With summer just about beginning here (well, it has just reached 20C five times this year), this is what my biggest perennial vegetable looks like today….and, yes, I’m standing up at the base of the plant and I’m 1.83m tall! I didn’t harvest that much this year as I was away so much!
The first time my garden was featured in a book was in former Norwegian TV gardener and gardener for the King, Tor Smaaland’s 2004 book “Din drømmehage”. The book was based on Tor’s travels around Norway visiting gardens and their owners. I remember his visit well as he was like a whirlwind almost running around the garden and talking at full throttle…he told me that he was a landscape architect and new little about plants and then he was gone again…so quick was he that I didn’t get a single picture of his visit! Most of the text about the plants was written by me (see pdf at the bottom of this page!).
I loved his amusing description of me and my garden (first in Norwegian below and then translated): «Hage til å spise opp: Som Norges kanskje eneste moderne ikke-munk har engelskmannen Stephen Barstow brukt de siste tiåra på å anlegge et slags fri klosterhage ved Malvik utenfor Trondheim med noe mellom 1500-3000 planter, avhengig av hvordan vinteren har fart over hagen. Her er 30 av hans favoritter – og ganske uventet bruk av dem» ;) (Garden to be eaten up: As perhaps Norway’s only modern non-monk, Englishman SB has over the last 10 years created a kind of free style monastery garden in Malvik outside of Trondheim with somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 plants, dependent on the ravages of the winter. Here are 30 of his favourites and their rather unexpected uses)
You will notice quite a few of the plants that finally ended up in my book and many of which I now call Edimentals; for example: variegated ground elder (variegert skvallerkål), nodding onion (prærieløk), seiersløk (Allium victorialis), udo (Aralia cordata), giant bellflower (storklokke), daylilies (dagliljer), Hosta, golden hops (gulhumle), Malva (kattost), ostrich fern (strutseving), Bath asparagus (Ornithogalum pyrenaicum), bistort (ormrot), rubber dandelion (gummiløvetann), bulrush (dunkjevle) and nettles (nesle).
Inspired by my visit in the spring to Tokyo’s underground blanching of Udo (Aralia cordata), see link below, I dug up a couple of roots that I will force inside the house in late winter :) I will keep them cold in the cellar and then move them into probably my living room to force in February!
Here’s an album of my own pictures from our visit to Tokyo’s underground Udo forcing holes…
More about Udo (Aralia cordata) on my web site www.edimentals.com
Thanks again to Ken Minatoya-Yasuda for liaising with the agriculture industry Tourism Division in Tachikawa city!! We were the first Europeans to ask for this particular tour!! Thanks also to Tei Kobayashi for acting as interpreter and great to meet local gardening blogger Joan Lambert Bailey and friends on the day!! We all had a great day I think!!
Please help translating the text on some of the pictures!
To see an underground Udo (Aralia cordata) farm has long been a dream. My dream was finally fulfilled this spring and below you can see a short video I took in the Udo cavern! I’ve also added 3 videos above the ground where you can see piles of spent Udo roots…the roots themselves have been used medicinally, but at the moment are going to waste :(
Below the videos is a gallery of photos taken by my friend Tei Kobayashi who acted as interpreter!
More pictures from the visit can be seen here: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=7499
Thanks to my friend Tei Kobayashi for the following pictures taken during our visit to the underground udo farm in Tokyo.
My forest garden continues to be super-productive, my udo is on its way back to the soil and is preparing for next year as are my three devil’s walking sticks, Aralia elata as well as Aralia racemosa and A. californica.