Over the years I have tried a number of different Runner Bean varieties, including the white-flowered and bicoloured ones, but my favourites are still the good old-fashioned "Scarlet Runner" types like "Scarlet Emperor" (or its descendant "Scarlet Empire", which is even better), "Aintree" and "Red Rum". Last year I grew "Enorma", which was good too.
This year I have two types, "Streamline" and "Tenderstar". The former is a traditional red-flowered type, and the reason I'm growing it is that these were the ones available in large quantities at a good price at the Potato Day I attended in February. I bought a half-pint of them (about 200 seeds), which I shared with my daughter Emma. The other type was provided for me FOC by Marshalls, for review.
"Streamline" had a bad start. Many of its early flowers did not set. It's improved since then, and pods are beginning to form in bigger numbers.
Compared with other varieties I have had - such as the aptly-named "Emorma" last year - the mature pods are not big. They are mostly about 20 - 25cms long. (The chopping-board in my next photo is 33cm long).
"Tenderstar" is completely different. For a start, this is a variety that has been bred from both Runner beans and French beans, and allegedly has the best characteristics of both (e.g. the ability to set pods without bee-pollination). The flowers are bi-coloured, red with a pinkish white.
The pods are short and fat - about 12 - 15cm long:
On present evidence I don't think I will be growing "Tenderstar" again though. Call me old-fashioned if you like, but I still prefer the traditional Scarlet Runners!