Thanks to everyone for supporting me on the perennial edible adventure I’ve been on since my little story was published 5 years ago today!
It’s not too late to be included in my gallery of #ATWselfies either!
Please send me your picture and you’ll be added! You will be showing support of a very good cause: the conservation of the amazing diversity of food plants and their related traditions Around the World. See the album of #ATW Selfies below and also on FB here: https://www.facebook.com/stephen.barstow.7/media_set?set=a.10157331181205860 and previously on this blog at http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=466
And it’s always nice when your peers say nice things about your creation….here Joe Hollis of Mountain Gardens :) (I was sitting there though!)
Isaac John Koblentz (see his #ATWselfie) was one of 3 guys who travelled all the way from northern Ohio for the joint walk and talk I did with Joe Hollis at Mountain Gardens (North Carolina) in fall 2019! Here they tell a little bit about each other! Thanks so much for coming!
I’ve long had a Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) in the garden without a partner. The oldest is maybe 20 years old. I’ve several times tried to propagate more plants but they always died. I finally got a second plant going thanks to a gardening friend Alvilde who didn’t want hers anymore, but still no fruit, maybe it was a clone of the first one? This spring I took a few sprigs of flowering twigs from a couple of plants at the botanical garden at Ringve and put them next to my two plants. It did the trick as my two bushes were full of fruit this year, but only a few fruit on one of the bushes turned red and probably weren’t fully ripe. Perhaps we’ll make Polish Olives with them? It would be nice with a home grown olive surrogate? See Szczepaniak et al. (2019).
The bushes at Ringve, which were in a warmer and much sunnier spot than in my garden, were, on the other hand, laden with ripe fruit!
Although sour tasting raw, I was intrigued to see what they would taste like dried. My favourite dried fruit are sour cherries. Although not as good as those, I enjoyed the taste and they will this winter be part of my late winter dried fruit mixes that I eat every morning for breakfast once the fresh apples are finished.
There are many varieties of cornelian cherry bred for bigger fruits, there are also pear shaped fruit varieties and yellow cultivars. There are also a number of ornamental varieties, such as the wonderful variegated form I once saw laden with fruit in the Oxford Botanical Garden (see the pictures below).
´Elegantnyj´, ´Jalt´, ´Kijevskij´, ´Lukjanovskij´, ´Vydubeckij´ are Russian in origin; ´Devin´, ´Olomoucky, ´Ruzynsky´, ´Sokolnicky´, ´Titus´ are from Czechoslovakia and Slovakia; ´Joliko´ and ´Fruchtal´ are Austrian and ‘Ntoulia 1’ and ‘Ntoulia 2’ are Greek.<
There are also partially self-fertile varieties. Cornus mas has been cultivated commercially for centuries in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Turkey has today an important Cornelian cherry industry.
‘Kasanlaker’ is a large fruited cultivar which is available from nurseries in Western Europe.
I remember on a visit to Scandinavia’s oldest forest garden at Holma in Southern Sweden being shown a large Cornus mas in the centre of the city Lund on 1st September 2017! Here’s a picture of various forest gardeners harvesting the fruit (the tree was full):
Oskar M. Szczepaniak, Kobus‑Cisowska, J., Kusek, W. and Przeo, M. 2019. Functional properties of Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas L.): a comprehensive review. European Food Research and Technology. 245:2071–2087
I’ve harvested seed of a distinctive tall oriental woodlander this week, Parasenecio hastatus. It’s taller than I am and reminds me of some of the tall Lactuca species I saw in North America recently, perhaps growing in similar habitats in the Far East.
It’s a wild species in China, Japan, Korea and the Russian Far East. My most comprehensive Japanese foraging book says something like this (thanks to Chris Sonnenschein for the translation): “shoots are harvested when 20-30 cm long. Then when ready to cook, like asparagus, break/snap the shoots with your hand and discard the more woody end. Dice up the remainder into chunks. Boil in salted water. Rinse. Parboil in normal water just briefly. Eaten with Bonito flakes (fish), Soy Sauce & Mayonnaise. Also the leaves from the new shoots (this year’s growth) can be eaten, especially as tempura, through summer”.
More waxwing (sidensvans) videos from the garden.
1) Eating elderberries
2) Displaying flycatching skills
3) A dazed bird on the ground outside the front door; presumably it collided with the house in a drunken state…it ended well, flying off after the video ends.
This week I’ve spent a lot of time preparing various less hardy plants for winter, laying down blackberry canes and covering with leaves and jute sacking to hold the leaves in place and similarly with sea kale which is marginally hardy here.
Even though it was under -5C it was dry and quite pleasant to work outside raking leaves from the wild part of the garden.
I was a bit late this year, the cold spell with 10 days below 0C every day means that there’s already 10cm or so frozen solid in parts of the garden, so crossing fingers that I wasn’t too late.
Here’s part of my collection of perennial kales which are marginal here even with the roots protected. In my world, kales are of the least hardy vegetables :)
The canes of my 30 year old blackberry are almost as long as the south facing wall of my house:
…and my 35 year old seakale bed, covered as maybe 1 in 10 winters they wouldn’t survive!
Only 9 hours after the sun rose, it was dark again and a beautiful orange moon rose in the north east!
This week, the moon is below the horizon for as little as 4.5 hours (the opposite of the sun which disappears for a similar time in summer)…and being near full moon we get maximum moonlight at the moment!
Still hanging high in the sky at 8:30 this morning!
A female blackcap (munk) was feeding on rowan berries below the house this morning. I see blackcaps a few times every winter nowadays, an increasingly common overwintering bird, thanks to artificial feeding and berries in gardens. They even manage to overwinter at close to 70 degrees north in Tromsø. The map shows all the January observations of blackcaps in Norway in January. Remember that there is only twilight in Tromsø at that time of year. There’s even one observation of a bird sitting in a rowan tree, illuminated by xmas lights, eating the berries and singing on 6th January 2018!
A much better video taken the day after. This bird was catching insects. Right at the end a second female arrives…I hadn’t noticed this at the time!
Tonight’s veggie pizza (with part of the bread dough as I’m also baking bread this evening) had some unusual for me ingredients: perennial kales, a mix of oriental brassicas (pak choy, mizuna, mustard greens etc.), various spring onions (all hacked out of the frozen soil) with garlic, chili, oregano, dried fungi – Albatrellus ovinus (fåresopp in Norwegian) and topped with dried seed of highly invasive himalayan balsam (kjempespringfrø), the seeds of which are quite attractive (see the picture)
A large flock of around 800 Jackdaws (kaie) soared playfully above the bay this afternoon in the cold air (approaching a week of sub-zero C temperatures), probably put up by a hawk…and waxwings in the garden seemed to be being entertained by the performance!