The corn in this song is sweetcorn: one of my favourite foods since early childhood. Corn-fritters was the first recipe I learned by heart. And eaten on the cob, it’s even more delicious. I remember ordering corn-on-the-cob with great excitement at a restaurant (the long-gone La Lupa), at the age of seven, only to realise after it had arrived that having no front teeth posed a serious problem. Scraping the kernels off with a fork just isn’t the same as eating it Mickey Mouse style, complete with the type-writer ‘ping’ at the end.
I’m not sure the measurements of your average elephant, (and in any case, Hammerstein didn’t specify whether it was African or Asian). There’s one scene in the fantastic Japanese film Kikujiro that always come to mind when I think of sweet corn growing: no clip of it online, so you’ll just have to buy the DVD. It’s the perfect film for the long summer holidays: won’t regret it).
Of course, there’s another food stuff called corn – the generic term in England for cereal crops. And where there’s corn growing, there may well be cornflowers.
The ultimate in blue flowers (my photograph does not do justice to the vivid blue colour), I grew them from seed this year. I discovered that they too grow high. You can try to stop them getting too leggy (which isn’t such a problem in a corn field where the main crop supports them) by plucking out the leaves as they come through, so that keep shooting out new stalks from the bottom. I did this a couple of times, but clearly not often enough as they shot up!
I planted them along with some other blue flowers: forget-me-note (apparently a biennial flowerer… doh!); sweet pea (no flowers yet); agapanthus (pathetic – has grown a few more shoots and that’s it); and lobelia, (which hasn’t flowered very much yet- despite big success growing it last year, it may still come through), so some or all may appear in a future blog… or not!
Tools / special requirements: Cornflower seeds, compost, watering can, patience.
Time taken: Four months (think I planted them in March and first flowers came in July).
Things learned: Steeleye Span recorded the first verse of Come Ye Thankful People Come as part of the song Marigold/Harvest Home on the Sails of Silver album, however, corn doesn’t get mentioned until the second verse.
Satisfaction (1-10): 8 for the cornflowers (though next time I’ll pinch out more of the leaves in the early stages to keep them lower). 1 for all the others!