Back in the pre-Facebook days, I remember there was a forum for unusual nut trees and the Norwegian monkey puzzle trees were considered to be the most hardy and I remember receiving a lot of requests from folk wanting seed from our provenience. I had to disappoint them as they weren’t easy to come by……but I did finally get a few seed via a contact from the botanical garden in Bergen who told me that a friend of hers had actually climbed a tree and harvested nuts!!!! Was her friend a monkey? The tree was located in Os, just south of Bergen. They germinated in spring 2007 and I attempted to overwinter outside in a plastic greenhouse open at the top and with a leaf mulch around the roots. I’d heard rumours that larger trees sold from a local nursery for an exorbitant price had survived (never confirmed for my area where winter temperatures can go down to -20C). They survived until mid-March 2018, when I took the picture, but it didn’t make it through a subsequent very cold period ☹ I didn’t try again.
A minimum of about -15C seems to be about the temperature limit here and this limits the area they can be grown to a narrow strip outermost along almost the entire Norwegian coast it turns out. One of the biggest surprises in my gardening life was to discover a monkey puzzle growing in Skavberg nursery not far from the arctic city of Tromsø close to 70°N!! Owner Bjørn Thon was also growing Maori carrots (Aciphylla spp.) from New Zealand and many other plants I’d never seen before in Norway. Bjørn has been a long-term collaborator of the Tromsø Arctic-Alpine Botanical Garden and had been on collection trips to South America. His monkey puzzle had actually been from nuts bought on the market at Puerto Montt in Chile rather than Norwegian trees. The botanical garden, located in a more exposed site than the nursery, also tried but failed, the young plants dying after a few years.
I also have a Brazilian monkey puzzle (Paraná pine) overwintered in my cold cellar without lights at about 3-4C and bring it up as a Xmas tree for a couple of weeks 😊 See http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=15467
My monkey puzzle safari in Chile (old growth forest)
A visit with Andrew McMillion to Norway’s largest monkey puzzle tree: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=16922
Discussion on monkey puzzle on a Norwegian gardening forum in 2009:
Day 3 of the KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) meet was at the Ringve Botanical Garden Open Day in Trondheim. The day started early as I drove one of the participants to the station in Trondheim and then spent a couple of hours collecting some of the ingredients for a multi-species salad. Including plants collected on a walk, talk and forage for KVANN members, we managed 111 ingredients in the salad! Thanks to all who helped make it a very successful and fun weekend!
Pictures from Saturday’s 5 km (almost 4 hours with all the stops) walk along the Homla river canyon from Storfossen (this area’s second highest waterfall) to the sea at Hommelvik! As usual, a memorable trip!
There was a little sprinkling of rain in the night again (here on a pot grown Phormium from NZ)! Although everything is still green, another couple of weeks of drought will stress the trees on my shallow soil….but hope is in sight with 4 rainy days forecast next week!
It’s a good sign when the “S” is visible on the fjord :)
One of my favourite spring dishes is nettle and ramsons quiche, the ramsons cultivated on the north side of the house! Tonight’s dinner!
ALOHA all! Thanks to Leda Meredith for the introduction, we had a very enjoyable visit today from Sunny Savage, a foraging author from Hawaii. Sunny is author of Wild Food Plants of Hawaii and is doing great things encouraging and helping folks to eat invasive species and is working on an app to help people find 5 Hawaiian invasives! Great idea which could be adapted elsewhere!! We foraged my garden together and you can see here what we created