A small flock of 9 goldfinches in my garden this morning, a winter visitor here (it’s unknown where they breed) and a species that would not be in my garden if it hadn’t been for my interest in edible plants. I started growing burdock / borre as a vegetable back in the 80s and this is the most important food for them in our area. The area between my house and Midtsandan, a few km east of here, is now the most important area this far north for this species with flocks of between 25 and 50 seen most winters!
A good Canadian source of many of the plants in my book!
It’s not every day one finds a letter from Prince Charles in the mailbox :) I met two of the gardeners at Highgrove after my talk at Croome earlier this month and decided to ask them if they could pass on a copy of my book to the Prince! This is because I mention him and Highgrove in my Around the World talks as having the most productive edible Forest Garden in the UK – through his national collection of large leaved Hostas! Below is the letter and the slide from my talk where I talk about the Forest Garden at Highgrove!
Here’s my original article on edible Hostas in Permaculture Magazine where I mention the Prince!
This beautiful black flowered broad bean (fava) / bondebønne appeared in my garden in 2011. I isolated the seed, but sadly lost it and nothing like this has appeared again!
Stampede is a North American Jerusalem Artichoke variety , the name alluding to the fact that it is fast growing . Here’s the description in Cornucopia II.
I first grew a variety called Dagnøytral (Dayneutral) which was long recognised as the best variety here in Norway as, unlike other varieties, it produces good yields in our long days (hence the name). I was later given a variety from Sweden called Bianca (Bianka). introduced to Scandinavia from Russia in the 1970s by a well known Swedish veggie gardener here called Ake Truedsson. They were for me identical, flowering at the same time and morphologically difficult to tell apart, both with knobbly tubers. Next I got Dwarf Sunray from Danish Seed Savers (in 2004) and that also developed to an identical plant :)
Reading the description of Stampede in Cornucopia II (picture), I began to wonder if all originated from / were identical to that Native American variety, so I asked on the Homegrown Goodness forum if anyone could send me a tuber. In December 2008 I received 3 tubers from Bunkie Weir in the US and, guess what, the flower buds of the Russian, Canadian and Norwegian plants emerged in perfect synchronicity!
According to Truedsson, Bianka is a widespread variety in Russia, perhaps taken there by Vavilov? Not surprising really that such a superior variety (yieldwise at least) should have spread around the world!