Edimentals in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanical Gardens

On Monday 12th September 2016 I visited the botanical gardens in Edinburgh, and I wandered around the collections looking for edimentals (edible ornamentals), many of which are also forest garden plants, in preparation for my edimentals walk this Saturday at 2 pm. See http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=6572. Conclusion: there’s a lot of food in spring in the gardens!

Milde garden tour 10th September 2016

I didn’t take many pictures on Sunday’s guided garden tour at the botanical garden in Bergen at Milde, but here are a few! I was very impressed in particular by the Andean vegetables including mauka and maca! Thanks to Heidi Lie Anderson, Bjørn Moe and, in particular, skilled Andean gardener in Bergen, Bodil Oma!
It was also great to have the chance to harvest and share the Gunnera (Nalca) leaf stalk….the verdict was that it was surprisingly good, sweetly acid flavour! Here’s an album of pictures I took of the amazing Nalca food forests of Chiloe Island in Chile (including being shown by a local how to eat it!): http://www.edimentals.com/pictures/index.php?/category/10

See also http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=677

Norwegian articles on edible halophytes and biosaline agriculture

Here are scans of two articles I wrote published in 2004 (in Norwegian) in Våre Nyttevekster. The first one is about great edible salt tolerant plants (halophytes) such as Tripolium vulgare (syn. Aster tripolium), Sea kale (Crambe maritima) and Beta maritima (sea beet), articles that were later expanded in my book Around the World in 80 plants!
For various reasons large areas of conventional agricultural land around the world are becoming too salty to grow conventional crops due to intensive cultivation with irrigation leading to salt build up in the soil. In places like the Netherlands coastal agricultural land is impacted by salt water from the sea. One can either try to breed increased resistence to salt in conventional crops or develop non-conventional crops based on wild species that naturally tolerate high levels of salt, so-called halophytes.

Download (PDF, 5.73MB)

Download (PDF, 2.98MB)

A Sonchus oleraceus variety?

It would be a great project to select Sonchus oleraceus…for new improved yielding and special forms like was done with wild chicory aIt would be a great project to select Sonchus oleraceus…for new improved yielding and special forms like was done with wild chicory and other vegetables… Last winter somebody found seed of an amazing frilly sow thistle being sold in an on-line chinese vegetabe catalogue….too good to be true…I should have noticed that the seed weren’t Sonchus when I sowed them…it seems it’s just an endive :( Lost in translation?

The seed packet….
The resulting plant.
The flower stem
I had seed left from the Chinese packet (right) and compared with common sow thistle seed collected in my garden…

Weekend garden pictures 3rd – 4th September 2016



Black raspberries 2016

Why is it that black raspberries (Rubus occidentalis) aren’t more grown in Europe? They started ripening two weeks earlier than last year, see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=2368
During the garden tour at the weekend everyone was offered a taste and all seemed to be impressed…I told them not to swallow but save the seed and stratify, so perhaps they will start becoming more popular…
Added a picture at the bottom of the almost thorn free stems, unlike the very thorny wild species!

P1640479 P1640483P1630982

Joke plants

From top left and clockwise: Medicago radiata, Medicago scutellata “Sava” and Scorpiurus spp. (picture from my garden on 31st July 2004)
Chorogi or chinese artichokes (Stachys affinis)








I read some 15 years ago (but would love a proper reference*) that the Victorians (and some more recent jokers too) were fond of practical jokes and would add various plant parts that resembled caterpillars, snails, worms etc to their salads. I call them collectively joke plants. I should grow them again…I love humour in the garden :)

Scorpiurus muricatus and S. vermiculatus (Prickly caterpillars, prickly scorpionstail / skorpionurt), Medicago scutellata “Sava” (snail medick), Medicago radiata (ray-podded medick) and chorogi or chinese artichoke (Stachys affinis) are examples. Pictures below (yes, I’ve grown them and smuggled them into my salads for the entertainment of unsuspecting visitors!)
*I find the following reference in Google Books:  A Joy of Gardening by Victoria Sackville-West (Harper, 1958). On pages 184-186, there’s a section called “Joke plants” which I’d love to get hold of! Anyone have this book?
Add 050916: Thanks to Alison Tindale who mentioned joke plants in her great blog  The Backyard Larder having seen a reference in the classic book by Fearing Burr The Field and Garden Vegetables of America Containing Full Descriptions of Nearly Eleven Hundred Species and Varietes; With Directions for Propagation,Culture and Use”  (1863). See 
http://backyardlarder.blogspot.hu/2013/06/rhubarb-vegetable.html (at the bottom)

Edibles & ornamental plants

Bulk Email Sender