19 June 2011

Appreciating... Polytunnels

They couldn't be more utilitarian, with their polythene and their plain metal curves. But the lack of angularity is appealing and the plants inside can turn them into something else altogether. Thistleton Herb Nursery in Rutland has one open weekend a year, always near midsummer and just as significant. The date is put in diaries in the depths of winter.

They have a lot of polytunnels at Thistleton. Inside is a massive variety of wildflowers and herbs, as well as vegetables. Some plants are being grown for the big shows, like Hampton Court, three weeks from now. When it is pouring outside, as it was yesterday, a polytunnel is a good place to be, the oxygen-filled air mingling with the scent of thyme or lavender or fennel. And the flower-filled tunnels look like meadows on either side of the black plastic runway.

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