10 MAY 1935, Page 23

Flowering Crops

In England there are no acres of autumn crocus or narcissus or salvia, but the colour and scent of cultivated crops is an altogether enchanting thing. The fields of mustard shine like lemon paint against the dark but rich acres of unripened corn, the sweet clover fields are soft cream and strawberry at the height of summer. The flowers of sainfoin and lucerne are softer than their names. The potato flowers are like little candlesticks of mauve and white, with stiff flames of orange. In August the oats are like pink reeds. But loveliest of all are the fields of flax and bean. The War may have seen the establishment in popularity of the poppy, but it saw also the establishment of the blue flax in English fields to an extent which has never since been equalled. The flowers of the flax arc like light blue silk. And in open fields they are constantly caught up and shaken and rippled by the wind until the sight of them is lovelier even than the sight of shimmering water. Today, in England, the flax is rare in cultivation, but the field-bean is not only the most beautiful but the most common of English flowering crops. The flowers against the grey leaves are almost insignificant : little monkshoods of dull lilac and white, but the scent is a glory unequalled by any other flower of the open countryside, transcending even the honeysuckle and the wild rose and having the virtue of travelling as far as the fragrance of hay.