My youngest seakale Crambe maritima “Lily White” which isn’t that young longer (17 years old), is in full flower a couple of weeks earlier than my other plants and its looking better than ever this year! In the winter, I dug a trench along the “ex-driveway”, now path to the house, to stop tree roots invading and drying up the shallow soiled beds in this part of the garden.
A year ago, I reported on variegation on a Hablitzia in my son’s garden on Nesodden near Oslo (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18162). I gave him this plant a few years ago and I really didn’t believe it would thrive here as the spot appeared very dry with poorish looking soil, but this year it’s clearly thriving and is sprawling in different directions (they plan to paint the house, so it’s not been trained up the wall). I discovered for the second year running that one of the shoots is variegated, similar to Mandy Barber‘s plant a couple of years ago reported on the Friends of Hablitzia forum on FB!
Has anyone had success (or not) with layering Hablitzia to propagate?
Previous posts on variegated Habbies here (on Facebook):
The swamp saxifrage (Micranthes pensylvanica, earlier Saxifraga pensylvanica) is a very interesting perennial edible for a damp place in the garden. I grow it in damp soil next to my small pond. It grows over much of northeastern North America in “marshy meadows, mucky seepages in woods, swamp forests, montane bogs and seeps” (Flora of North America). It is recorded as being eaten by the Cherokee people as a salad.
I obtained seed of this in 2003 as its edibility is mentioned in Cornucopia II: “Young, tender, unrolling leaves can be used in salads, eaten as a potherb or briefly cooked in bacon fat”. For various reasons I never tried it.
And then I bought Samuel Thayer’s book The Forager’s Harvest (2006) in which he includes this rarely foraged plant, despite it being quite common over its range! He says that “…the only part of the swamp saxifrage plant that I consider worth eating is the flower stalks”. He considers the boiled young leaves hardly edible, being bitter and tough even when young. However, reading Sam’s account was at the same time that I had started to redo my overgrown pond and adjacent boggy areas. This took several years and it wasn’t until this spring that the swamp saxifrage was big enough again to be harvested!
The verdict: the flower shoots were delicious and crispy raw without a hint of bitterness or toughness. I served them with a simple olive oil and soy sauce dressing. I’d now like to grow a larger area of this! Sam advises against cooking them as this makes them very soft. Incidentally, I didn’t find that the top third of the flowers stalks are less palatable as commented by Thayer.
Dried ostrich ferns (strutseving), Matteuccia struthiopteris
Before my D.A. (Dandelion Awakening) I would religiously remove and cut down as many dandelions as I could, but nowadays my garden perennial beds are full of them. As I’ve written before, dandelions have become probably my most important vegetable in the winter months. I dig up the roots from my garden beds, where I’ve deliberately let them grow, in the autumn, store in my cellar and force them as I need them in cooler rooms in the house. These wild dandelions grow themselves, the only energy I use on them is in the digging and moving to store! A perfect vegetable! There are 11 pages in my book Around the World in 80 plants about the multitude of food uses for dandelions and how you can make a whole meal of them and cycle home after the meal on tyres made of dandelion rubber! But there’s so much more to this miracle plant and I’m sure you’ve read of its many medicinal properties including it being an anti-cancer powerhouse! Sat in the garden, a Eurasian Siskin (grønnsisik) just landed on a dandelion head showing it’s also an important plant for birds in addition to bees, beetles and other insects! Make sure you leave a few dandelions to seed and you may also experience a magical moment like this!
Since I first blogged about an invasion of diamondback moths (kålmøll) two days ago, reports have been coming in across Scandinavia of the enormity of this invasion, even reaching the farthest north parts of the Norwegian mainland in Finnmark, the arctic city of Tromsø and Northern Sweden. In some places, it’s been too cold to start planting out vegetables!
There were more than a thousand moths in my garden yesterday and they were observed swarming over my perennial kales (Brassica oleracea), sea kale (Crambe maritima) and common wintercress (Barbarea vulgaris), none of which are likely to be severely affected.
There’s been a major arrival of diamondback moths (kålmøll) here since yesterday and there are hundreds of this major Brassica pest in the garden today! I am thankfully only growing perennial kales (Brassica oleracea) and resistent sea kale (Crambe maritima) this year, both of which are already close to maximum yield and unlikely to be severely affected by the moth. This also means I don’t need to use any form of protection (horticultural fleece / fiberduk) which is probably a major source of agricultural microplastics. Problem solved!
Sea kale/strandkål (Crambe maritima):
Perennial kales (Brassica oleracea):