Category Archives: Fruit

Cornelian Cherries and Polish Olives in Trondheim

I’ve long had a Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) in the garden without a partner. The oldest is maybe 20 years old. I’ve several times tried to propagate more plants but they always died. I finally got a second plant going thanks to a gardening friend Alvilde who didn’t want hers anymore, but still no fruit, maybe it was a clone of the first one? This spring I took a few sprigs of flowering twigs from a couple of plants at the botanical garden at Ringve and put them next to my two plants. It did the trick as my two bushes were full of fruit this year, but only a few fruit on one of the bushes turned red and probably weren’t fully ripe.  Perhaps we’ll make Polish Olives with them?  It would be nice with a home grown olive surrogate? See Szczepaniak et al. (2019).

I finally got a good crop on my two plants, but only one of the two bushes had ripe fruit.

The bushes at Ringve, which were in a warmer and much sunnier spot than in my garden, were, on the other hand, laden with ripe fruit!

At Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim the bushes were laden with berries. These bushes are located in a much more sunny spot than in my garden. Good to have confirmed that they can give a crop in Trondheim
At Ringve.

Although sour tasting raw, I was intrigued to see what they would taste like dried. My favourite dried fruit are sour cherries. Although not as good as those, I enjoyed the taste and they will this winter be part of my late winter dried fruit mixes that I eat every morning for breakfast once the fresh apples are finished.

Preparing the fruit for drying. These will be used later in the winter with a mulltitude of other dried fruit. I love the tart taste of these! The seed will be offered to members of Norwegian Seed Savers!
Dried Cornelian Cherries

There are many varieties of cornelian cherry bred for bigger fruits, there are also pear shaped fruit varieties and yellow cultivars. (Edit: My friend Jesper Bay tells me that there’s also a black fruited variety!) There are also a number of ornamental varieties, such as the wonderful variegated form I once saw laden with fruit in the Oxford Botanical Garden (see the pictures below).
´Elegantnyj´, ´Jalt´, ´Kijevskij´, ´Lukjanovskij´, ´Vydubeckij´ are Russian in origin; ´Devin´, ´Olomoucky, ´Ruzynsky´, ´Sokolnicky´, ´Titus´ are from Czechoslovakia and Slovakia; ´Joliko´ and ´Fruchtal´ are Austrian and ‘Ntoulia 1’ and ‘Ntoulia 2’ are Greek.<
There are also partially self-fertile varieties.
Cornus mas has been cultivated commercially for centuries in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Turkey has today an important Cornelian cherry industry.
‘Kasanlaker’ is a large fruited cultivar which is available from nurseries in Western Europe.

I remember on a visit to Scandinavia’s oldest forest garden at Holma in Southern Sweden being shown a large Cornus mas in the centre of  the city Lund on 1st September 2017! Here’s a picture of various forest gardeners harvesting the fruit (the tree was full):

Reference
Oskar M. Szczepaniak, Kobus‑Cisowska, J.,    Kusek, W. and Przeo, M.  2019. Functional properties of Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas L.): a comprehensive review.  European Food Research and Technology. 245:2071–2087

The last blackberries

It’s been a good year for blackberries. I picked the last ones on Saturday. There are many unripe as usual, but it’s too late now for them to ripen. This is from a bush we were given by Scottish friends who lived in Trondheim in the 80s. They had brought the plant with them from Scotland. It grows on the south facing wall of my house. It isn’t hardy and has to be layed on the ground and covered with leaves / spruce branches….not a pleasant job as it’s a thorny variety!

The return of the waxwings

Most of the thrushes were gone today, replaced by a flock of about 120 waxwings (sidensvans), picking up from where the thrushes left off!
The first two videos show waxwings eating apples opened up by fieldfares and blackbirds yesterday and also eating guelder rose (krossved) berries, so far not touching the elderberries (svarthyll).

Earlier in the day, the waxwings were hunting insects on birch trees and occasionally high into the air in pursuit of insects:

…and the morning after, they had discovered the yew berries!

…and on unharvested redcurrants (rips)….with a fieldfare (gråtrost) and brambling (bjørkefink) at the end of the video!

