Category Archives: Garden tour

Valbjør Gård and Nordigard Aukrust!

On 1st June, I gave a talk at one of Norway’s oldest herb farms, Nordigard Aukrust, run organically by Ola Aukrust since the 1980s.  This was my first visit although I’d known of Ola’s work for many years! See the pictures below, including a few Alliums in the beautiful herb garden (immediately below is a summer shot taken from a local tourist page!)

On the bus from the train at Otta to Lom the evening before, I noticed a sign to Valbjør Farm, which my friend and Norwegian Seed Saver (KVANN) Andrew McMillion had visited in 2015. During the visit he had found Allium fistulosum growing on one of the turf roofs and had been given a few onions which he has since shared through KVANN’s Year Book. 10 years ago, I had been on a tour of nearby onion turf roofs near Otta and Vågå (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=14436). I had heard that there were also onions at Valbjør but hadn’t yet been there. It turned out that the woman who offered to give me a lift from the course at Lom back to Otta, had been at one of my talks some years ago in Heidal. I asked her if we could see Valbjør up on the hills from the main road and told her about the onion roof!  Even better, she said, we’ll make a detour to the place.

Valbjør Gård (picture from Andrew McMillion)

So, it came to pass that we spent 45 minutes or so at the farm and met the long-term organic farmer, Kai Valbjør, who had run the farm organically since the 1980s and, it turned out, was one of the open organic gardens in the national Norwegian organic network which we and Nordigard Aukrust were part of!!  It’s all interconnected!! There was also an overgrown herb garden. Valbjør Farm comprises 13 restored buildings from the 17th, 18th and 19th century and is protected by law. A young couple, Ola og Kjerstin Kaurstad, had bought the farm last year and, in particular, Kjerstin was very interested to learn more about the herbs that had survived, despite the neglect. We spent some time looking for herbs and I took a few with me, in case they turn out to be old! There were a few more surprises, see the album at the bottom of this page!

Where did the Valbjør onions come from?
It turned out that the roof onions at Valbjør had not been there for long and had come from another location.  Initial information was that they came from Sve Farm (which I had visited and already had onions in the national onion collection at the Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim. Kai Valbjør told that Andrew that they had been given them from herbalist Adi Bertoli at Sjoa. Adi was not sure that it was she who had given the onions to Valbjør, but her roof onions came from seed she was given by botanist Hans Shwenke in Otta (who had been on the tour of roof onion locations 10 years previously). Adi remembered that Hans had his onions from a place called Steberløkken in Kvam. Hans confirmed that the farm was probably called Næsset.

Nordigard Aukrust and Lom:

 

Beredskapshagen (Preparedness Garden) i Valdres

Følgende artikkel ble først publisert i KVANNs Nyhetsbrev #9 fra desember 2018 .

English: An article about Anders Nordrum’s Beredskapshagen (Preparedness-garden) in the Norwegian mountains in Valdres (see also Anders’ Norwegian blog datsja.no), first published in Norwegian Seed Savers’ (KVANN) Newsletter in December 2018.

