I’ve grown burdock on the balcony this year, the favourite wild winter food of goldfinches (stillits) and greenfinches (grønnfink). I can then watch them feeding from my desk :)
They’ve been absent for some time apart from a single bird occasionally. A flock of 6 birds were in the garden most of yesterday:
1) …with Yellowhammers (gulspurv), tree sparrows (pilfink) and house sparrow (gråspurv)
2) ……with greenfinch and yellowhammers (grønnfink og gulspurv)
3) …with a nuthatch doing neck exercises (taken from a film)
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!
Burdock in Japan
Burdock and goldfinches
Greenfinches on burdock
Cardboard and fiberboards from Burdock and about its cultivation
An interesting barlotto (burlotto?)
Perennial Greens June 2015 (including burdock flower stems)
Flower stem sweet and sour
Burdock Flower Stalk Curry
Edinburgh’s Burry Man
A small flock of 9 goldfinches in my garden this morning, a winter visitor here (it’s unknown where they breed) and a species that would not be in my garden if it hadn’t been for my interest in edible plants. I started growing burdock / borre as a vegetable back in the 80s and this is the most important food for them in our area. The area between my house and Midtsandan, a few km east of here, is now the most important area this far north for this species with flocks of between 25 and 50 seen most winters!