Watercress, which is rich in vitamins and peppery-flavoured, is a favourite garnish but unfortunately requires more water than the ordinary gardener can provide. American cress or land cress is a practical and quick-growing alternative for the home plot- all you need to provide is a shady spot and a thorough watering when the weather turns dry.

Land cress is a completely satisfactory substitute for watercress. Use it in sandwiches or in salads. It can also be cooked like spinach or used in soup.

The botanical name for land cress is Barbarea verna or Lepidium nativum.