My runner beans are still flowering their little socks off, or would if they possessed any! At the same time, they are creating the seeds for me to harvest, and dry out, ready for planting again in the Spring. Free food :)
I always leave one plant, at least, to grow long, plump beans, which I don't harvest to eat. I allow them to stay on the plant until they have dried out. They don't look particularly attractive when they've turned papery in texture, and brownish in colour, but they contain that precious cargo of next year's seeds. For that alone, they could be considered beautiful. They have served their purpose, and that's a wonderful thing.
The photos show the pods agains the sunlight. If you look closely, you can see the shape of the beans within the drying pod, as the light can pass through the thinning shell of the pod, leaving the shadowy outline of the beans. Harvest when brown and dry.
The last shows the dried out shell, and some of the hidden treasure from within, revealed just for you! And aren't the beans pretty? Such attractive markings, and glorious colours. Bright pinks are fashionable just now - I wonder what a dress would look like created from fabric patterned like the beans. Probably quite attractive, I'd say. But then, I'm biased.
I store my harvested beans in an envelope, on which I write the variety and the date - I used to think I'd remember, but nowadays I know I won't, so I write it down. If I have plenty, I share them with family and friends who also appreciate organic, fresh food.