Tag Archives: Strutseving

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)!

30 point ostrich!

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).

Ramslia

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!

Homla ostrich fern tour; 17th May 2017

Yet another wondrous walk along the Homla canyon in Malvik , this time with Berit Børte, Marit By and Ane Mari Aakernes 

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)


Alys’ Pool

P1080261
Nævrahølet
P1080260
Ostrich fern / strutseving
P1080263
Saxifraga cotyledon / Mountain Queen / Flelldronning racemes hanging from the rocks to the right of the waterfall…
P1080268
An island of ostrich fern / strutseving in the river
P7175807
Alys Fowler​ in Nævrahølet

Almost exactly 6 years ago (is it really that long ago?) I was delighted to have a visit from BBC gardening presenter and Guardian writer Alys Fowler. After we finished photographing the garden I took her on a tour to Vennafjellet, the closest mountain to home and we also stopped at Nævrahølet, a local swimming “hole” under a small waterfall! It was a glorious hot day in “paradise”. It’s now known as Alys’ Pool and a picture of her swimming here features in her book the Thrifty Forager!

6 years on I did the same trip with the group of Danes who have been learning about permaveggies in my garden! It was a much colder day, but two of us did venture into the water. It wasn’t as bad as feared! One thing I hadn’t noticed on Alys’ visit was that there were several plants of Mountain Queen (Saxifraga cotyledon) hanging in full flower around the waterfall!

See the video of Ostrich Fern Island below:
P1080258

P1080259 P1080262

Bonus Day 4 Permaveggies grafting course

It wasn’t planned at all (the best things aren’t), but our Swedish guests Christian Odberger and Dante Hellstrøm stayed over until Monday evening to dig up a few (!) must-have plants from my garden. Our “camper” Berit  Børte also accepted the offer to stay over until Monday.  Christian had brought grafting material with him and kindly volunteered to do a grafting course for us, so here are the pictures of Christian, Berit and my garden helper Lorna from Belfast grafting some 6 varieties of apple on to a wild apple tree, the seeds of which I collected at Warsash (on the solent), Hampshire UK some 13-14 years ago!! AND it was a beautiful afternoon too! See also http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=4617

P1590640
Lorna taking notes next to my Udo (you can almost see it grow at this time of year!) and ostrich ferns
P1590659
We discovered that Rheum palmatum, ornamental rhubarb, has a pleasant taste, less acid than common rhubarb!
P1590661
Udo and ostrich fern

P1590639 P1590641 P1590643 P1590644 P1590646 P1590647 P1590648 P1590651 P1590653 P1590654 P1590660 P1590664 P1590665 P1590666 P1590667 P1590668 P1590669 P1590670

Permaveggies Course Day 3: Ostrich fern tour along the Homla

As usual, the highlight of these weekends is the incredible walk along the river Homla just 20 minutes from home with large quantities of Ostrich Fern along the way, truly one of Norway’s most beautiful plants and also most delicious!!

P1590537

P1590540
Storfossen (literally large waterfall!), the second highest waterfall at 40m in our region (Trøndelag). There’s a total fall of 80m in 3 waterfalls. If you’re lucky you can see salmon trying to climb the lowest of the 3!
P1590541
Participants showering in the drizzle from the waterfall stood in awe of this wonderfull sight, so close to Trondheim, but hardly known! We saw only a handful of other people on the trail in 4 hours!

P1590543

P1590544

P1590545

P1590546

P1590547

P1590551

P1590554

P1590559
We found a few fungi. This is Fomitopsis pinicola / rødrandkjuke

Basidioradulum radula (Tannsopp), earlier classified with the Hedgehog fungi!

P1590562

P1590564
Christian thinking about going for a swim?

P1590565

P1590576
Happy participants, HIGH on nature and wild food!
P1590574
Happy participants, HIGH on nature and wild food!
P1590577
This dandelion was collected as it had a good mild taste!
P1590579
Ostrich fern / Strutseving
P1590583
Ostrich fern / Strutseving
P1590580
One of the confusion species that shouldn’t be eaten! With Anemone nemerosa (wood anemone / hvitveis) and Chrysosplenium alternifolium (Golden saxifrage/maigull)
P1590588
Roof garden!

P1590592

P1590595
There’s a lot of up and downs along the 4 hour walk (with stops) from Storfossen to Hommelvik!

P1590599

P1590600

P1590601
Everyone stopped in awe again at this beautiful rich stand of ostrich ferns which had come much further than in the cold air by the river
P1590605
We found this Swede communing with the ferns
P1590611
…Berit had a go too…next year we will have a group ostrich fern hug I think!

P1590613

P1590614

P1590616

P1590617
Hidden among the ferns are other edibles like nettle / nesle and giant bellflower (Campanula latifolia)

P1590618

P1590619

P1590620

P1590622
Fomitopsis pinicola / rødrandkjuke

P1590623

P1590628
The field horsetail/ common horsetail / kjerringrokk / (Equisetum arvense) is another sign of spring. The plant is known as sugina (杉菜) in Japanese, literally “cryptomeria vegetable”, possibly from the appearance of the green stems. The fertile stems at the stage shown are known as tsukushi (土筆). The ideograms literally mean “soil brush”, based on their shape. A common foraged vegetable in spring!! DON’T plant it in your garden, it is one of the most invasive plants on open land! BUT, one shouldn’t use large amounts…this is a spring vegetable used in a short period in spring!!
P1590625
Knuskkjuke (Fomes fomentarius) is the tinder fungus used to start a fire!
P1590635
Upon returning home we made a green pasta sauce with ostrich ferns (cooked for 15 minutes), Hablitzia shoots, Norrlands onion (see my book) for all 3), soaked dried chantarelles, organic tomatoes, garlic, chili, seasoned with cuban oregano, bay leaves and served over a choice of hemp pasta and emmer wheat pasta from Etikken in Trondheim!