A Venusglade

I often shown pictures of moonglades from the house (the long beam-like reflection of the moon on the fjord), but I’d never noticed a venusglade before. Then three nights ago a long beam reflection of the fjord was clearly visible under venus (very bright at the moment) with the naked eye. I only had a hand-held camera and this was the best I could get, just weakly visible:

Then, last night it was clear again and armed with tripod I made a one minute exposure of the scene. Of course, in the course of a minute we’ve moved some distance and venus is unclear…and the stars are stripes in the sky. The venusglade is wider also as it too moves, but it nevertheless makes for an interesting picture with the bonus of an auroral glare over Forbordfjellet. I must try over-exposing next time:

Digitally enhanced:

…and what is this?

Spotted flycatchers on the perch

This is another example where an untidy garden attracts wildlife. One of my Manchurian walnuts died last winter and rather than cutting it down, I decided to leave it as a perch for flycatchers….and, as ordered, they arrived today, spotted flycatchers (gråfluesnapper). They typically turn up in the garden at this time in small numbers, never breeding. Presumably this is a young bird still begging for food from its parent.



Unusual Pollinators

A dark green fritillary (aglaya perlemorvinge) and my second red-tailed bumlebee (steinhumle) on my Buddleja and Clematis vitalba (old man’s beard….not me!)



Edimental Runner Beans

My Dad (95) has always grown Runner Beans, so I have them in my blood. Moving to Norway, I was surprised to find that they were mostly grown as ornamental plants. Indeed, they are called Blomsterbønner (flowering beans) here. Similarly, broad (fava) beans were also rarely grown as a vegetable although both are being more commonly found in veggie gardens today. 
However, my cool windy shady hillside garden isn’t ideal for growing runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus), really needing a warm south facing spot for reliable yields. However, being in my blood I have to grow them every year, but some years I wonder why I bother, but still hoping for that bumper yield that we had once many years ago. There were so many that we salted many for winter use. 
Well, it looks like this year may finally be that year that my runner beans do crop well and there are already many young beans, perhaps a month earlier than normal, mainly due to the record  warm June here when  they grew almost as quickly as in Dad’s garden (we compare notes by phone every week!). However, a very cold July turned things around until things started moving again in August.
This year I’m growing four different varieties with different flower colour (we can at least enjoy the flowers!)
1. Celebration 
2. Heirloom Painted Lady
3. Czar
4. Plain old red Firestorm 

A Taste of Myoga

After many years trying, I finally had a taste of home grown myoga or Japanese ginger (Zingiber mioga) this week!
I think it was in the garden of my friend Frank van Keirsbilck (of http://www.thevegetablegarden.be) in Belgium that I  first saw this plant. I bought a plant from Edulis nursery in the UK in 2010 and planted it in my garden, hoping it would be hardy enough. It survived for 3 years, but grew weakly and emerged in the spring later and later every year, before disappearing for good. Determined to have a taste, Frank sent me a starter in 2016 and, now, 4 years on my pot grown plant kept indoors in a cold bedroom all year finally produced a flower bud, the main part eaten. We made a Japanese style soba (buckwheat pasta) dish to which the shredded myoga was added! A very pleasant mild ginger taste, making it all worth while. I will now move it to a larger pot.

Towards a record early harvest

This summer we’ve experienced a big swing in temperatures from one month to the next…from a record cold May to a record warm June followed by most of July being also record cold. The warmth in June straight after planting my runner beans on 11th (later than normal) resulted in quick growth and by the end of July the earliest variety, two-toned Painted Lady was already in flower, a month earlier than a normal year (if there is such a thing as normal anymore)….so maybe we are heading for a record crop, where runner beans are marginal and almost never give a good sized crop:

My courgettes (zucchini), planted out on 14th June on my shady composting area (no more than 2 hours of direct sunshine) also started cropping very early at the end of August:


Finally, I was surprised when folk told me last year that their Worcesterberries (a selection of Ribes divaricatum) ripened in July.  I’m usually eating mine from the middle of September to the first frosts late in October, but they are also turning colour already: