Still hanging on in there

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EVEN though winter’s chill is biting hard, there’s still some remnants of summer battling on.

Despite being of Mediterranean origin, the bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis) is still flowering and the spikes which have gone over are displaying gorgeous green pods – poisonous ones, mind!

I grew a few cardoons (Cynara cardunculus) from a packet of 49p seeds I picked up in a sale a couple of years ago.

After not doing very much, I discovered a few of their spiny flower head buds last weekend, much to my surprise.

And despite all the warnings I was given about the castor oil plants not doing well up here, they’re still all on the go and with glorious red leaves. They may not have reached the 5ft promised on the packet, but who could argue with these colours?