Accidental companions: a Sherpa onion (Allium wallichii) has set up home in the middle of my greek mountain tea (Sideritis syriaca) with a few self-sowed dandelions for good measure! Allium wallichii moves around with rhizomes…I didn’t plant it here!
The Allium garden at Ringve has grown well as have the so-called weeds (mostly very young birch trees!). I spent the afternoon weeding and documenting the right hand (easternmost bed)….now known as the New Hampshire bed (I’m told the two beds resemble a map of Vermont and New Hampshire) (As it looks like the garden will be known as Chicago-hagen due to the fact that the native american name Chicago means onion)!!
This is the link to the last album I made from 31st May: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10156051646095860.1073743203.655215859&type=1&l=cbacd0612e
I spent 3-4 hours this afternoon weeding the new Allium garden at Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim!
It now seems pretty certain that many plants didn’t make it through the winter, perhaps planted a little too late to establish themselves!
I always dreamed of working in a botanical garden and somehow my wish has come true only 7 months after retiring from job as an ocean wave climatologist!
Even better, I can come and go as I wish (more or less)…I now have an office where I will be able to document and tend (in summer) my onion garden, as visiting researcher :)
…and the staff are lovely people too :)
090118: Wren foraging and joined by a second bird120118: It’s quite a few years I’ve seen two-barred crossbill (båndkorsnebb), but then I’ve never deliberately sought them out at Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim which, because of its collection of conifers, is one of the best places to see this species, the less common of the 3 crossbills here…only one female with a single common or parrot crossbill…
090118: Wrens (gjerdesmett):
120118: What are these redpolls (gråsisik) feeding on?:
I’m just passing the mountain village Otta in Gudbrandsdalen on the train . In 2009, I visited several old farms in this area to witness first-hand the old onion turf roofs still to be found nearby and collect some samples (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=14436). Norway’s old edible roof gardens are also described in my book Around the World I 80 plants! I recently heard that a botanist, Bjørn Harald Larsen, did a thorough field study of the area last year (2016) and made a number of new finds. His report can be downloaded below (with many new pictures!). Bjørn Harald has tried to partition his finds of old Allium fistulosum (pipeløk / Welsh onion) in this area as follows: There are now 10 intact roof locations documented of 31 «original known onion roofs»; 12 intact of 16 finds where plants had been moved / planted from older roofs; 2 occurrences where plants have naturalised on dry slopes; a few that have been planted in gardens; and finally two instances where plants seem to originate from other cultivated forms (i.e., plants have a different growth form – I had also noted this when growing out some of these onions in Malvik).
I certainly didn’t think I would make a blog post with this name today! This is possibly my strangest post ever….
To explain, I was cleaning and packing seed in the garden today (a beautiful sunny day here) and I noticed that the seed of an Allium I’d just cleaned seemed a bit “nervous” or jumpy, jumping as soon as I touched them! They don’t have an English name, they are simply Allium ovalifolium var leucoNERVUM….. I decided to film this strange phenomenon (see the video below)…..and at about 1 minute my friend the wren decided he wanted to be part of the action and starts to call next to me (see also yesterday’s wren film)…and then at the end my neighbour can be heard calling me, unaware of the drama going on….wanting to know if I wanted some hen (not wren) manure…..let me know what you think?
On 3rd July 2009, local historian Geir Neverdal invited me on a tour to witness first hand the old traditional onion roofs of Gudbrandsdalen near the town of Otta. I had first heard of Geir through the following web site about these very special old turf roofs on which Allium fistulosum / welsh onion / pipeløk had been planted as a protection against fire (the leaves are succulent even in very dry conditions and this Siberian species is extremely hardy and drought tolerant): http://www.otta2000.com/Diverse/Pipeloek/pipeloek.htm. The onions were also traditionally harvested in spring and used in scrambled egg and other dishes.
He had arranged visits to 5 different farms near Otta and Vågå. Two local botanists had also been invited along: Hans Petter Schwencke and Bjørn Engehagen.
One Norwegian botanist thinks that as these roof onions have developed over such a long time in this very special environment that they should be lifted to species level. I suggest Allium gudbrandsdaliensis ;)
Below are a series of pictures from these farms: Søre Breden where owners Knut Romsås Breden og Eldri Seim met us; Hole; Nedre Gjetsiden; Nerøygarden (where Ingrid Dokken and her husband met us)and, finally, Sve Gård in Vågå kommune where farmer Harald Bjørndal showed us around. At the bottom is a document in Norwegian which I wrote after the visit. The story of these onions is also told in my book Around the World in 80 plants!
I carried out the final day of planting of the new Allium garden at the Ringve (Trondheim) botanical garden this week giving a total of 265 different perennial onions in the ground! Can’t wait to see the results next spring!