They say that in Britain runner beans were grown as garden flowers for nearly a century before they realised that you could eat them too. I’m pushed for space in this little garden, the veges are grown in containers out the back, and the front garden is for flowers only. The scarlet runners can certainly do both jobs, I only wish I had found longer and stronger canes to grow them up as they are over the top already. Come to think of it, this should be a good way to grow rock melons or gherkins. That can be next year’s project, if there is room between the flowers.
If you think this is a new idea; here is an extract from a gardening book written in 1874:
Between these old Apple-trees and the young standards there was room, which I am making ornamental with cones of Scarlet Runners. We have some five circles on each side of the walk and shall train up the bean tendrils by strings fastened to a centre pole, so that in summer we shall have a succession of tents of scarlet and green. I tried this method of training Scarlet Runners on a smaller scale last year. The effect was excellent.
from “A Year in a Lancashire Garden” by H. A. Bright, eBook downloaded from Project Gutenberg.