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)!
On the way up the mountain at Alvastien Telste I found a particularly fertile ostrich fern with 30 fertile fronds! This is the edible wild plant equivalent of a moose with antlers with many points ;)
These much shorter fronds which carry the spores are one of the most important distinguishing features of ostrich fern (the taller fronds don’t have spores).
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).
Ostrich Fern (strutseving)
Ants on pine tree
Aspen (osp) and the fjord
Young blackcap (munk)
My second unsuccessful attempt to find ramsons (ramsløk) at its northernmost natural site at Ramslia in Nord Trøndelag (on the other side of Trondheimsfjord from my place). Neverthless, it was a great day out with one of my ex-OCEANOR work colleagues Jarle Tronstad who owns an old mountain farm in the area!
Another magical walk along the Homla Canyon in Malvik in the company of wwoofer of the week :) First, a parade of Ostrich Ferns along the bank of the Homla river
A dipper (fossekall), Norway’s national bird flew past us singing as it flew and landed conveniently on some rocks 50m upstream:
Yet another wondrous walk along the Homla canyon in Malvik , this time with Berit Børte, Marit By and Ane Mari Aakernes
I had a little time to spare on Monday 8th May 2017, before my talk in the evening in Oslo. I went for a little walk on the coastal path (kyststien) on Nesodden where my son lives. Here’s a few pictures…
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).