Perennial veg pakora

Pakora or bhaji is a popular snack in Indian and surrounding countries. Growing up in the UK, vegetarian Indian food has always been part of my diet since I was a student. It is basically various vegetables dipped into a batter made from gram (chick pea) flour and stir-fried. It would be fun to use broad bean flour as we can’t grow chick peas here. The flour was mixed with water, salt and pepper, chili, cumin and coriander until you get a batter with the consistency of cream.
The pictures show the 15 perennials I used (2 types of dandelion) and the final delicious and simple veggie dinner served with sour cream (or yoghurt), Most of the plants are forest garden species.

Extreme Salad Man at Mount Stewart events this summer

I’m appearing at two events at National Trust property Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland this summer. I’ll be doing talks and walks and talks at both events

9th June:  BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time Summer Garden Party (see also

22nd and 23rd September: Planter’s Seminar (with Bob Flowerdew and Ken Cox)

See the  flyer below, more details to come :)

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Oslo Botanical Garden, Tøyen, spring edibles

On a break in my journey from Trondheim to Hvaler I had a few hours edible-spotting in the Oslo Botanical Garden (full of – not allowed to pick – food at this time of year) ;)
NB! Not all plants shown here are edible!
I’ll add captions later!

Day 2 of the Hvaler Permaveggies Course

On the second day, we started with the second part of my talk and then had a walk on the beach at the Ytre Hvaler National Park looking for edibles. Randy Gunnar Lange works here and talked a little about the park.

The perfect birthday gift: a botanist for the evening!

What a perfect present….an evening with Anders Often, one of Norway’s leading botanists and a lovely person too! Thank you Randy Gunnar Lange and Ingunn Bohmann. I’d never met him before, but had emailed with him about old relic locations of Hablitzia some years back.

We walked from Eikeløkka through an amazing varied landscape, in places extremely poor with twisted pine trees and ground covering spruce, in others rich where marine sediments had been deposited, to the highest point on Kirkøy, Hvaler (Botneveten) at just over 70m from where there were amazing views showing a forest covered island and with spectacular panoramic views towards the Koster Islands (where I’ve been a couple of times:, Strømstad, Svinesund and Torbjørnskjær (where we had a buoy measuring marine environmental parameters in the 90s!)

Permaveggies course on Hvaler

Fantastic spring weather for the first day of our weekend permaveggies course arranged by Hvaler Hagelag on the Hvaler islands in southern Norway. Great group of old and new friends. The local NRK Østfold TV were also there and interviewed us! The day started with a guided tour of Randy Gunnar Lange and Ingunn Bohmann‘s new home and extensive grounds (Eikeløkka) where we discussed their plans of developing the land to a multispecies biodiverse permaculture farm with forest garden including nut trees, fruit, perennial vegetables, carp pond, beneficial animals etc.
Randy’s plan is to beat my species count :) Good luck!!
I look forward to following Ingunn and Randy’s labours over the next years…
This was followed by a talk about perennials and their role in a more resilient future!

New Norwegian Fruit and Vegetable Encyclopedia with Hablitzia and Hosta

Published this month is a new Norwegian Fruit and Vegetable Encyclopedia written by Kari Vetlesen
Among its pages you will find both Hablitzia and Hosta (mentioned for the first time in a Norwegian book as edible?)
Unreleated, I hadn’t seen the following article about eating Hosta before:


With Mountain Gardener Joe Hollis in the Zurich Botanical Gardens

During my trip to Switzerland I had a fantastic day together with Mountain Gardener Joe Hollis in Zurich, first in the new (larger) Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich where some 7,000 plant species can be seen and later in the old botanical garden which is still maintained as a public park!
Joe is incredibly knowledgeable about useful plants and we spoke mostly latin!
Thanks to Matthias Brück​ and Kala Serafim​ for bringing us together!
More about Joe here:

Redwing song

A distant redwing (rødvingetrost) in full song today (high volume required)!

I remember whilst still living in Scotland hoping to hear redwing singing in June in North West Scotland on a summer cycle ride around the coast of Scotland. They are red listed in the UK because of the small breeding population, but just over the North Sea here in Norway they are everywhere. Scottish breeding seems to be declining (climate change?), less common now than when I was there!