Beredskapshagen

Som jeg har nevnt tidligere har gartnerlærer (fra Gjennestad) Anders Nordrum i Valdres sammen med Torstein Jæger Dalen (en pensjonert hvitløks dyrker på hele 1050 moh også i Valdres!) sagt seg villig til å lede KVANNs hvitløk-laug, noe vi er svært glad for! Anders er den mest kunnskapsrik grønnsaksdyrker jeg har møtt de siste årene. I forbindelse med at jeg holdt foredrag hos Valdres Sopp og nyttevekstforening tidlig i august 2017 på Vaset var det flere som snakket varmt om Anders og hans engasjement og ikke minst en spesiell hvitløk som han og Barbro fikk fra en hviterussisk munk tidlig på 2000-tallet. Hvitløken viste seg å være svært robust og ga gode avlinger hos Anders og Barbro, de begynte å dele den med andre og med forsker-gener satt han i gang på eget hånd å lære mer om hvor i Norge denne sorten kunne dyrkes og, lokalt, a sammenligne dyrking i forskjellige høyder! Til dette formålet startet Anders opp en FB gruppe «En hvitløks vandring høyt og lavt i Norge» (se https://www.facebook.com/groups/126595354640631). Jeg elsker en god plantehistorie og hadde lyst til å besøke Anders, men han var dessverre ikke hjemme den helgen jeg var i Valdres. Anders har også en spennende blogg DATSJA (https://www.datsja.no) med undertittelen «Fra jord der du bor: Kjøkkenhagen som matvareberedskap». På en Russisk datsja (kolonihage) lærte man av hverandre hvordan man kunne få mest mulig ut av hver kvadratmeter jord, og hvordan man best  kunne lagre, tilberede og konservere markens og naturens grøde…og det samme kan sies om Anders sin DATSJA! Barbro og Anders mener at matvareberedskap i Norge er skremmende dårlig og gjennom DATSJA ville de prøver å hjelpe folk til selv-hjelp gjennom bloggen og andre tiltak! Nå har de kommet med i et NRK TV program:  https://tv.nrk.no/serie/innafor/2018/MDDP12100318 (fra ca. 14:30)

Etter mitt besøk i Valdres reiste jeg videre til Voss hvor styremedlem Eirik Lillebøe Wiken hadde arrangert et besøk hos et av de siste gårdene som dyrker Vossakvann, Olde i Bordalen (Eirik Lillebøe Wiken). Etter det var vi Hardanger for det årlige Perennialen (nr 3 i rekke) hvor vi besøkte Alvastien Permakultur LAND senter, Baroniet Rosendal og Hardanger Akademiet i Jondal, hvor årets Nordisk Permakulturfestivalen ble arrangert! Etter Perennialen skulle Eirik og jeg reiser til Hurdal (KVANN styremøtet!). Jeg kom på ideen at vi kunne kanskje besøke beredskapshagen i Valdres på veien…og, ja, Barbro og Anders var hjemme og hadde lyst til å vise oss hagen der de bor (nær Fagernes) ved 400 moh og også, om vi hadde tid, et annet felt på stølen hvor han også hadde plantet hvitløk (og potet). Ja takk svarte vi! Beredskapshagen var stappfull av fantastiske grønnsaker som var gjødslet av neslevann fra planter samlet fra skogskantene i nærheten…her var det virkelig kortreist mat! Etterpå var vi en tur opp til stølen og her har Anders oppdaget at hvitløk trives veldig godt!

Men, høydepunktet for meg var feltet av hvitløk med potet på stølen på nær 960 moh! Jeg skrev følgende etter besøket «Jeg var imponert over de høytliggende hvitløkplantene i Valdres, men dette er med å bekrefte det jeg har sagt under alle mine foredrag de siste årene at jeg mener at vi kunne dyrke mye mer mat i Nord-Norge og fjellbygdene ved å bruke flerårige grønnsaker…de kommer raskt igang på våren og utnytter sesongen optimalt…!»….det er bare å se hvor godt rabarbra og kvann vokser i god jord på fjellet! Både hvitløk og potet er egentlig flerårige i at vi ikke starter fra frø hvert år. Flere av oss i KVANN ønske å etablere forsøksfelt for en rekke andre flerårige grønnsaker i fjellet og arktiske strøk og stølen til Anders kan bli et av dem! Vi diskuterer også å organisere dette i et Fjell-laug! Jeg satt hvitløken fra Hviterussland for første gang i høst!

Det er ikke bare hvitløk og datsja kulturen i Russland Anders henter inspirasjon fra. Han har også kommet i kontakt med flere av våre nye landsmenn som har tatt med seg spennende planter og teknikker, noe han også blogger om!

Figur 8 Besøk på beredskaphagen til Barbro og Anders i Valdres med skogshage gartneren Eirik.

Figur 9 Hvitløk og potet på stølen i nær 960 moh i Valdres!

