Category Archives: Garden tour


I was very pleased to be invited to give a talk organised by the Curtis Museum in Alton, Hampshire, UK, not far from where I grew up in Eastleigh, Hants.

In my book I introduce the Hampshire towns of Alresford (watercress), Selborne (Gilbert White and sea kale) and Alton as the “Hampshire perennial vegetable triangle” or the UK hotspot of perennial vegetable domestication. Alton is included as the home of botanist William Curtis, who was Praefectus Horti at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London in the 1770s. He was also a friend of Gilbert White! He wrote a pamphlet, ‘Directions for the culture of the Crambe maritima or Sea Kale, for the use of the Table’ in 1799 to bolster efforts in introducing it as a market vegetable.
See the album of pictures from a wander around Alton with Sheila John of the Curtis museum, edimentals tour of the Allen Gallery garden and later talk there! See the album below!
Other related posts:

Directions for the culture of Sea Kale (1799)

The Hampshire Perennial Vegetable Triangle

Lecture at the Hillier Gardens

Hampshire’s Watercress Line

Edimental spotting in the Oxford Botanical Garden

I finished my last day of work as an oceanographer by visiting head office in Wallingford, UK. We were finished by lunchtime, so I visited the University of Oxford Botanical Garden nearby, the oldest botanical garden established in 1621 as a garden of medicinal plants. Here’s an album of edimentals I found during my short visit!

The Hampshire Walled Vineyard

Late April 2017 and I finally got round to visit some folks in South Hampshire who I’d met at the Walled Kitchen Garden Forum weekend at Croome in 2015! I love enthusiastic people who are willing to take risks…Tim Phillips is one of these…in his own words “His once abandoned 19th century kitchen garden in Hampshire provides a fantastic environment for…Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc vines. The combination of gravel soils, Lymington’s maritime climate and the thermal properties of the walls offer a unique vine-growing opportunity from which both still and sparkling wines are crafted”.. (see
On the day of my visit, Tim had been up all night keeping his vines from freezing by burning wood fires in the vineyard….this strategy seems to have saved the crop from a complete failure of the 2017 vintage :) This problem wasn’t restricted to England but also famous wine growing areas in France:
I look forward to returning in a few years to view you sea kale production areas ;)

Kamouraska and La société des plantes

Thank you to Charles “Mr. Accordion Pissenlit” Frandelion for asking me over to Saint-Pascal (in the Kamouraska municipality) east of Quebec City and entertaining me with a great day enjoying the nature of his area and visiting the headquarters of La société des plantes, run by the legendary Patrice Fortier​ (, where he works! Patrice was sadly in Italy…we will meet next time!

Visit from Stjärnsund

Lovely overnight visit and little garden tour with co-author of Fleråriga grönsakerwith Philipp Weiss (Swedish Perennial Vegetables) Annevi Sjöberg with her Carlo and my new friend little Albie :)
I don’t think this will be the last visit with Malvik being on the way between Dalarna in Sweden and the surfing beaches on the west coast ;) with Carlo and Albie in my winter Forest Garden…look forward to the summer picture :)
…and I came home to this farewell, it must be the edible house on the hill ;)

A visit to Riverton in March 2015!

At the end of March 2015, I visited the small town of Riverton (Maori: Aparima) (population 1,430) in New Zealand to give a talk at the Riverton Heritage Harvest Festival!  The invite to give a talk had come about by way of my friend Steve Hart who I had met at the European Permaculture Convergence in Bulgaria. Steve (who is from NZ) and his lovely lady Martina had moved to NZ  that same summer and when I contacted them for suggestions for places to visit / talk, Steve was quick to recommended me to the organisers of the Riverton festival which coincided with my visit! A second contact, Jutta (now Jane) Meiforth who headed the local permaculture group here in Trondheim but who had also moved recently to NZ, wrote to me:   “….you should try to visit the food forest belonging to Robert and Robyn Guyton:”  The video above convinced me that this event was essential on my tour of NZ (the Guytons were also central organisers of the festival!)

I’d been meaning to post something about my visit to the Guyton’s forest garden and the festival for a long time. What inspired me to do this was a fantastic new video of the Guytons’ food forest which my friend Peat Miller Moss ( a Kiwi who has strong Norwegian connections!). See

If you watch the two videos above you will understand why I think (and hope) that one day Riverton and the Guytons will be recognised as one of the main global origins of the evolution of the New World diversified Perma-order! It really is an inspiring place, particularly as it started as degraded land, and the Guytons have inspired many New Zealand gardeners to plant food forests and, I’m told, have inspired folks to settle in Riverton, resulting in a hike in house prices! Nevertheless, there’s no mention of the Guytons and these  very important developments on the town’s wikipedia page!

Below are 3 galleries of my own pictures from my visit to Riverton.  The first gallery shows pictures from the food forest…unfortunately my best camera failed and it was getting dark and not the best time to visit being autumn….so these pictures don’t really do the place credit!

The gallery below has been posted before (FB: and shows the great display of heirloom potatoes, apples and tomatoes at the Festival! See
It includes various Maori potatoes (

Finally, a gallery of other pictures taken at the festival which was held at the Aparima College Hall in Riverton

After the festival was a great Pot luck Traditional Heritage Feast on the Saturday night! I remember teaching how to fold your own traditional seed packet sometime that evening. The following link shows how!
I learned this some 30 years ago from my gardening friend Marie Gaden (now 86) who told me she had learned the technique from an old lady! Here’s one of Marie’s seed packets photographed on her table 2 years ago!
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Earth Ways and Ludwig Appeltans

Ludwig Appeltans and Suzanne de Waard of Earth Ways turned out to be fairly close neighbours to Teeny Weeny Farm in Forres where I was staying in September 2016. I’d followed Ludwig on Facebook for some time and was therefore happy to be invited over to see their place! It became clear that their hearts weren’t fully into their piece of land due to “circumstances” and that they were looking for somewhere new to really develop their ideas and run permaculture courses. It turned out that they had a secret as plans were already advanced and a few weeks later they would be moving to the Rubha Phoil Forest Gardens, on Skye (Armadale within walking distance of the Mallaig ferry!), a big loss for Forres….. I wish them good luck and hope to visit them there in the next couple of years (I have a special relationship with Skye and the Inner Hebrides from the time I lived in Scotland)!
I wish I’d taken notes on the day as I’ve forgotten some of the details…hopefully Ludwig Appeltans will add some comments to the pictures
Read more about Earth Ways here: