20 AUGUST 1948, Page 14

In the Garden That famous gardener, Mr. Clarence Elliott, while

throwing scorn on most wild vegetables—nettles, hop-shoots and the rest—gives it as his considered opinion (in The Countryman) that Good King Henry, a common enough weed, is even superior to spinach. That most able and ingenious man of science, Dr. Durham, seldom if ever failed to give his guests some strange, unusual vegetable, and Good King Henry was one of his favourites. I must confess that nettles, hops and bracken all seemed to me at best dull and flavourless, though believers assure me that the fault must have lain with the cook. On the other hand, both sorrel and dandelion—each touched with a pleasing aliquid amen—are a pleasing addition to any salad. But are there really no good wild vegetables ? Mr. Bush records on another page in The Countryman that an illustrated leaflet is published in Germany on the best way of cooking a host of weeds including dead nettle, coltsfoot, chickweed, dandelion, sorrel, daisy, yarrow and evening primrose! In England weeds have been more freely used for drink than food. Yarrow beer was once widely popular, as were elderberry and cowslip wines. It is perhaps Utinecessary to emphasise the hop as an example. W. BEACH THOMAS.