The return of the Goldfinches

Sitting at my desk this morning I noticed the winter’s first goldfinch (stillits) sitting having a scratch in a tree in the garden (first video)….and the rest of the flock of more than 10 birds were feeding on burdock (borre) in the garden. The first ever large flocks of goldfinches started overwintering in my area in my garden in 2003 and have been a regular feature ever since, attracted to seed of burdock which I’ve been growing as vegetables in the garden for many years! Nowadays this bird has established itself in the lowlands around the Trondheimsfjord! This is another reason why winter is the most beautiful time of year here, despite the loss of direct sunshine for several weeks!

The Holy Grail Kale and the Janas Ecovillage gardens!

I was blown away by the edible and medicinal gardens at the Janas Ecovillage (Ecoaldeia de Janas) during my stay there. Part of my course there was a tour of the gardens and when I enthused about the Portuguese perennial kale growing well in the gardens somebody quipped “Must be the holy grail of veggies!”. Well, not far from it, I’d tried to find it on previous work trip to Portugal having read João Silva Dias’ paper about it (see the last slide for the reference). I had contacted Dias (at the Technical University of Lisbon) to ask if he would share cuttings, but sadly he wasn’t willing. Imagine my surprise then seeing a woody plant that resembled the pictures in his paper. It was confirmed to be called Couve de Estaca (which I think means cabbage propagated by cuttings) in the ecovillage garden. The oldest plant was about 4 years and there was a newer two year old bed planted closely from cuttings! It didn’t flower!
So, here are a few pictures of the holy grail kale :)

In search of the wild asparagus at Bombeira do Guadiana

On the morning of my permaveggies course in Mértola, we did a wild walk into the Bombeira do Guadiana Biodiversity Station where information signs have been put up along a 1km trail informing about the rich local flora and fauna. There were many knowledgeable people in the group so that we managed to identify most of the plants we saw. Following recent rains there were many new shoots but few flowers….but we were lucky to see two species of Asparagus in flower!

Edible plants of the Sintra Natural Park

In the morning of the masterclass on permaveggies on 1st November 2018 organised by the Janas Ecovillage, we visited Jardim da Condessa D’Edla in collaboration with the Sintra Natural Parks! Fernanda Botelho​ and myself lead the tour of this amazing place seeking out a large diversity of edible plants, both wild and cultivated :)

Mostly edibles at Magoito

An album of pictures of  plants and views at Magoito just north of Lisbon on a short  botanising visit with Fernanda Botelho!
First, two videos showing the cliff habitat of Crithmum maritimum!

 

The Wild Plants Lady meets the Extreme Salad Man

The Wild Plants Lady meets the Extreme Salad Man to discuss ready salted vegetables on the Magoito Cliffs north of Lisbon!
A) Crithmum maritimum (rock samphire or death samphire; perrexil-do-mar); this is the first plant in my book and was my first plant in my talk at Ecoaldeias Janas the day before
B) Helichrysum stoechas (Portuguese curry plant; perpétuas-das-areias)
C) Beta vulgaris ssp maritima (sea beet; acelga-brava)
D) Plantago coronopus (buck’s-horn plantain, minutina or erba stella; diabelha)
Thank you so much for showing me the vegetable gardens of the sea cliffs of your home village, Fernanda Botelho :)
Thanks to Jorge Carona for filming and driving :)
With Ana Marques!

The first slide in my talk at Ecoaldeias Janas was this one about Death Samphire! More people have probably died harvesting this than any other vegetable! Fernanda asked me if I’d brought my rope!!

The Ecoaldeias Janas extreme salad

As part of the course organised by Ecoaldeias Janas in the village Janas near Sintra in Portugal, Fernanda Botelho collected wild and cultivated plants and here she is making an inventory of all the ingredients, all 50 of them: a typical traditional Mediterranean multi-species salad! Jorge Carona was sitting next to her taking notes!
Part 1:

Part 2:

 

Edibles & ornamental plants

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