Winnie the Pooh, Rape (Brassica napus) & Favorite Family photos

I swear, my brain never stops on the garden thing….

greayers in a rape field in england

So last night I was watching a movie with my little people, and we had on a show called A Bear Named Winnie (worth a watch if you are a Pooh fan or have kids).  It is the (true) story of Winnipeg the bear, and the Canadian soldier who adopted him and took him to England as he went off to WWI (and then ultimately, after the bear ended up in the London Zoo, Winnie inspired the A.A. Milne story).

The movie has some great scenery of the English country side and it reminded me of how beautiful the Rape Fields are there, and how I almost never see rape fields here in the USA.   I started to wonder if rape might be a good thing to plant in my field (maybe to control and choke out weeds?) and with a little research I realized that not only might it be good for weed control, it is also good for feeding animals, and it is a great cover crop, and it looks beautiful.

Hmmm….and one of my all time favorite family pictures is of my husband and daughter in an English country side Rape field (oh, how I wish I knew where the pre-sepia treatment image was!! The yellow was fantastic!)
rape brassica napus

1. Rape Field West Sussex May, 2. Rape Field West Sussex, 3. rape field at tuxford, 4. Rape Field, 5. rape fields and tracks, 6. Rape Field

My brief research had me thinking about how it’s uses are largely the same as those of Corn (oil, biofuel, feed, etc) but could it be at least vaguely useful as a garden plant?  I am wondering if any of you know anything about growing rape (Brassica napus), using it in a garden, or on a slightly larger scale like a small field where I want to keep out the nasty wild raspberries and improve the soil in preparation for something else?  I have read that it s quite useful to organic gardeners.  Maybe you even know something about what to do with it as a harvest-able plant?  If you’ve got some experience with this, please share, inquiring minds want to know.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. Jean on January 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    You should come out to So. California. It grows wild all over the hills. Though it’s most likely a different variety than the plants in the UK.

    When I saw your photos I thought “Rape seed? It looks like mustard plant!” Looked it up and it turns out it’s the same plant. A member of the mustard family. Beautiful pics btw. They make me want to go hiking =)

  2. Regina on January 27, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I worked at a Nursery/Farm Supply store in southwest Tennessee that stocked bulk seed, including rape. I questioned my boss about it, because I rarely saw anyone buy it, and I thought it might be another delicious brassica for me to eat. He informed me that it was far too bitter to eat (Ha! no such thing as too bitter for me, I still want to eat it) and most people (all 3) who bought it from us, grew it to attract deer. He also said that it was grown for the oil, which was used as machine oil by the local farmers. I imagine it’s a great bee plant, but wonder if the honey wouldn’t taste a bit odd.

  3. Delphine on January 28, 2011 at 7:00 am

    Nice wave of yellow, but, really, this plant stinks a lot !

  4. merrydithy on February 2, 2011 at 8:18 am

    OOO look at me!

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