All posts by Stephen Barstow

Invasives talk at the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre

I gave a lunch time talk today for staff at Artsdatabanken (the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre) in Trondheim…I gave a choice of 3 titles that I couldn’t decide on, so I used all 3: “If you can’t beat them, eat them”, “Aliens in the Gourmet Kitchen” and “Svarteliste godsaker” (blacklisted goodies)…
After lunch, there was a presentation from 4 students who had won a prize for developing a web site (not up yet) for providing recipes for invasive species…on my suggestion, they secured the web address invasivore.no!!!

The Allium garden at Ringve

A little secret I’ve had since last autumn (apart from a select few) when I was told that I would get my very own Allium bed at the Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim :)
Yesterday, 18th August 2017, I finally got the time to start the planting. I will be planting both the collection of old Norwegian perennial onions that I have collected from all over the country over the last 10 years and a selection of species Alliums to show off their incredible diversity!
The first phase was mainly the planting of my old Norwegian onion collection, Allium schoenoprasum (chives / gressløk), Allium fistulosum (Welsh onion / pipeløk including old Norwegian roof onions from Gudbrandsdalen) and Allium x proliferum (walking onions, tree onions, Egyptian onions / luftløk, etasjeløk). I also planted about 22 accessions of Allium cernuum (nodding onion, Chicago onion / prærieløk) plus a few others like Allium carinatum pulchellum and Norrlands onion (Norrlandsløk).
It was a long day starting at home at 8 am with packing, sorting and documentation, returning home after 10 pm – it was worth it for the sunset from the garden over Trondheimsfjord!! Looking forward to phase 2 which will probably be in September!
 
Thanks to the Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre and particularly Morten Rasmussen for funding the bed preparation and Vibekke Vange and the staff at Ringve for making me feel so welcome!

Preparing Allium cernuum accessions for Ringve at home:

Sunset and the new Allium bed with the accompaniment of screaming  (approving) swifts!  Life is good!!

 

19th August 2017 Alliums

More Alliums in flower in the garden!!

Flutterbies

After a very cold start to the summer, Malvik has had record warm weather over the last month which has helped the populations of butterflies! They love my edible garden and, in particular, peacock (dagpåfugløy) has been recorded more times than anywhere else in this area, half of the total of 15 observations were made here between 2006-2010. Hoping for the first peacock since then! The favourite plants at the moment are my two Buddleja davidii (sommerfuglbusk, sadly only edible for insects as far as I know), one of which is bigger than ever as I didn’t prune it last winter. In the last few days I’ve noted up to 20 small tortoiseshell (neslesommerfugl), 1 painted lady (tistelsommerfugl), up to 7 red admirals (admiral), 1 dark green fritillary (aglajaperlemorvinge; I think, a first here) and 2 comma butterflies (hvit C).

30 point ostrich!

On the way up the mountain at Alvastien Telste I found a particularly fertile ostrich fern with 30 fertile fronds! This is the edible wild plant equivalent of a moose with antlers with many points ;)
These much shorter fronds which carry the spores are one of the most important distinguishing features of ostrich fern (the taller fronds don’t have spores).

Perennialen III: Alvastien Telste – from fjord to shieling

Documentation of yet another amazing day during last week’s Perennialen III in Hardanger!! Pictures taken on a fantastic 6-7 hour round trip from Eirik Lillebøe Wiken​ and Hege Iren Aasdal Wiken​’s house to their shieling (støl or seter in Norwegian). We took our time botanising on the way up, passing through different types of forest on the way up, from alder (or), ash (ask), planted spruce (gran), lime (lind), elm (alm), hazel (hassel), aspen (osp) and birch (bjørk) at the highest levels. Lower down, old apple trees witnessed that these steep slopes had at one time been worked for fruit production, no easy matter….
Eirik and Hege are planning to rejuvenate and replant some of this area and have planted a multispecies forest garden above and below the house, probably one of the most dramatic forest gardens in the world (more later).

Ostrich Fern (strutseving)

Ants on pine tree

Aspen (osp) and the fjord

Young blackcap (munk)