Edibles in Dunedin Botanics

At long last,  an album of pictures of edible plants spotted in the Dunedin Botanic Garden during my late summer visit on 26th March 2015, as part of a lecture tour of New Zealand. See the photo captions for more information!

Wisley Gardens March 2019

An album of pictures from my visit to RHS Wisley Gardens on 11th March 2019  just outside of London, one of my favourite gardens for edimental spotting which I’ve visited many times over the years. I’ve added comments of edibility to most pictures!

 

 

Kim Tyner’s wonderful “permaculture” garden in Wicklow!

Continuing my tour of Wicklow gardens which Orlaith Murphy had arranged for me! After a great lunch at Wendy Nairn’s house I was unprepared for the amazing garden that awaited me next: Kim and Angus Tyner’s Honeyoak garden! WOW! Kim is a wonderful plantswoman and Angus is equally passionate about wildlife, in particular the incredible diversity of moths in Wicklow and won an award for his work on registering wildlife diversity (http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/record-biodiversity/distinguished-recorders/distinguished-recorder-2013). He also runs  his own local weather station! Observation!
I arrived 20 years after Kim and Angus took over the land! They had their priorities right right from the start and they started their vegetable patch before building the house! Today, the couple are almost sufficient in vegetables and fruit and there are two polytunnels in addition to the large wild looking diverse veggie garden  which integrates a number of perennials and  herbs. For me, the garden could have been inspired by permaculture as many of its techniques have been employed. Kim hand digs, uses mulches, saves seed, the house is powered by solar panels and a wood-fired range, and as much as possible is sourced locally. They also have hens, bees and a cow, so no longer totally vegetarian as they were for 20 years (doing it yourself is clearly very important here!).  The garden is still evolving with new beds being planted, nut trees and many edimentals in the ornamental beds. There is diversity everywhere, this is clearly a fantastic oasis for wildlife and the large pond they created has even been visited by an otter. It was a dull wet day, so I hope my pictures do justice to this inspirational garden! Oh and I was very “habby” to see one of my babies in the garden, the Caucasian spinach (Hablitzia tamnoides) :)
See more at

http://honey-oak.blogspot.com https://www.facebook.com/HoneyoakGarden

Wendy Nairn’s for lunch!

After visiting the Kilmacurragh botanical garden (http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=20724), my next visit in Wicklow, Ireland was to one of the founders of the organic movement in Ireland now with over 30 years of experience and she  had invited us to a wonderful vegetarian lunch with local greens at her house! Wendy Nairn is passionate about producing fresh nutritious vegetables using sustainable wildlife friendly methods and her garden was full of interesting plants and is certainly a haven for wildlife! Shame about the weather as all the wildlife was hiding and we didn’t stay outside for long either! Kim Tyner, whose garden Honeyoak was to be our next stop joined us!
Before lunch, we visited Wendy’s daughter Hazel and her partner Davi’s new organic market farm in nearby Ashford (https://www.facebook.com/HazelandDavisWicklowFarm), reminding me of Mandy Barber’s IncredibleEdibles in Devon, both on what was sheep pasture!

 

Visit to the Kilmacurragh Botanical Garden in 2018

Back in September again and I was in Ireland and my friend Orlaith Murphy had set up a diverse tour of great local gardens for me! Day two, we visited the National Botanical Gardens in Kilmacurragh which is still undergoing restoration after being taken over by the main botanical gardens in Dublin in 1996! There’s been a garden here for a long time and you can read more of its history here:
http://botanicgardens.ie/kilmacurragh and its monumental trees here:  https://www.monumentaltrees.com/en/irl/leinster/wicklow/2531_kilmacurragharboretum

As usual, most of the pictures are of useful and unusual edible plants discovered on our visit! See also the two videos at the bottom!

Back in 2011, I visited the main botanical garden in Dublin and here are a series of blogs from then:

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

 

Other edible plants in the Dublin Botanical Gardens in 2011

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 an album of pictures of mostly edible plants spotted during my day in this wonderful garden!

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

Medimental border in Dublin 2011

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! I found this border composed of medicinal and edible ornamentals…a medimental border…

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