Episode 55 - Show Notes & Advice

episode 55 | show notes & advice

On today’s episode Sarah and Arthur look through the new Sarah Raven seed catalogue, selecting the seeds they will be growing this season. They talk through the inspirations behind the new collections they put together for this year, all captured beautifully by Jonathan Buckley’s gorgeous photography. 

In this this episode discover

  • New cut-and-come again cut flower combinations chosen by Sarah and Arthur.
  • Why Brilliant Buckets and Harlequin are their top sweet pea collections for 2022.
  • Can carnations make a comeback?
  • Foliage favourites – Amaranthus, Chasmanthium and Panicums – especially loved by birds.
  • Sarah shares a delicious rosemary and pork farfalle recipe with pine nuts and sesame for added crunch and flavour.

episode 55

The Amaranthus Collection (p.6)

Amaranthus is often overlooked, grown more for foliage than flowers. Long loved by Sarah, it recently caught her eye again after she picked to arrange at her teaching courses. Amaranthus is from the quinoa family, with nutritious seeds loved by birds, especially tits and wrens. A real hard worker in the garden, Sarah was picking Amaranthus ‘Red Army’ right into November.


Self-seeding Cut Flower Collection (p.11)

Arthur loves the contrast between the Jaffa orange Calendula ‘Indian Prince’ against the almost mother of pearl, turquoise Echium ‘Blue Bedder’. Perfect for an allotment, trough container or window box, sprinkle seeds in late April and they will germinate without any help, providing a feast for bees and fantastic cut flowers, the more you pick the more they will go on.


Provençal Collection (p.10)

Sarah chose the name for this collection Arthur put together because it reminded her of the muted, faded vintage look you see on cafes and churches in Provence. There are 5 varieties which Sarah recommends growing next to each other in 5 pots or rows in a cutting garden, or even in 5 clumps down the front of a muted border.  A beautiful new collection in the soft and warm colour palette that also looks beautiful in a vase.  


Vintage Sunflower Mix (p.20)

Arthur is growing this mix to add cloud and character to his garden. Two classic sunflowers, ‘Claret’ - a tall, saturated, dark flower, ‘Valentine’ – an excellent cut flower - are joined by two new ones from the soft and warm colour palette – ‘Ruby Eclipse’ and ‘ProCut Plum’ reminding Arthur of coffee ice cream and raspberry sorbet. They will bring in bees and then provide plenty of food for birds too.

Carnations for knockout scent

Good carnations have unbelievably powerful fragrance. For knockout scent, Sarah was blown away by Dianthus ‘Benigna White Striped’ (p.19). Perennial so won’t flower in its first year but long-lasting once established.

Arthur’s pick is Dianthus ‘Hollandia Purple Crown’ (p.19) – reminds him of rare breed chickens with delicate lacing on the feathers. Different tones of purple, some almost white with just a purple rim, others rich and saturated. Sow the seeds of this biennial sweet William May-July for flowers next year.


Tagetes ‘Linnaeus Burning Embers’ (p.27)

In Sarah’s trials Tagetes was the most successful companion plant to keep the greenhouse aphid free and Tagetes ‘Linnaeus Burning Embers’ is the prettiest of them all. Her favourite with rich mahogany flowers - good vase life too.


Scabious ‘Black Cat’ (p.26)

Arthur will be sowing this wonderful airy plant for the first time. A favourite for butterflies with beautiful claret, mulberry-scarlet flowers. The more you pick this durable hardy annual, the more it flowers.


Sarah’s sweet pea selection

Sarah adores the Brilliant Buckets Sweet Pea Collection (p.32). She loves the gusto of this collection of coral, bright pink, bright purple dazzling sweet peas with wonderful perfume. All long-stemmed so good for picking for the vase.


Arthur’s sweet pea selection

Arthur wants traditional sweet peas for scent so is choosing the Harlequin Sweet Pea Mix (p.33). With ‘Matucana’ – the best scent of all, ‘Lord Nelson’ – a beautiful almost navy purple and ‘Prince Edward of York’ - fuschia with scarlet back petals.

From flowers to foliage

Sarah loves all the foliage plants, especially grasses, and highlights 2 she will grow this year:

Chasmanthium latifolium (p.36) – graceful and elegant in a pot or border dancing away. Also fantastic dried.

Briza maxima (Greater Quaking Grass) (p.36). Along with Chasmanthium can be grown as a house plant and dried. Sarah is increasingly keen on drying things and these are her 2 current favourites.

Arthur’s favourite foliage plants are red millet (Panicum violaceum p.37) – partly because his chickens love it so much. An easy to grow, natural bird feeder that will look very elegant with dahlias and sunflowers. Also Panicum ‘Sparkling Fountain’ (p.37) – Arthur couldn’t have a summer without these 2.


Melon Bowl Collection (p.29)

Arthur’s final choice combines Zinnia ‘Jazzy Mixture’ with Tagetes ‘Strawberry Blonde’. Looking like a carpet in Marrakesh, Arthur will grow this for a summer table pot. The zinnia has a vase life of 3 weeks.



Sarah picks edibles for her final 2.

Runner Bean ‘Aurora’ – she recently grew as an ornamental veg. It flowered its socks off with coral, soft apricot-pink edible flowers, that also look fantastic cut for a vase. Picking the flowers helps contain the beans so they are smaller and more delicious too.


Classic Stir Fry Veg collection

Sometimes it helps to have good, reliable veg varieties chosen for you. Aubergine ‘Slim Jim’ is an Asian finger aubergine, bred for quick cooking, joined by sweet pepper ‘Friggitello’ and slightly hot ‘Marconi Ross’ plus kale and chard, both prolifically cut-and-come-again. Sarah often stir fries each veg separately in intense heat then combines with rice. (Peppers ideally grown in a greenhouse or against a sunny wall).


Rosemary and pork farfalle

This easy, nutritious pasta recipe takes 10 minutes to make and has an unusual, delicious taste – a mix of rosemary with toasted sesame oil.

Serves 2-3

·       1 onion, finely chopped (optional)

·       1 tablespoon olive oil

·       2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

·       1 garlic clove, chopped

·       1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)

·       500g lean pork mince, or tenderloin sliced into thin strips

·       10g sprigs of rosemary, the leaves stripped and quite finely chopped

·       Handful of kale, leaves stripped from stems and chopped

·       Handful of pine nuts, toasted

·       100ml hot water

·       Salt and black pepper

·       200g pasta (penne or farfalle)

·       Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Put your pasta water on to boil.

Meanwhile, if you are using it, fry the onion in the olive oil and toasted sesame oil for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic, chilli if you are using it, pork mince and rosemary, and cook them together quickly to brown the mince in intense heat to crisp up the pork. Then add the hot water and kale and leave to cook gently with the lid on for another 5 minutes. Add plenty of salt and black pepper.

Cook the pasta until it is al dente. Drain it and mix with the sauce, adding pine nuts. Grate over lots of Parmesan.

rosemary and pork farfalle recipe - Sarah Raven



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