erect in their habit. 

Valeriana officinalis is a herb, known for its relaxing properties – it’s more commonly known as Valerian.  Looking rather like a pale pink flowered Verbena bonariensisValeriana officinalis produces branching stems that hold panicles of tiny star shaped flowers, in the palest shade of dusky pink.  This attractive plant is a magnet for bees and butterflies.

Growing to around Valeriana officinalis 1.5m (5ft) tall, Valerian produces scented flowers, leaves, stems, and roots.

Anthriscus sylvestris is a biennial or short lived herbaceous perennial plant, which is more commonly known as cow parsley – in the UK, at least anyway – where Anthriscus sylvestris grows as a wildflower, along roadsides, hedgerows, in grasslands and meadows.

Flowering in late spring, in May, Anthriscus sylvestris is a popular plant with bees, hoverflies, and other pollinating insects

Easily grown from seed, sown in autumn or springtime, Anthriscus sylvestris flourishes in any well-drained soil. 

Carrots, also known by their botanical name of Daucus carota, are an easy to grow, delicious root vegetable.  There are a wide range of carrot cultivars available for gardeners to grow, from the more regularly seen orange coloured carrots, to red, purple, white, or yellow coloured carrots.  I enjoy the subtle differences in the taste and texture of the carrots of each colour variation. 

Beetroot, also known by its botanical name of Beta vulgaris, is an easy to grow root vegetable, which can be sown outside, from March until the beginning of August, in the UK.

There are a great many beetroot cultivars available, offering beetroot in a great many shapes, sizes, and colours.

You might opt to sow a traditional, round, globe shaped beetroot, or you may choose to sow a cylindrical beetroot, which has been bred to produce evenly shaped beetroot slices, ideal for pickling, such a Beetroot ‘Alto’, an F1 Hybrid, which you can see pictured in the image for ‘Beetroot’ at the top of this page.

Asparagus, also known by its botanical name of Asparagus officinalis, is a delectable vegetable, which is made even more appetising when you eat the spears the same day they are harvested.  The sooner you eat asparagus spears, the sweeter they taste.  Freshly harvested asparagus spears have a familiarly sweet quality, it’s rather like the sweetness we enjoy when we eat freshly harvested sweetcorn.