Category Archives: Perennials

Perennial thicket bean update

A hardy perennial bean has been a wish amongst permaculturists for some years, and one of the most interesting species is Phaseolus polystachios. Jonathan Bates of Paradise Lot fame (with Eric Toensmeier) kindly sent me seed last year. The 2-3 plants sadly all died. This year one of my remaining seed germinated and the resultant plant has grown well, kept indoors all summer.. It is now in full flower in the living room, but has been invaded by aphids. Is it self-fertile?
See my earlier blog post here

Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon/Chorogi/Madeira vine tuber harvest

Harvested roots of Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon (Tragopogon pratensis), an introduced weed in my garden. It is related to salsify and scorzonera – I eat the roots and force a few for early spring greens; Madeira vine is in the Basellaceae and isn’t everybody’s cup-of-tea as they are rather mucilaginous – they can also be forced in winter for the equally mucilaginous greens! I LIKE THEM, but always mixed with other veg. Finally, I harvested my long neglected chorogi which were surprisingly good yielding despite the fact that they were completely overgrown by weeds..
All are now stored in the cellar.

Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon (Tragopogon pratensis) / geitskjegg
Anredera cordifolia (Madeira vine)
Chorogi or chinese artichoke (Stachys affinis)


Garden pictures 24th-25th September 2016

A collection of pictures from last weekend in the garden!


The Youngs of Aberdeen

On my way up north from Edinburgh by train I stopped off to visit Scottish Rockers ( Scottish Rock Garden Forum luminaries) Ian and Maggi Young’s wonderfully diverse garden in Aberdeen. Ian was actually the first person to review my book and I blogged about the review and Ian’s labour of love since 2003, his weekly Bulb Log here:
Maggi is the intrepid commander-in-chief of the Scottish Rock Garden Forum and other FB fora for many years, a forum I used to follow daily until FB took over as there’s an enormous amount of information and knowledge there, and perhaps 30% or so of ornamentals are edible!
Ian kindly volunteered to pick me up at the station and I spent a pleasant hour or two looking through their paradise. Although it wasn’t the best time of year to see the garden there were still a number of plants in flower and it was good to also meet Allium wallichii here too (see my blog about the Edinburgh botanics)…and this week’s Bulb Log from Ian features a great shot of this plant on the front page:
Now to plan a spring visit!

Weekend garden pictures 3rd – 4th September 2016



Weekend garden pictures

A diverse selection of pictures from last weekend in the Edible Garden :)

Most northerly overwintered edible Gunnera?

I was surprised to see two Gunneras (both tinctoria/chilensis and manicata) outside at the Ringve Botanical Gardens in Trondheim at the weekend.  Reidun Mork​ told me that they had used the same overwintering technique as they used at the Copenhagen Botanical Gardens, where she used to work. I knew exactly what she meant as I’d taking a picture in Copenhagen of this in early May (second picture). I’ve never seen overwintered Gunnera so far north before. Gunnera tinctoria is one of the 80 in my book and has special significance locally as the genus was named after Trondheim Bishop Gunnerus (by Linnaeus).
I must have a go at overwintering my pot grown specimen…