It seems as though it’s a good life being a botanist. It was my second day at work today and it ended at 2:30 in the afternoon with bubbly and double helix clipping ;)
Accessions go back as far as Bishop Gunnerus in the 1760s.
I contributed this quiche for the Thanksgiving dinner in Hurdal, you might be able to see the word “Takk” (Thanks) written in seeds; T – alpine bistort / harerug bulbils (brown) and AKK – dark poppy seeds; with 100% coarse whole grain emmer wheat / naked barley / rye pastry, with swiss chard, chicory, spring onions, onion, garlic, chantarelle, chili, blue cheese, 5 tomatoes, Begonia and common mallow flowers +++
One of my favourite multi-purpose vegetables and one of my first unusual vegetables that I grew in my garden in the 80s was burdock or borre, more specifically various Japanese cultivars of Arctium lappa, hardly used in Europe and North America apart from a few foragers, even though it’s a common wild plant and hardy. Although it is best known as a root vegetable, there are varieties bred for their leaf petioles and the flower stems are really delicious! If you add to this that the seeds are foraged by various birds like goldfinches and greenfinches in winter in addition to being impressive photogenic plants which tolerated shady conditions, no permaculture garden should be without them!
In the album below are pictures I’ve taken over the years, in my garden, in botanical gardens and in the wild. There follows links to various blog posts about burdock!
This album was first published on FB in June 2012, now “regurgitated” here:
“What for dinner? “Burdock flower stalk, nettle and the onion that nods curry” sounds interesting, so why not. So it was to be… I had completely missed this amazing vegetable and this experiment was prompted by foraging author Leda Meredith waxing eloquent about it a few days ago, so thanks to her. How did I miss it? Well, Cornucopia II doesn’t mention this part being eaten, just the leaf stalks – I’d tried them and they were fiddly to peel and bitter. The flower stalks were easy to prepare and once peeled had an excellent sweet crunchy taste with no bitterness.”
I always dreamed of working in a botanical garden and somehow my wish has come true only 7 months after retiring from job as an ocean wave climatologist!
Even better, I can come and go as I wish (more or less)…I now have an office where I will be able to document and tend (in summer) my onion garden, as visiting researcher :)
…and the staff are lovely people too :)
090118: Wren foraging and joined by a second bird120118: It’s quite a few years I’ve seen two-barred crossbill (båndkorsnebb), but then I’ve never deliberately sought them out at Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim which, because of its collection of conifers, is one of the best places to see this species, the less common of the 3 crossbills here…only one female with a single common or parrot crossbill…
090118: Wrens (gjerdesmett):
120118: What are these redpolls (gråsisik) feeding on?:
A small number of goldfinches spend their winter holiday in the lowlands around Trondheimsfjord, a very good choice I would say! I’ve never seen them in summer here . I heard the characteristic twittering flight call this morning for the first time this winter and then saw 4 of them this afternoon on burdock (borre) seed heads next to my outhouse (see the two videos below). Goldfinches have long and thin bills allowing them to extract seeds from burdock, other thistles, sunflowers and teasel /kardeborre (Dipsacus), although they have never shown any interest in the teasel I’ve grown for them.
You can read how my growing burdock as a vegetable attracted them to my garden , at that time a rare bird in this area: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=8810
The map below shows the concentration of sightings of flocks of goldfinches in Malvik in my garden and elsewhere nearby from Malvik to Midtsandan, on the southern shores of the fjord (only flocks of more than 20 birds are plotted).
The last 2-3 days I’ve been working hard to harvest and bring in less hardy plants from the garden as it was forecast to be maximum -6C tomorrow, 21st November, the first seriously heavy all day frost! Here’s a tour in pictures of my storage rooms…there are 4 full size rooms in the cellar with concrete floor. In winter, the temperature is typically 2-5C, perfect for storing plants!
..and yes my good intentions to reduce the amount of plants I look after has failed miserably..
211117: Added pictures of other rooms in the house used to overwinter plants
I love chicories, a huge diversity of vegetable and wild forms, some perennial, hearting types, dandelion like types, various colour forms often like this one splashed with colour, varieties used as root vegetables, coffee surrogate types, forms for winter forcing, hardy, tasty, healthy, beautiful when flowering (both white, red, blue and pink forms are available) and there are no pests or diseases here…what isn’t there to like about them?
I harvested them for storing in my cold cellar and forcing later on in the season. This one was used in an Indian curry with barley “rice”.
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden