Category Archives: Garden tour

A Cool Windy Planet Experience at Powerscourt

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! My first blog was from Carraig Dulra Permaculture Farm, here:

After Carraig Dulra, the plan was to visit one of Ireland’s great gardens, Powerscourt and to kick off we were to meet  Bruce Johnson (a member of the family that owns the house and gardens). He very kindly treated us to lunch at Powerscourt. As we sat eating lunch, Bruce commented that there weren’t many people around today and we put it down to the storm (Ali; see link below) that had hit Dublin and Wicklow in the night, putting people off travelling. After lunch we  discovered there was another reason when we were told at the  garden entrance that the gardens had been closed because of danger of falling trees and branches after the storm….
What to do? Bruce suggested seeing a video introduction to the amazing story behind the house and gardens including Ireland’s tallest waterfall, the Powerscourt Waterfall at 121m, a 6km walk from the house on the river Dargle (you can see it too here: ).  Briefly: the house was originally a 13th-century castle and was extensively altered during the 18th century by German architect Richard Cassels, starting in 1731 and finishing in 1741. A fire in 1974 left the house lying as a shell until it was renovated in 1996! Originally the family seat of the Viscounts Powerscourt, the estate has been owned by the Slazenger family, founders and former owners of the Slazenger sporting goods company since 1961.

Bruce’s next suggestion was to go do the adjacent Cool Planet Experience, an “interactive climate action experience” for all ages (see Very different from what we had expected when we arrived at Powerscourt, but we had great fun!

Before parting ways with Bruce, we visited a wooded area just outside the main garden and saw the best avenue of monkey puzzle trees I’ve seen in the British Isles!
Thanks again, Bruce!!

Storm Ali :


Jorge’s edible water garden

I’ll always be grateful to my friend Jorge Carona as without him I would never have been invited to Portugal. The story of how we met is told here:

Sintra Foraging with Fernanda Botelho

He was also instrumental in suggesting that the Ecoaldeia de Janas should invite me to give a course! Added to that, he did almost all the driving on my trip. I also spent two nights at his house on the hills in Calhandriz above Alverca near Lisbon and was able to see his edible water gardens for the first time! So here are a few pictures of the garden, sadly neglected as Jorge wasn’t living here for some time! He has a large water tank under an outhouse to supply the water for this project! The pond is an oasis for wildlife in the dry countryside which has been suffering from drought for several years! Many thanks, Jorge!
Other edible water plants in the pond: Bacopa, Acorus, Oenanthe, Houttuynia, Aponogeton and watercress. Elsewhere in the garden, Jorge has planted apples, pears, orange, plums,fig and edible bamboos! A great little garden!

Freixo de Cima

On the afternoon of my arrival at Freixo do Meio (see previous posts and also, Jorge Carona and I were loaned an electric vehicle to explore the farm. Jorge proposed we go over to a property within the main farm practicing regenerative agriculture using keyline design.
Catarina Joaquim and Carlos Simões have designed and established this impressive garden (see
and we were lucky to find them at home and they gave us a quick tour of this productive green lung despite the dry and hot summer.
Carlos is also involved in the Portugese seed saver organisation Colher Para Semear (Harvest to Sow); see

Edible plants in the Orto Botanico Padua

On a work trip to Italy on 4th April 2009 I took the opportunity to visit Orto Botanico in Padua.  Founded in 1545 by the Venetian Republic, it is the world’s oldest academic botanical garden that is still in its original location! Here’s an album of pictures of mostly edible plants I took that day!

Carraig Dulra permaculture farm

Finally, a post from my 3 days non-stop tour of Wicklow gardens, thanks to Orlaith Murphy. The first stop was Suzie Cahn’s Carraig Dulra Permaculture Farm. The abundance developing here on this hillside site which most would probably be categorized as marginal land reminded me of Mandy Barber‘s Incredible Edible site on previous sheep pasture in Devon!
It’s been a hard year due to the very unusual drought since April until recently. Nevertheless, the deep rooting collection of heirloom apples had produced well! We were there on a blustery day after Storm Ali had battered Ireland that night!