Thrush invasion

Unusually large numbers of thrushes, mainly fieldfare (gråtrost), redwings (rødvingetrost) and a few blackbirds (svarttrost) in the garden at the moment, mainly on the rowans (wild and planted for the birds) and apples (need to harvest earlier than normal this year).
This year is a bumper year for rowans near the fjord, but poor a little inland due probably to frosts which didn’t affect us! Late frost at the time of fruit flowering iis very unusual where I am near the fjord (due to a combination of warmth from the fjord and the fact that there isn’t night at this time!). This has concentrated thrushes near the fjord where the food is!

Thrush invasion

  1. Blackbird on apples

2. Redwing and fieldfares on rowan

3. Fieldfare on rowan (this tree was more or less stripped of berries during the day)

The Last Garden

After 3 years, I’ve finally finished the last cultivated area in the garden on the steep slope below the pond. The soil is very shallow, so I’ve terraced with bare rock showing between the terraces.
I’ve planted mostly fruit and berry bushes here, but also Xanthoxylum piperitum (Japanese pepper), one of which is thornless. There are also 3 types of Jostaberry, two selections of “Green-berried Blackcurrant”, three golden currants (Ribes aureum), three different black raspberries, two Elaeagnus umbellatus, Gooseberry Xenia and a couple of unknown Ribes spp. from Bo Blomqvist and Knut Poulsen!

Sweet chestnuts and the lower part of the Forest Garden

A couple of helpers cleared the sycamores and Norwegian maples that had grown up again along the lane at the bottom of the garden. Now you can once again see some of the other interesting trees and shrubs in this part of the garden, below the composting area:

From left to right: Carya ovata (shagback hickory), Morus alba (mulberry), Cornus kousa, Rhus typhina (stag’s horn sumach) and, above, my ca. 17 year old Juglans mandschurica, which has been producing (small) nuts since 2012!
From left to right: Morus alba (mulberry), Cornus kousa, Rhus typhina (stag’s horn sumach) and, above, my ca. 17 year old Juglans mandschurica, which has been producing (small) nuts since 2012!

At the opening of my garden as a Permaculture LAND centre in the spring, I was given a present of two sweet chestnut trees, a grafted Marigoule tree and a seed propagated Marigoule. Sadly, the grafted tree died but I planted the other tree yesterday next to another sweet chestnut that I think came from a woodland in Southern England in the early 2000s and was planted here in 2008. It has to my great surprise survived even a really cold winter when its roots were frozen solid for almost 4 months and temperatures below -20C:

My oldest sweet chestnut is now 3m tall and growing well after several years stagnating.
Seed propagated Marigoule
Seed propagated Marigoule planted next to my older chestnut (behind)
My Carya ovata (shagback hickory) has grown really slowly. It was a seedling in 2000 and is now about 3m tall, planted here in 2008!

 

 

Bulfinch visit at Apple blossom time

Bullfinches (dompap in Norwegian) have an unique biannual appearance in the garden. They feed from autumn to early spring on natural food and on the bird feeder. Of the natural foods, I’ve seen them feeding on nettle (nesle) seeds, maple seeds (sycamore and Norway maple / platanlønn og spisslønn) as well as buds of plums. They then disappear in March, but return again every year about the time when the apple trees are coming into flower. I presume they are interested in the ripening buds, but have never seen them eating them.  A pair appeared again in the garden two days ago and here are a couple of short films. In the second, you can even here a snatch of bullfinch song. I’ve never heard that in May before, but they do sing weakly in late winter sometimes.
There could hardly be more blossom on the apples this year! Looks like yet another good year.

Yellow Yews in Dublin

 At the Dublin Botanical Gardens, there was a superb collection of mature Yew trees – here are 3 yellow deviants…

All posts from Dublin in 2011
The Vegetable Garden at the National Botanic Garden in Dublin in 2011: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=20530

Berberis and other unusual fruit at the botanics in Dublin: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=20547

Medimental border in Dublin 2011: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=20550

Yellow Yews in Dublin: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=20580

Other edible plants: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=20607