Saxifraga stolonifera is a lover of dark, wet, rocky places in Japan, Korea and China. I saw it several places in Japan during my March / April visit and ate the leaves as tempura, the commonest way of using it in the kitchen. In Japan, it has the “lovely” name Yuki-no-shita, meaning “Under the snow” whilst in English this fairly popular rock garden plant is known as creeping or strawberry saxifrage. It has flowered for the first time in my garden and they are rather special! There are a number of leaf selections (currently 8 available in the RHS Plant Finder in the UK, as well as a large flowered form). A great rock garden edimental then!! Probably not hardy, I will try to overwinter in my cellar!
The best tasting vegetable of the rhizosphere I’ve had the pleasure of eating is Cacomitl, one of the lost crops of the Aztecs, also known as Tigridia (pavonia) and commonly available on those racks of ornamental bulbs. It is also one of the best edimentals, witness the pictures from my garden today (14th July!) below.
I’ll keep this short as I couldn’t possibly do better than the series of witty and informative posts on this plant by my friend (I’ve even shaken his hand now!) Owen Smith on his fabulous Radix: Root Crop Research and Ruminations blog. You know you need to read these titles:
I get invited to talk in some wonderful places! On 27th April 2014 I visited Portåsen and gave a shortened version of my Around the World in 80 plants talk in the comfortable Hay Loft venue at Portåsen!
The Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre (NGRC) think that all cultural heritage institutions in Norway with landscaping ought to use historical plants suitable for the actual buildings, associated culture and history. Portåsen is one of the places that have made the most progress with this. Portåsen is the childhood home of Herman Wildenvey (1885-1959) in Nedre Eiker. Wildenvey is one of the most prominent Norwegian poets of the twentieth century. During his lifetime he published 44 books of his own poetry. Portåsen was established in 2010 as a cultural centre for the dissemination of Herman Wildenvey’s life and works. Herman Wildenvey was known as the “sun and summer” poet, and his poems reference some 80 different flower and plants. It is said that one of his first reading experiences were from Blytt’s Flora. Therefore it is quite natural that historical plants and traditional plant use gives a key backdrop to the varied cultural events with exhibitions, concerts, walks etc. at Portåsen. The place is beautifully restored. In the flower beds around the houses in the yard can be found historical perennial ornamentals (to be classified as Plant Heritage, a plant has to be documented to have been grown 50 years ago), which were either found in old gardens locally or received from “Oldemors garden” at the botanics in Oslo or from Lier Bygdetun (both have collections coordinated with the NGRC). Just above the yard is a well-tended vegetable and herb garden with food and spice plants, and within a traditionally erected fence can be found old apple varieties. A meadow has also been sown with seeds from Ryghsetra, an old local hayfield which Friends of the Earth Buskerud have received the Norwegian Plant Heritage prize for maintaining! The following lines are from Wildenveys poem “O, ennu å være”
O, ennu å synge om midtsommernetter,
Og ennu å ånde i kryddersval luft,
Ennu å vite, hva blomstene hetter
Og nevne dem ved deres farve og duft.
(loosely translated from Åsmund Asdal’s article here: http://www.skogoglandskap.no/nyheter/2012/portasen/newsitem)
In all the 35 years I’ve been cycling to work from Malvik to Trondheim, I’d never seen a living hedgehog (pinnsvin)…until yesterday when this little one decided to cross the road at Ranheim….it was sadly visibly limping.. :(
Ironically, 100m further up the road from where I’m standing is a much safer “pedestrian” crossing known as “Pinnsvin Crossing” (Hedgehog crossing)…. ;)
NB! Hedgehogs can’t be nocturnal here as it doesn’t get dark, so not that unusual to see them in the daytime!
To celebrate the arrival of my daughter Hazel and helpers Charlotte and Maj-Britt from Denmark, I knocked up this green pasta sauce which, from memory, contained common sow thistle, coriander, bolted lettuce, musk mallow, spring onions, nettles, chili etc…and decorated at the last minute with nodding onion flowers!
Daina Binde from Latvia doesn’t drink coffee but has a nose for a coffee flower…as she discovered that my coffee plant was in flower, unnoticed by me, in the depths of my living room forest garden….
I thought it hadn’t flowered for about 4-5 years, but it must have done as it also had two berries!!
More about Coffea arabica “Malvik” here: http://www.edimentals.com/