Documentation of yet another amazing day during last week’s Perennialen III in Hardanger!! Pictures taken on a fantastic 6-7 hour round trip from Eirik Lillebøe Wiken and Hege Iren Aasdal Wiken’s house to their shieling (støl or seter in Norwegian). We took our time botanising on the way up, passing through different types of forest on the way up, from alder (or), ash (ask), planted spruce (gran), lime (lind), elm (alm), hazel (hassel), aspen (osp) and birch (bjørk) at the highest levels. Lower down, old apple trees witnessed that these steep slopes had at one time been worked for fruit production, no easy matter….
Eirik and Hege are planning to rejuvenate and replant some of this area and have planted a multispecies forest garden above and below the house, probably one of the most dramatic forest gardens in the world (more later).
I’ve grown burdock in my garden, originally mainly as a root vegetable, since the 80s when Japanese varieties such as Takinogawa Long and Watanabe Early began to appear in vegetable seed catalogues in the UK. In japan, it’s an important root crop that is available in all supermarkets both as fresh roots and in various processed products (also fermented):
The Goldfinches (stillits) are back. They are winter visitors here and, as far as I know, it isn’t known where these birds breed, perhaps in the Baltic states /Finland, moving westwards to overwinter in our warmer weather!
These beautiful birds started appearing in my garden some 15 years ago as I grew and saved seed of vegetable burdock (borre) or Arctium lappa, their main food here in winter. At that time my garden was the best place to see them and I had several visits from bird photographers and birdwatchers to see them. It must be a bad year for burdock (there’s not much in my garden) as they’ve gone straight for the bird feeder, something that doesn’t usually happen until later in the winter.
Greenfinches / grønnfink are the commonest finches in the winter here . They find both natural food (seed of burdock / borre and rosa spp., both wild and planted) and bird seed I put out. A flock of about 30 was in the garden today.
Greenfinches / Grønnfink are hard at work in the garden foraging burdock seeds…building up their fat reserves for the winter. I’ve grown burdock for my years both as a vegetable and for the birds (greenfinch and, later, goldfinches).