Tag Archives: Strutseving

Status of the Granvin victory onion location

In June 2009, I was shown the only naturalised stand of victory onion (Allium victorialis) in south western Norway (away from Lofoten Islands – Vestvågøy – and Bodø area where there are several large populations, possibly a Viking introduction there which has subsequently spread).  It’s also found in a damp woodland (which regularly floods in spring) along the Granvinselven (the Granvin river) in south west Norway (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10658). It is suggested that the onion came to Granvin by way of the so-called Jektefart (a trade route based on dried fish from Lofoten to western Norway), was planted in a garden close to the site, subsequently naturalising from there!

Naturalised locations of Allium victorialis in Norway showing the isolated Granvin site (the location near Oslo is probably extinct

In late October 2014, there was a major flood in western Norway (https://nn.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oktoberflaumen_i_2014) which caused a lot of damage including in Granvin. Over 200mm rain was recorded over 3 days in several places and up to 330mm! Although not a record, it had already rained a lot for most of October and the ground was already saturated when the worst rain happened…leading to a totally unexpected extreme event.

I heard rumours that the victory onion location had been severely impacted by this event, so when we drove past Granvin on the way back from the Nordic Permaculture Festival in Jondal, I took the opportunity to visit the location! This confirmed that the site is much reduced and there is visible signs of erosion including a dried up channel through the middle of the wooded island where the onion is found (the river was very low due to the drought). In addition, I was surprised to find that a path had been constructed between the river and the school. This is part of a major civil engineering work in Granvin to protect the low lying inhabited areas from flooding (see https://www.nve.no/nytt-fra-nve/nyheter-skred-og-vassdrag/granvin-har-fatt-betre-tryggleik-mot-flaum )
A video showing the completed works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Keg-BSrAi94 shows aerial views of “victory onion island” between 0:56 – 1:24!
These works may lead to further erosion and destruction of the island….
Seeds were actually already ripe due to the hot summer and I therefore collected seed to safeguard the Granvin onion to be offered to Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) through our autumn catalogue which will be produced in October!
From my friend Geir Flatabø: “Jaunssen Gjestgjevarstad (Jaunssen Guest House) in Granvin has begun to harvest / use the onion, and makes pesto served to guests, with good feedback.”

Other relevant articles:
Hagetidend (Norwegian gardening magazine) profile http://www.edimentals.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/6_Seiersl%C3%B8k_fra_Vestv%C3%A5g%C3%B8y.pdf

A report from my 2009 “onion safari” to Lofoten, Tromsø and Granvin can be found here (in Norwegian with English comments)  http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18527 (some of this material ended up in my book Around the World in 80 plants))

Belated happy birthday to me

The first veggie food I ate was macaroni cheese and chips at Edwin Jones (now Debenhams) in Southampton, a treat when we Mum took us shopping back in the 60s…

Most years since I’ve followed this tradition on or near my birthday, no chips this year as the potatoes have run out and nowadays the macaroni cheese is mixed with masses of green stuff both from the garden and, yesterday, fiddleheads harvested on the Homla walk. This is more or less the only time in the year I have dessert and the only time I eat sugar…in rhubarb crumble, also with family roots back to the 60s :)

rhubarb crumble, also with family roots back to the 60s :)

 

Homla walk May 2018

Pictures from this week’s 5 hour (botanist pace) walk along the spectacular Homla canyon, the start about 14 km from home!

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)