I’m chuffed to be asked to be a guest at the BBC Gardener’s Question Time Summer Garden Party at Mount Stewart on Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland on 9th June! I will be doing a couple of talks and a couple of garden foraging walks and talks on the day!
It’s a ticketed event, more information when I get it…here’s the press release:
I took the ferry across from Vancouver Island to the city of Vancouver. I’ve already posted a lot of pictures of the birds of fabulous Stanley Park, a green lung right in the centre of the city (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10476). Here’s a few pictures of emerging edimentals I spotted in the park during my visit on 4th April 2017.
After the Indigenous Plant Walk the day before, my Airbnb hostess Kelly Kerr invited to show me around the Beacon Hill Park, a 200 acre mix of both natural areas, formal flower beds, but above all else the site is of great cultural significance to the Lekwungen People (now known as Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation). In fact, the City of Victoria has adopted 2017 as a Year of Reconciliation, and a traditional longhouse will be built on a hilltop site! When the British arrived they wrongly assumed that the open meadow landscape was “natural” and unused. In fact, the Lekwungen had cultivated and maintained these shrub-free grasslands for centuries. The meadows were worked to grow camas which was their most important root crop, as well as other edible wild plants. Both common and great camas (Camassia quamash and Camassia leichtlinii) were used. This habitat was reminiscent to the English of the ideal 19th century parkland landscape that they recognised from home and was instrumental in Victoria being founded at this site!
The Beacon Hill area was apparently “one of the most productive camas territories on Vancouver Island,” The Lekwungen people both harvested bulbs for their own use and also traded with other west coast peoples. Thankfully, it is now likely that these productive and butterfly rich grasslands will be gradually restored. The album of pictures were taken in the park and along the adjacent shoreline where native families would arrive in the past for the harvest. They would harvest the bulbs in summer when the seed heads were ripe. Only the largest bulbs were harvested and the others replanted. Invasion by shrubs was minimised by regular burning. Each family had its own designated area. The practice of farming natural areas in this way was commonly practiced around the world by native peoples.
I remember many years ago walking with a Norwegian colleague in the mountains in Scotland (Ben More). Seeing a snow patch a long way off our route he just had to go and touch it! Even though they are surrounded with the white stuff in winter, they really miss it in summer ;)
In Jondal to visit the Hardanger Academy in early August last year, dinner was almost ready, and my “driver” Eirik asks if I fancy a trip up to the glacier? It’s only half an hour’s drive….well we got back two hours later…and yes he had to touch the snow ;)
Here’s a few pictures from the drive!!
Did I mention that the Nordic Permaculture Festival will be in Jondal from 12th-15th July 2018?
Yesterday I had a walk in the steep north facing woods east of Malvikbakk only 5 minutes by bike from home. I’d found a lot of edible fungi here on my last visit a month ago when we had a mini-drought (north slopes dry up last). It’s still very dry in the fungisphere despite recent rains and there’s not much winter chanterelle (traktkantarell) in the woods… No luck this time, but good to be in the woods for 2-3 hours….
The only picture I took during Saturday’s two edible plant tours of Hurdal Ecovillage, the farm, the rectory garden (Prestegårdshagen) and the CSA scheme (andelsbruk)! This was part of Høstivalen (The Ecovillage’s autumn festival). I was particularly pleased by the fact that the daughter of one of my heroes, Ivar Torp (see page 44 of https://okologisklandbruk.nlr.no/media/ring/3550/2014/%C3%98L%20nr%201_2014%20epostfil.pdf ) joined the tour, although I wasn’t aware of it until afterwards! She has now taken over Ivar’s property!
Thanks to Eliane Vivi Frieda Bonde for inviting me to Bornholm…a great day with a knowledgeable international group of foragers, gardeners, permaculturists, farmers, foodists and wwoofers / workawayers! Here are some pictures from the venue in an old school in the beautiful North Bornholm town of Allinge where I gave a 4-5 hour talk followed by a beach walk! Hope to return in spring!!
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).