Tag Archives: Hosta

7th August multisalad

A little composition put together last night together with my daughter and artist friend from UK and wwoofer Kristina from Czech…including Allium macranthum (centerpiece), Allium carinatum pulchellum “Album”, Allium flavum, various Hosta flowers, tiger lily flower, Fedia, Adenophora, mallows, chicory leaf etc.

Emmer multispecies tempura

Tonight’s dinner was the first tempura of the year, made with Emmer wheat….delicious!
With Mustard “Giant Red”, dandelion, Hosta flower shoots, assorted lily flowers, ground elder, Daubenton and Daubenton variegated perennial kale, Rosa spp., ragged jack kale, Crambe cordifolia flowers and buds, broad bean tops, Houttuynia cordata “Chameleon”, Calendula officinalis flower, Sonchus oleraceus, giant bellflower flower buds, Allium cernuum flower, Allium senescens flowers, Allium rubens flowers, Diplotaxis (perennial rocket), grape leaf, mustard broccolis, various lettuces, Hablitzia tops, Scorzonera flower stems and buds etc.

Hosta nutrition

A nutritional analysis of Hosta is reported in the enclosed open access article from Japan (2017):  “Analysis of essential macro-micro mineral content of twelve Hosta taxa” by Mehraj, Nishimura and Shimasaki.  The good news is that the overall conclusion is that Hostas are  excellent sources of a number of minerals important in human nutrition!
Various Hosta species were collected from the wild as well as from commercial vegetable growers (it is indicated that the Hosta were simply collected from the wild and are not selected otherwise), they were grown for a year in the open before being moved to pots for the analysis.

A few quotes:

“Hosta plant leaves have higher K and P content than that of the other (common) leafy vegetables.”

“We found one species (H.  sieboldii) among the studied 12 species containing 1.15% of Ca, higher than STFC-2015, Japan and all levels found in other studies conducted in different countries for various wild edible plants. Data from our study indicated that H. sieboldii could be an excellent daily diet source of Ca. It appears that Japanese people used to consume this species as a source of calciums. The results of this study indicate that hosta taxa are a good source of Mg and Mn.”

“The Zn content of hosta leaves was higher than other fresh vegetable reported”

“Hosta plant leaves contained higher minerals than that of asparagus. From the results and discussion, it is clear that hosta leaves are a very good dietary source of minerals.”

“H. alismifolia, H. sieboldii, H. nakaiana, H. longissima, H. montana can be considered excellent sources of some minerals and can be recommended for their K, Ca, Fe, P, Mg, Zn content.”  (NB! H. montana is often considered as a synonym or subspecies of H. sieboldiana)

Download (PDF, 265KB)

Edibles in Bergen’s Muséhagen

I spent a couple of hours in Muséhagen (the old botanical garden) in the centre of Bergen before taking the train to Oslo on Sunday and spent the time edimentals spotting amongst all the sun-worshippers, a strange experience in a town best known for its rain…

Sweet cicely (spansk kjørvel) is a “noxious weed ” (svartelistet), but also one of the best edible introductions to our flora, only invasive as we eat too little of it ;)

Hostas 

New Norwegian Fruit and Vegetable Encyclopedia with Hablitzia and Hosta

Published this month is a new Norwegian Fruit and Vegetable Encyclopedia written by Kari Vetlesen
Among its pages you will find both Hablitzia and Hosta (mentioned for the first time in a Norwegian book as edible?)
Unreleated, I hadn’t seen the following article about eating Hosta before:
https://www.pressherald.com/2017/06/04/flower-power-on-your-plate

 

Perennial vegetables and edimentals for cities

This week I gave a couple of talks for the first time  on the subject of “Perennials: Attractive and climate friendly city vegetables” ….covering everywhere from roof gardens to shady backyards to city farms, including Slottsparken – the park around the Royal Palace in Oslo which is in reality a productive forest garden ;) (full of Hosta and ostrich fern / strutseving)!

Hosta Superstar and Host in Vienna

The genus Hosta is just about my favourite vegetable as you can read in my book Around the World in 80 plants, productive, tasty and perfect for a forest garden as it doesn’t mind deep shade! I did a walk and talk at the Botanischer Garten der Universität Wien as part of my tour organised by Arche Noah in mid-June 2017. To my great surprise, there was a Hosta installation in the garden and a large collection of species Hosta! It turns out that the genus Hosta was named after Austrian botanist Nikolaus Host (1761-1834) and he managed a garden on the site of the botanical garden until his death!
From the garden’s web site: “On the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Nikolaus Thomas Host (1761-1834). A group of students of the class for landscape design, under the supervision of the British artist and landscape designer Tony Heywood, is working on a “horticultural installation” for the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna.”
Here’s a series of pictures from the installation “Hosta Superstar” and a long bed of species Hosta!
All Hostas are edible.
This was the highlight of my guided tour of the garden which ended at the Hosta installation.
It was unknown to the garden that Hosta are edible and the director was excited of this new dimension to the garden…perhaps there will be a Hosta tasting next spring!

Tor Smaaland’s “Your Dream Garden” from 2004

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).

Download (PDF, 10.2MB)


Trip to the Japanese mountains in April 2016

Each day on the trip to Japan had been equally amazing as the day before with new plant and food discoveries all the way!! The venue for my talk in Tokyo was the art/photography studio belonging to a guy called Ken Takewaki. It turned out he’d spent a lot of time in the UK working on organic farms and knew the owner of Poyntzfield Nursery in Scotland well and I’d already planned to try to visit Poyntzfield on my Scotland trip in September! Knowing that I was heading for the mountains after Tokyo, Ken kindly invited me to visit his mountain home! What a place and the food was out of this world! Ken and his lady Masami had made a special effort to feed me sansai!

The next morning it was as if I’d been transported home in my dreams as there was new snow on the ground at the Ken’s home at 1300m. The day before it has been over 20C at 600m! Thanks so much to Tei, who I got to know through Caroline Ho Bich-Tuyen Dang, a member of Norwegian Seed Savers, for showing me so much of her village near Besshou (Ueda) in Nagano Prefecture and sharing all the amazing sansai and sake and for taking me to Ken’s place! More on Besshou later when I get time!Thank you so much too Ken and Masami for your hospitality!
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