40 years ago this month I came to Norway to find a place for us to live as I was to start work at Institutt for kontinentalsokkelundersøkelser (IKU; Continental Shelf Institute) in Trondheim in October 1981. The flat I found was here in Malvik kommune (Torp). To celebrate 40 years in Malvik I made a salad with 40 different genera. The names of the genera are below the pictures!
10 years ago today I had my first celebrity visit, from the UK! On 10th April 2010 I received the following email message entitled Permaveggies: “I am a garden writer based in Birmingham, England. I came across your work via an interview with you on a website and am very interested in learning more about your garden. I also share a love for unusual edibles that can be used in an ‘ornamental setting’. I suppose my garden has one foot in the forest garden camp and the other in a cottage garden. The greatest majority are edibles (everything from your typical vegetables to the more unusuals) with the rest being useful plants for medicine, feeding the garden or pollinators. I suppose the interesting part is that it’s a typical row terrace garden that’s about 60 ft long- cramped in is one way of looking at its design principles. I’ve written a book about it called the Edible Garden with it in conjunction with a programme on BBC2. Anyhow I would love to talk more about your work and what you’ve discovered. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely Alys Fowler” The interview was the one published on my friend Telsing Andrews’ blog, The Veggie Patch Reimagined (see https://veggiepatchreimagined.blogspot.com/2010/02/stephens-edimental-oasis-interview.html). As part of this BBC series, permaculture had just been featured on 7th April 2010. The BBC crew visited Tim and Maddy Harland’s (my publishers) garden and were bowled over by their mature forest garden full of food and wildlife. In my reply I jokingly wrote “Stop by next time you’re in the area”! Little did I know that she would do just that a few months later! It turned out that she was researching her book “The Thrifty Forager” and was “looking for people to interview who boldly eat what others might not think to…”! Alys’ book The Thrifty Forager was published the year after but my book with Introduction by Alys took another 3 years! She devotes a whole section to my garden, its plants and The Modern Monk (guess who?) :) In the foreword to my book, there’s a picture of Alys reading my old coverless copy of Cornucopia II in the garden! Below are 4 albums of pictures taken by Alys’ cameraman Brian Wheeler! I have fond memories of this visit during a really hot period after the coldest June since the 1960s. The first album are pictures from the garden, the second from a forage and swim in the fjord, then a trip up to a local mountain Vennafjellet , via a second swimming spot, Nevrahølet (we were finished quite quickly with the pictures and interview in the garden due to the wonderful weather) and finally some pictures from Trondheim! Alys was also a presenter on BBC’s Gardener’s World and writes a gardening column for the Guardian!
This is the best time of year for getting up at the crack of dawn, lots of birdsong too! The sunrise at the moment is about 6 am…..but, in a few weeks, it will be 3 am which is a bit early! The long-term forecast is for clear-blue skies for the whole of Easter week here….with over 10C during the days…cold at nights to start with (it was -5C when the picture was taken) but frosts disappearing in a few days! Should be a great Easter week working in my gardens!
It was interesting to see that the moon set at about 10am this morning in the north west just before I left for the office in town, and just before I got home I notice an orange glow behind Forbordsfjellet at just after 17:30. The moon is therefore in the sky for about 16 hours at the moment! This mirrors the sun in summer which also sets and rises in similar positions and this is actually for the same reason!
I was very saddened yesterday to learn that my friend Helge Finnøy has passed away after a very long illness :cry:
Helge was a gentle, modest, intelligent man and we shared an interest in particular in plants and insects and he reintroduced me to the music of Ray Davies (Kinks) and we were both at his memorable performance at Trondheim Torvet (town square) on October 11th 2014. I’m not one for sending flowers (at least not at this time of year), so I’ve put this little gallery together of my colourful memories of Helge! I have fond memories of visiting Helge (and Randi) and his garden at Torp (incidentally right next to Granly, where we rented a flat when we first moved to Norway i 1981). Takk for alt, Helge! Kondolere Randi Stubban og Sunniva Stubban Finnøy <3
I received my PDC after completing the course mainly taught by Jan Bang at my house in Malvik during 3 long weekends in 2017. My project report was about how I designed my own garden using permaculture design principles (without having read about them). The report can be downloaded below:
A small number of goldfinches spend their winter holiday in the lowlands around Trondheimsfjord, a very good choice I would say! I’ve never seen them in summer here . I heard the characteristic twittering flight call this morning for the first time this winter and then saw 4 of them this afternoon on burdock (borre) seed heads next to my outhouse (see the two videos below). Goldfinches have long and thin bills allowing them to extract seeds from burdock, other thistles, sunflowers and teasel /kardeborre (Dipsacus), although they have never shown any interest in the teasel I’ve grown for them.
You can read how my growing burdock as a vegetable attracted them to my garden , at that time a rare bird in this area: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=8810
The map below shows the concentration of sightings of flocks of goldfinches in Malvik in my garden and elsewhere nearby from Malvik to Midtsandan, on the southern shores of the fjord (only flocks of more than 20 birds are plotted).