The bumblebees love Allium pskemense, the largest onion in my garden, probably the closest perennial onion tastewise to the common bulb onion Allium cepa and it can be very productive, see my blog about Pskem Onion Soup here: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=1940
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!
It’s a beautiful sunny day here and a patch of Crocus tommasianus opened up in response. Making this film, my first 2019 bumble bee emerged from one of the flowers at the back!
The most successful of the half dozen Phyteuma species I’ve tried in my garden has been a plant received as Phyteuma nigrum (syn. Phyteuma spicatum ssp nigrum), black rampion or (Norwegian) svartvadderot. It has much darker flowers than Phyteuma spicatum, sometimes almost black. I planted it from seed propagated plants in 2003 and this picture is from 2006-2007:
It has self-sowed freely and seems to have crossed with other accessions of Phyteuma spicata with white and blue (ssp. caeruleum) flowers that I have in my garden (these have not self-sowed much) as there is now a mix of colours in the original spot I planted nigrum. Phyteuma spicatum/nigra is also the most popular bee plant in my garden in mid-June and a great edimental (one of the edi-entomentals, plants combining food, ornament as well as good for bees and other pollinators!). Phyteuma spicatum (rapunsel) is a very old root vegetable in Europe, mentioned already in Gerard’s Herball from 1597, but best known as a vegetable in France and Germany! The name rapunsel is related to rapa (turnip) due to its use as a root vegetable!
See my blog post from 23rd June 2017 with pictures and video of black rampion: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=11910
I tried Phyteuma spicatum as a root vegetable in 2013 and was struck by its good sweetish taste:
I harvested a lot of plants this week (late July 2018) while remaking the bed where it was growing and was impressed by the good size of roots and yields, although it is unknown how old the individual plants were (I plan to grow some of the smaller plants elsewhere to see how quickly they grow in a shady area of the garden, as this could be a good forest garden plant, although, like Jerusalem artichoke, plants in the Campanulaceae to which Phyteuma belongs, contain the diabetic friendly but poorly digestable carbohydrate inulin):
The flower heads can also be used as a vegetable, reminiscent of Bath Asparagus flower heads (Ornithogalum pyrenaicum) see the picture from its wiki page:
I saw the plant in the wild for the first time in Austria in the Alps on my Arche Noah tour in 2017 (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=11483), the white flowered form, growing in open woodlands.
In Norway, it grows wild a few places in southern Norway and has also naturalised in parks, including the great garden at Baroniet Rosendal (see the video and pictures at http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=15680). It is also found in the far north of Norway in Finnmark where it naturalised during World War II, introduced by the Germans with horse forage!
The name rapunsel is related to rapa (turnip) due to its use as a root vegetable!
http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=11910 (with video)
Other European languages: Raiponce en épi (French), ährige Teufelskralle (German), ährige Rapunzel (Swiss German), and Raponzolo giallo (Italian)
I’ll be offering seed this autumn via Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN):
Just a random selection of pictures from the garden from the last few days!
130518: Added a few more
160518: Added some Trilliums now at their best
I’ve been observing edimentals liked by the bees over the last week…and the winners are the following genera: Allium, Cirsium, Papaver, Trifolium, Dictamnus, Knautia, Campanula, Codonopsis and Aquilegia
I only need to find the time to get out Tor Bollingmo’s (Norwegian) book and attempt to identify the bee species!
After my weekend course in Haugaland, member of Norwegian Seed Savers, Tone Lise Østboe kindly showed me around gardens in Stavanger and we also visited Rogaland arboretum outside the city and also a producer of bumble bees for the greenhouse industry!
Thanks very much Tone Lise :)