Letter from the Prince

It’s not every day one finds a letter from Prince Charles in the mailbox :) I met two of the gardeners at Highgrove after my talk at Croome earlier this month and decided to ask them if they could pass on a copy of my book to the Prince! This is because I mention him and Highgrove in my Around the World talks as having the most productive edible Forest Garden in the UK – through his national collection of large leaved Hostas! Below is the letter and the slide from my talk where I talk about the Forest Garden at Highgrove!

Here’s my original article on edible Hostas in Permaculture Magazine where I mention the Prince!



Potato diversity

Just 4 years ago, I was growing over 20 different potatoes as in this picture. Since then, I’ve cut down significantly mainly due to the fact that many varieties are now difficult to grow due to blight, hardly a problem in the past :(
Row 1 (from top) Kefermarkt Rose, Negresse, Ås, Troll, King George, Raude fra Skjåk (which has been shown to be genetically identical to King Edward), British Queen, King Edward
Row 2: Blå Kongo, Rocket, Russepotet, Sava, Kampion, Yellow Finn, Arran Victory
Row 3: Beate, Danva, Pimpernell, Solanum tuberosum ssp andigena, Shetland Blue Eye, Truls

Stampede=Dayneutral=Dwarf Sunray=Bianca

Stampede is a North American Jerusalem Artichoke variety , the name alluding to the fact that it is fast growing . Here’s the description in Cornucopia II.





Stampede still in flower on 24th October 2015

















I first grew a variety called Dagnøytral (Dayneutral) which was long recognised as the best variety here in Norway as, unlike other varieties, it produces good yields in our long days (hence the name). I was later given  a variety from Sweden called Bianca (Bianka). introduced to Scandinavia from Russia in the 1970s by a well known Swedish veggie gardener here called Ake Truedsson. They were for me identical, flowering at the same time and morphologically difficult to tell apart, both with knobbly tubers. Next I got Dwarf Sunray from Danish Seed Savers (in 2004) and that also developed to an identical plant  :)

Reading the description of Stampede in Cornucopia II (picture), I began to wonder if all originated from / were identical to that Native American variety, so I asked on the Homegrown Goodness forum if anyone could send me a tuber. In December 2008 I received 3 tubers from Bunkie Weir in the US and, guess what, the flower buds of the Russian, Canadian and Norwegian plants emerged in perfect synchronicity!

According to Truedsson, Bianka is a widespread variety in Russia, perhaps taken there by Vavilov? Not surprising really that such a superior variety (yieldwise at least) should have spread around the world!



Berries 17th October 2015

Sambucus nigra cultivars “Samyl” and “Samnor” – Ripe elderberries were impossible here until these new Danish cultivars arrived…ripe even in a bad summer!

Otherwise: Aralia cordata (Udo) and Aralia californica berries ready to harvest for trading seed…..

Sambucus nigra “Samyl”
Aralia cordata, Udo
Aralia californica
Sambucus nigra “Samnor”
Aralia cordata has collapsed under its own weight next to Ostrich Fern