The Teeny Weeny Farm

It’s only taken me two years to blog about the garden at Teeny Weeny Farm, a permaculture inspired market garden in the teeny village of Dyke in Morayshire in North East Scotland, not far from Findhorn!
Today FB told me my visit was already two years ago…so I decided to do something about it. The garden was relatively young when I visited but packed with interesting plants intermingled with plants being grown by Kirsty Reid for her cut flower business (many are edimentals!). I was told that her partner permaculturist Chris Johnstone was in charge of the fruit trees and berry bushes!

From my talk at Teeny Weeny Farm with a load of Findhorn luminaries!
Earhways and Ludwig Appeltans (now on the Isle of Skye)
Findhorn’s Forest Garden
Bike ride to Findhorn
Craige Gibsone at Findhorn

Climate Festival garden tour 2018

I’ll once again be inviting Trondheim Climate Festival (Klimafestivalen i Trondheim) to hear about and witness climate friendly vegetable growing in my garden this Thursday (6th September)…tickets are still available via

The last two years, both garden tours sold out, so be quick! Here’s a picture from last year’s event:

Visiting McMillion’s acres!

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
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!!

Ringebu Prestegård

I travelled yesterday from the PDC course at Hurdal Prestegård (rectory) to another rectory in Ringebu in the Gudbrandsdalen about 3 hours north by train! I was invited by KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) member Halldis Myhre Tvete to give a talk on perennial vegetables and edimentals to the gardening group (hagegruppa på Ringebu Prestegården)!
I was very impressed by the garden which the largely voluntary gardening group have created since 2006 from an overgrown garden with just a few original plants such as the Ringebu rose!
Most of the plants are Norwegian heritage plants, including a large collection of historical roses, berry and fruit trees, hops, Dahlias and herbs!
The view from the garden is also spectacular looking down and north along the green glacial river (Gudbrandslågen) and the neighbouring Ringebu Stave Church!

30 years in Norway salad

7 years ago (11th August 2011)  and 40-50 people from the Trondheim Useful Plants Society (Nyttevekstforeningen) turned up for a walk and talk in my garden, including two journalists. Bente Haarstads pictures can be seen here: 
Bjørg Hernes from local paper Malvikbladet wrote an article about the event which included a salad made with (only) 30 edibles to commemorate my 30 year anniversary of veggie growing in Malvik!
This was also the event when Saideh, originally from Iran surprised us all telling us that she ate naturalised invasive Tromsøpalme (Heracleum persicum)  collected in the centre of Trondheim…this encounter was later related in my book and Saideh kindly provided recipes!

Below the pictures is a list of ingredients!

Malvikbladet (local newspaper)          

List of ingredients:

