Thanks to my publishers Permanent Publications and Permaculture Magazine, free browsing access is available until Thursday to both my book Around the World in 80 plants, two articles I wrote for the magazine on Hablitzia (the Caucasian Spinach) and Hosta (Oriental Spinach) as well as the current issue of the magazine! This is related to my talk tomorrow (Sunday) at the Hilt in Chandlers Ford (see more at https://www.tickettailor.com/events/hiltingburycommunityassociation/1043494)! Please consider subscribing to Permaculture Magazine! Signed copies of the book can also be purchased from the author in Norway.
I was shocked and saddened to hear the other day that Tim Harland from my publishers Permanent Publications (PP) and Permaculture Magazine died unexpectedly on 30th September. He was such a lovely man…and just as they had started their new life…
Although he didn’t suffer, those who knew him and remain on this wonderful planet that he worked so hard for are the ones to suffer………
I remember the last time I met Tim and Maddy when they attended a talk I gave in Alton, Hants, invited by the Curtis Museum, part of the Sea Kale story in my book (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10962)! Commiserations to Maddy and colleagues.
Tim kindly drove me home to my parents’ in Chandlers Ford afterwards.
I’ll lift a glass to Tim’s memory…what a lovely person he was!
Picture of Tim with the first books at PP HQ below; he was my main contact at PP during the publishing process. See also appreciations at https://www.facebook.com/PermacultureMag
My only post on last weekend’s big news item. This memory came up on my feed this morning. In October 2015 I talked about my book Around the World in 80 plants at the Walled Kitchen Garden Network Forum weekend at the National Trust Property Croome Court in Worcestershire, England. As usual I joked about Prince Charles having the most productive Forest Garden in the UK as he had a national collection of large-leaved Hostas in woodland at Highgrove. Little did I know that the Prince’s head gardener was sat near the front. After the talk, he introduced himself, astonished that Hosta were edible. I thought quickly and presented him with a copy of the book and signed it “To HRH Prince Charles, Good luck with your Hosta eating!”. I had known of the Prince’s good works within the organic gardening movement since the 70s and indeed Highgrove is managed as an organic farm.
I was surprised to receive this letter later that winter and it resulted in a correspondence about Hosta cuisine which lead to me being invited to Highgrove to talk more and see the Hosta collection (sadly, there are no pictures of that day as cameras are strictly forbidden nor was I allowed to see the pictures the staff took). I had a hope that the Prince might turn up, but he had a lame excuse that it was his Mum’s birthday…..and now I’ve had to modify the slide about Hostas and Highgrove (see the comments).
Yesterday, I was preparing my talk for the Finnish Permaculture Association (see https://youtube.com/live/CYBqioWTr6U) and was reminded that I had mentioned in my book that Hablitzia could be used in place of spinach in Finnish spinach pancakes (pinaattiohukaiset). With my Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach; köynnöspinaatit) shoots having grown well recently, I decided to make these Finnish-style habby pancakes for lunch to get in the mood for the talk. I must admit, I didn’t look up a recipe and just improvised (recipes make cooking complicated in my mind!) using ingredients I felt should be in there. Apart from plentiful Hablitzia shoots I mixed in whole grain oat flour, eggs, garlic, chili and pepper and fried them in butter. It was served with a salad which also included Hablitzia! First, the quotation from Around the World in 80 plants (suggested by Jonathan Bates in the US in his article on Hablitzia):
I have a small patch of different forms of alpine bistort / harerug (Bistorta vivipara) in the garden and this year’s harvest is now drying in the living room. See other posts on this plant here: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?s=%22alpine+bistort%22
Many thanks to all who sent birthday wishes as I transitioned to become a bonafide pensioner
As usual, my celebration dinner was a green macaroni cheese (https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?s=macaroni), this year an Around the World in 80 Mac-Cheese with 80 different perennial greens harvested from the garden, some for the first time!
On the 12th June, I gave my first webinar at a mainstream gardening conference in the US, the Southeastern Plant Symposium, hosted by the JC Raulston Arboretum and Juniper Level Botanic Garden in Raleigh, North Carolina. I had thought that the invitation was on the back of a successful talk I gave at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens in September 2019. However, it turned out not to be the case and one of the organizers horticulturist and owner of Plant Delights Nursery, Tony Avent, had read my book, enjoyed it and had suggested to the committee to invite me!
I was sandwiched between some great ornamental gardeners and plant breeders including Fergus Garrett of Great Dixter in the UK. I particularly enjoyed Aaron Floden’s talk (from the Missouri Botanical Garden) on unexploited native plants (in an ornamental context) and plant breeder Peter Zale’s talk on Hosta breeding (the market for Hostas in the US is enormous….time for a small segment dedicated to Hostas for food!). Edimental gardeners can, as I have over the years, get a lot of inspiration from ornamental gardeners.
Years ago, I was at a work meeting in San Francisco with my colleague Harald Krogstad who sadly died in 2020. It’s very easy to put a date on this as we flew back on the day of the September 11 attacks, almost 20 years ago. After the meeting we hired a car and drove up to the Sierra Nevada and walked for a couple of days in the Tuolumne Meadows area. I remember finding a patch of a large Allium that I later found out had to be the tall swamp onion or Pacific onion (Allium validum). A few seeds from those plants later germinated in Malvik and this became one of the 80 plants in my book Around the World in 80 plants. A few years ago I renovated my pond area and associated damp area where I was growing this onion which grows in large clumps in damp meadows at elevations of 1200-3350 m in the Sierra Nevada. It was finally possible to harvest again this year and yesterday I used it in scrambled eggs. The flowers umbels are unusually small for such a large Allium and for that reason has never become popular as an ornamental. See an earlier blog post with pictures that didn’t make it into the book here: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=5994
At the Væres Venner community garden on the outskirts of Trondheim at Ranheim in an area we hope will remain a green belt, I have been working to create what we call Verdenshagen (The World Garden) in collaboration with KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) and Schübelers nettverk. This is a network of gardens throughout Norway which is being launched in June 2021 in honour of Fredrik Christian Schübeler (1815-1892) was a botanist and professor at the University in Christiania (now Oslo) and director of the Botanical Gardens for nearly 30 years from 1863. He established a network of gardens throughout Norway, often in collaboration with prestegård (rectory gardens) to test out new plants of economical importance (both ornamentals and edibles). Our new network is also planned centred around rectory gardens and other gardens to demonstrate and inspire to grow new plants but also to conserve old varieties of food plants and ornamentals. See more at https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=no&u=https://kvann.no/schubeler The World Garden is basically a 12 m diameter circle where the centre represents the North Pole and houses a garden of Arctic food plants. Largely perennial vegetables are being planted geographically around the circle, currently some 80 plants, many of which can be read about inspired by my own book Around the World in 80 plants (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=30). The garden is surrounded by over 100 old and new fruit, berry and nut trees and another demonstration garden for annual crops. The intention is to add pictures to the album below throughout the year from the World Garden. Our focus is also in creating and improving the habitat at Være for other wildlife, so there will also be pictures of insects, birds and other creatures.
Presenting some of this week’s perennial greens and, in the case of the blanched Hosta shoots, perennial whites! Hosta sieboldiana with ramsons / ramsløk (Allium ursinum) and giant bellflower / storklokke (Campanula latifolia)
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden