Holma Forest Garden / Holma skogsträdgård June 2014

P1040555In mid-June I visited Esbjörn Wandt for a few days. He is one of the driving forces behind one of the first (the first?) and best forest gardens in Sweden – Holma skogsträdgård (about 10 years old I believe)…a fantastic few days, thanks to all!  Esbjörn has an impressive team of helpers at Holma and at other splinter gardens which are cropping up here and there in this area. First, I’ve collected an album of pictures from the forest garden, from my evening talk nearby and from preparing a new part of the forest garden which will exclusively contain plants from my book (it will be known as Barstows lund or Barstow’s copse…. :) )

Link to the pictures of Holma!

A group of us also visited Lund Botanical Garden nearby and had fun finding unusual edible plants in the collections :) Here is an album from that day:

Link to the Lund Botanical Gardens album

Alexandra Berkutenko and the Giant Edimentals of the Russian Far East

My friend Søren Holt asked the following on a Facebook thread “Did you ever think of collecting giant vegetables from kamchatska tall herb meadows?”

Yes is the answer…and it would be great to actually visit… I remember reading of the Giant herbs of the Russian Far East in Russian botanist Alexandra Berkutenko’s fantastic seed list some 15 years ago. Sadly, she no longer puts out this seed list, but you can get an impression of what was on offer as one of the lists from 2001 is still on-line:


You can see several giant herbs mentioned here – Angelica ursina (have so far not succeeded with this one – seed has either not germinated or I’ve lost the plants); Heracleum dulce, Polygonum sachalinense (Giant Knotweed) and even Aralia cordata (syn. Aralia continentalis) (Udo) is on offer!! All of these are in the book too….
This list was also my original source of Aster scaber!

So yes collecting giant vegetables in Kamchatska has been in my thoughts.
I helped Berkutenko advertise her list in the early days and I remember putting an advert in the North American Herb Companion for her and she sent seed in return (it was difficult for her to pay for adverts from within Russia). She also attended a conference in Tromsø but I didn’t meet her – she mentions seeing giant Heracleum persicum on the streets of Tromsø.
She was also an ethnobotanist and co-authored a book “Medicinal and Edible Plants of Alaska and the Russian Far East” (sadly, never translated from Russian). See below the front page and species list. I corresponded with her when writing the book! I did Russian at school, so can read but not understand much of the text…Søren has actually helped with translating some parts

A little salad recipe :)

Somebody was asking if I still had the ingredients list for my record salad from 2003 with 537 varieties – it used to be on the net but has been taken down. Haven’t found it yet, but in the process of searching I found the RECIPE for the first of my MegaSalads from 2001…just in case you want to have a go


On 19th August 2001, Stephen Barstow decided to attempt to break the world record for the greatest number of plant varieties in a salad in his garden in Malvik, Norway at 63.4deg N. However, from searches beforehand on the Internet, it didn’t seem that anyone had been daft enough to try this before. The salad was composed and put together in connection with the Norwegian National Open Organic Garden Day. The final salad had a grand total of 363 distinct plant varieties and 382 distinct plant parts (i.e., including flowers and leaves from the same variety). All bar two of the varieties were collected in the garden.

The recipe:

Take some leaves of Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), leaves of Alpine Calamint (Acinos alpinus); leaves of Basil Thyme (Acinos arvensis), leaves of Ground Elder (Aegopodium podagraria), chopped wood mushroom (Agaricus silvicola), some leaves and flowers of Agastache “Licquorice”, some leaves and flowers of Anise Hyssop (Agastache anisata), some leaves and flowers of White Anise Hyssop (Agastache anisata alba), add some leaves of Agastache aurantiaca, some leaves and flowers of Mexican Giant Hyssop (Agastache mexicana), leaves of Agastache pringlei, some leaves of Korean Mint (Agastache rugosa), some leaves of Agastache scrophulariaefolia, leaves of Agastache speciosa, a few leaves of Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), some Continue reading A little salad recipe :)

Article in Adresseavisen (Trondheim’s newspaper); 28th June 2014

An article in Trondheim’s newspaper in June 2014 about edible Trondheim including one of my diversity salads…
Artikkel fra Ukeadressa i juni om spiselig Trøndelag!!

Download (PDF, 9.54MB)

….and if you hover your mouse above the picture of all the ingredients in the linked picture you will see that all the plant names come up (common names in Norwegian, plus latin names) Enjoy!

Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden