Sea Kale Yard on the Solent

After my visit to Tim Phillips’ walled garden vineyard (see, I was very happy that Susan Campbell found time in a busy schedule to meet and she drove me to her and husband Mike Kleyn’s home and garden on the Solent… sadly, Mike was travelling on the other side of the world visiting family… :(
Susan is the co-founder, in 2001, of the Walled Kitchen Garden Network and began researching the history of walled kitchen gardens in 1981 (the same year that I moved to Norway, so I know it’s an awful long time!). She has personally visited and photographed over 600 walled kitchen gardens in the UK and abroad, making her a foremost authority on the subject. I met her as she had come across my book and on the strength of it invited me over from Norway to give a couple of talks at the Walled Kitchen Garden Network Forum at Croome (see You can read more about this network here:
However, the main reason for my visit was to see first hand Susan’s sea kale yard, the only operation I’m aware of that delivers seakale commercially in the UK, despite sea kale being for me the most English of all vegetables and for some the King of vegetables! See also my blog post about visiting the Curtis Museum in Alton, coming soon!

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 ;)

Extreme salad report in Canadian Gardening

After I made my extremest salad in 2003 with 537 ingredients, I sent a press release to various Norwegian and other magazines. The only one that published an article was an article written by Lena Israelsson in a Swedish magazine, at least that’s what I remembered until I found this article when clearing my office in, fittingly (as I’ve just returned from there), Canadian Gardening under the title Hortus Trivialus (salad bar none) ;)


Naturalised Allium victorialis in Hardanger, Norway

In June 2009, I was shown the only naturalised stand of victory onion (Allium victorialis) in south western Norway (away from Lofoten Islands – Vestvågøy – and Bodø area where there are several large populations).  It’s found in a damp wood (which regularly floods in spring) along the Granvinselven. Please refer to my book Around the World in 80 plants for more information about this fantastic onion!! This onion can grow both in shady and full sun localities:

In a local garden



Taraxocks ;)

These were what were waiting in my post box this morning and I’ve been wearing a stupid grin ever since ;) ;) :)
Someone who was at my talk at the Hurdal Ecovillage earlier this year had been inspired enough to knit these wonderful socks for me!!
She wrote: “As you clearly already have green fingers, I thought it would probably be fun for you to have green toes and feet too!!”
Probably inspired by a cross of my Aster scaber story:
…and my moss-leaved dandelion T-shirt story…