In early October 2011, I was on a work trip in Ireland (Cork) and stopped off to see the city’s botanical garden for the first time! Here’s a series of pictures of unusual fruit bushes and trees taken on my recent visit to the National Botanical Garden in Dublin. I’d never seen such a good collection of Berberis before – impressive diversity…
Quercus mongolica (Mongolian oak or the Shandong silk oak)! Did you know that the Chinese not only produce silk from mulberry trees, but also from Mongolian oak trees? The Chinese oak silkworm, Antheraea pernyi, is the worker employed according to Food Plants of China! See https://academic.oup.com/jinsectscience/article/10/1/180/887115
The Mongolian oak nuts were also sometimes eaten and the leaves were used for tea, boiled with the fruits of Siberian crabapple, Malus baccata!
Thanks to Matthias Brück for preparing cactus pads (nopalitos) from Opuntia ficus-indicus for lunch, a long job by hand to de-spine first, but delicious! Does the old variety developed by Luther Burbank, “Burbank’s Spineless” still exist?
On Sunday I finally found the opportunity to visit my friend and fellow Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) board member Andrew McMillion who lives on a small farm in Nes, Akershus! We were joined by Amandine from France who is doing an Msc in Agroecology in Ås (Norway). She had joined us in Trondheim and Malvik at the KVANN weekend in June!
In Andrew’s tunnel greenhouse I saw several plants I’d never seen before and Andrew’s belief in the importance of diversity in a secure food production is evident everywhere! His greenhouse reminded me n fact of Alan Kapuler (Mushroom)’s amazing kinship (biodiversity) gardens in Oregon, USA (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=3325)
It’s amazing how Andrew grows what for many are impossible vegetables with minimal additional heat!
Outside, he is developing the ravine on the side of the property with perennial vegetables! He is also a champion of Shetland Cabbage as a future hardy vegetable in Norway and this is one of many vegetables he offers each year through Norwegian Seed Savers!!
I look forward to following Andrew’s projects over the next years!!
A productive afternoon in the woods yesterday on the Malvik side of Solemsvåttan with my Swiss helper Julia Albrecht with a good haul of bilberries and the year’s first chantarelles! Yes, I think I live in paradise :)