  1. Adenophora Ex- Amethyst (blomst);Ladybells;
  2. Aegopodium podagraria;Ground Elder;Skvallerkål
  3. Agastache anisata (blomst);Anise Hyssop;Anisisop
  4. Agastache anisata alba (blomst);Anise Hyssop;Anisisop
  5. Allium cepa #1;Salad Onion;Vårløk
  6. Allium cepa #2;Salad Onion;Vårløk
  7. Allium fistulosum “Svenskelauk”;Welsh Onion;Pipeløk
  8. Allium fistulosum #1;Salad Onion;Vårløk
  9. Allium fistulosum #2;Salad Onion;Vårløk
  10. Allium flavum (blomst);Small Yellow Onion;Doggløk
  11. Allium nutans “Lena” (Slizun) ;Blue Chives;Sibirsk nikkeløk
  12. Anthriscus cerefolium;Chervil;Kjørvel
  13. Apium graveolens #1;Celery;Selleri
  14. Apium graveolens #2;Celery;Selleri
  15. Artemisia dracunculus sativa;French Tarragon;Fransk estragon
  16. Atriplex hortensis rubra;Orach;Rød hagemelde
  17. Borago officinalis (blomst); Borage;Agurkurt
  18. Borago officinalis alba (blomst); Borage;Agurkurt
  19. Brassica oleracea var sabellica;Kale;Grønnkål
  20. Calendula officinalis (blomst);Pot Marigold;Ringblomst
  21. Chenopodium album “Magenta”;Lamb’s Quarters;Meldestokk
  22. Cichorium intybus #1;Chicory;Sikkori
  23. Cichorium intybus #2;Chicory;Sikkori
  24. Cichorium intybus (blomst);Chicory;Sikkori
  25. Commelina coelestis (blomst);Blue Spider Wort;Knollhimmelblomst/Dagblomst
  26. Commelina coelestis alba (blomst);Blue Spider Wort;Knollhimmelblomst/Dagblomst
  27. Cryptotaenia japonica atropurpurea;Mitsuba; Japanese Parsley;Mitsuba; Japansk Persille
  28. Cucurbita pepo pepo (blomst);Courgette/Zucchini;Zucchini/ Squash
  29. Daucus carota #1;Wild Carrot;Gulrot
  30. Daucus carota #2;Wild Carrot;Gulrot
  31. Diplotaxis tenuifolia;Perennial Wall Rocket;Steinsennep/Flerårige Rucola
  32. Fedia cornucopiae;African Valerian;Afrikanskvendelrot
  33. Hablitzia tamnoides;Hablitzia;Stjernemelde; Kaukasisk Spinat
  34. Hemerocallis #1 (blomst);Day Lily;Daglilje
  35. Hemerocallis #2 (blomst);Day Lily;Daglilje
  36. Hosta ventricosa (blomst);Hosta ;Bladlilje/Hosta
  37. Impatiens glandulifera (frø);Jewelweed/Himalayan Balsam;Prydspringfrø
  38. Lactuca sativa #1;Lettuce; Salat
  39. Lactuca sativa #2;Lettuce; Salat
  40. Lactuca sativa #3;Lettuce; Salat
  41. Lycopersicon esculentum ; Tomato;Tomat
  42. Malva crispa;Salad Mallow;Kruskattost
  43. Malva moschata;Musk Mallow;Moskuskattost
  44. Malva moschata alba;Musk Mallow;Moskuskattost
  45. Malva sylvestris mauritanica;Common Mallow;Apotekerkattost
  46. Mentha aquatica (blomst);Water Mint;Vassmynte
  47. Monarda didyma “Adam” (blomst);Bee Balm, Bergamot,Oswego Tea;Vanlig hestemynte; Etasjeblomst
  48. Nasturtium officinale;Watercress;Grønn engelskkarse
  49. Petroselinum crispum;Parsley;Persille
  50. Phaseolus vulgaris;Bush Bean;Hagebønne
  51. Pisum sativum “Purple Podded”;Pea;Hage/Sukkerert
  52. Pisum sativum #4;Pea;Hage/Sukkerert
  53. Pisum sativum #5;Pea;Hage/Sukkerert
  54. Pisum sativum “Golden Sweet” ;Pea;Hage/Sukkerert
  55. Pisum sativum “Sugar Snap” ;Pea;Hage/Sukkerert
  56. Raphanus sativus (umodne frøkapsler);Radish;Reddik
  57. Rubus idaeus #1;Raspberry;Gulbringebær
  58. Rubus idaeus #2;Raspberry;Gulbringebær
  59. Rubus idaeus “Aprikos”;Raspberry;Gulbringebær
  60. Rubus idaeus “Gul”;Raspberry;Gulbringebær
  61. Rumex acetosa ;Sorrel;Engsyre
  62. Rumex scutatus;Buckler-leaved Sorrel;Fransksyre
  63. Sonchus oleraceus;Common Sow-Thistle;Haredylle
  64. Talinum paniculatum;Pink baby-breath;
  65. Taraxacum pseudoroseum;;Rosaløvetann
  66. Taraxacum variegatum ;Variegated Dandelion ;Broketbladet løvetann
  67. Tropaeolum majus (blomst);Nasturtium;Vanlig blomkarse
  68. Valerianella locusta ;Cornsalad; Lamb’s Lettuce;Vårsalat
  69. Vicia faba;Broad Beans;Bondebønne


46 botaniske arter; 69 sorter