One of my favourite multi-purpose vegetables and one of my first unusual vegetables that I grew in my garden in the 80s was burdock or borre, more specifically various Japanese cultivars of Arctium lappa, hardly used in Europe and North America apart from a few foragers, even though it’s a common wild plant and hardy. Although it is best known as a root vegetable, there are varieties bred for their leaf petioles and the flower stems are really delicious! If you add to this that the seeds are foraged by various birds like goldfinches and greenfinches in winter in addition to being impressive photogenic plants which tolerated shady conditions, no permaculture garden should be without them!
In the album below are pictures I’ve taken over the years, in my garden, in botanical gardens and in the wild. There follows links to various blog posts about burdock!
It’s confirmed that I’ll be doing a guided edimentals (=edible ornamentals) walk at the Royal Botanical Garden in Edinburgh’s Harvest Festival at 2 pm on Saturday 17th September (free)!! Hopefully, I’ll have a few books for sale too!
I actually first grew vegetables when I was a student in Edinburgh in the late 70s when I was a student, inspired by local bicycle campaigner Dave du Feu (Spokes) who I met (both with bikes) on a train on the way up to Edinburgh…I remember him telling me about the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA), the organic gardening association and how to grow vegetables intensively on raised beds by planting diagonally… Just look what he started!