The numbers of red admiral butterflies have been building up over the last week and today with my large Buddleja davidii in full flower and warm summer weather, I counted at least 15 of the beauties, no doubt second generation butterflies from the influx we had earlier in the summer. I reported this earlier in our national web-based reporting system. To my surprise this was the largest number reported this year not only in the county but in the whole country! It seems to be a poor year for red admirals in the south of the country. My Buddleja (butterfly bush / sommerfuglbusk) has become large despite cutting it back severely every winter. It was planted here under the balcony so that I could get a good view from above from a self-sowed plant from another bush in the garden in 2010.
To celebrate our good friends’ Jurgen Wegter and Ingvild Haga’s 50th birthdays together with Meg’s 50-year anniversary of arriving in Europe for the first time (in Southampton near where I lived at the time) as well as my 50 year anniversary of leaving school and a memorable holiday with 20-30 school friends in Newton Ferrers in Devon, we made a special gourmet dinner of green mac-cheese. It had masses of veg mixed in – the year’s first broad beans and swiss chard, chicory, common sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), Allium senescens leaves, shallots and garlic from last year, rehydrated winter chantarelles, golpar – ground seed of hogweed – Heracleum spp., together with ramsons salt, chili, sun dried tomatoes and mustard, all in a wholegrain spelt white sauce with wholegrain spelt pasta; it was topped with alpine bistort bulbils). Not to be left out, the Extreme Salad Man contributed one of his Meditteranean diet inspired multispecies salads commemorating it is now almost 20 years since he put together a salad from home grown ingredients in Malvik comprising 537 ingredients. something the world hasn’t seen before or since (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18997). The record was set on 24th August 2003. This time there were a mere 106 ingredients….sad to see, but he must be losing it…. Thanks to Jurgen for the salad pictures:
We’ve had a lovely 3 day visit this last weekend from artist Elin Eriksen from Nesodden starting a project based on my perennial vegetables. She sketched and photographed candidate plants in all 3 of my gardens, The Edible Garden, Ringve Botanical Gardens Onion Garden and the World Garden at Væres Venner! We look forward to seeing the results!
Elin has earlier created a poster of birds for Birdlife Norway (also for kids) and recently lead a course in botanical drawing for Sopp og Nyttevekstforbund at Valdres.
Tonight’s perennial vegetables from the garden, used in a stir-fry: Top right and clockwise: Sochan / Cherokee greens tops (Rudbeckia laciniata); Norsk: Kyss-meg- over-gjerde (picture at the bottom) Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) “Skomvær”; Norsk: engsyre (picture at the bottom) Garlic shoots (Allium sativum) from a clump grown as a perennial; Norsk: hvitløk Perennial chicory tops (Cichorium intybus) Urtica platyphylla (a Japanese nettle species; later than Urtica dioica) Cabbage thistle (Cirsium oleraceum); Norsk: kåltistel From top and down Sherpa onion (Allium wallichii); perfect time for harvesting; Norsk: Sherpaløk Hogweed tops (Heracleum); Norsk: bjørnekjeks Hosta fortunei var. albopicta f. aurea Allium nutans; Norsk: Sibirsk nikkeløkSochan tops are excellent A sorrel I collected at Skomvær, an island outermost in the Lofoten Islands; it is floriferous and has a compact growth form!
Presenting this year’s udo (Aralia cordata) almost fully extended 🙂 Thanks to Elin Eriksen for the picture (she has been Artist in Residence at the Edible Garden the last few days with focus on perennial vegetables)!
On Tuesday 23rd May I spent a great few hours together with Eva Johansson and Annevi Sjöberg from Sweden in my 3 gardens. They were on a fact-finding mission in connection with the project ”Främja fleråriga grönsaker i svensk matförsörjning” (Promoting perennial vegetables in the Swedish food supply). The project Främja fleråriga grönsaker i svensk matförsörjning is financed with funds from the Swedish Agency for Agriculture (Jordbruksverket) within the framework of the Swedish food strategy (den svenska livsmedelsstrategin). The project runs until Dec 2023. The Skillebyholm Foundation manages the project. Jen from Nottingham in the UK was visiting this week to help and learn, thanks to an RHS bursary! She joined us on the trip and can also be seen in the pictures below!
Being the focus of an art installation wasn’t something I ever imagined, but since February an installation has been exhibited at the Trondheim Art Museum Gråmølna based on my January winter vegetables and very nicely put together it was too, by a group of international artists working on the Meatigation (get it?) project through the MOREMEATLESSMEAT exhibition. This was designed to stimulate debate on why it is difficult to get Norwegians to reduce their meat consumption in the face of climate change. They visited me in January filmed me harvesting in the cellar, in the living rooms and outside and took away about 30 of my winter vegetables that were then scanned and exhibited with narrative provided by yours truly: JANUARY HERBARIUM For those that don’t know me, I am more or less 100% self-sufficient in vegetables and fruit all year round without using a greenhouse, additional heating or light (we use far less heating than most) and not owning a freezer.
Last Sunday (30th April 2023) between 14 and 16 the closing event focussed on the myth that one cannot avoid importing vegetables in winter here in Norway through the UNPACKING THE EDIMENTALS HERBARIUM event. It was fittingly also the #internationaldayofthedandelion a plant I eat most days year round (forced from roots in winter in my cellar and living rooms). To accentuate that vegetable diversity is possible even in cold Norway in winter, with snow showers outside the venue, at a time of year known as the Hungry Gap (I call it the Full Gap as it really can be the time of greatest abundance!) I (#extremesaladman) prepared my most diverse winter/spring salad ever (and probably anywhere) with 163 botanical species, 199 different plants (including cultivars) and in total 211 ingredients (includes different plant parts, such as flowers and leaves from the same plant). I prepared two different looking salads from the same ingredients! The list of ingredients can be found at the bottom (a list was also hung up on the wall so that the participants could read what they were eating!)
The second salad:
I was asked a series of questions and gave answers supported by various plants I’d brought with me: Allium cernuum (nodding onion / prærieløk) Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) (both are available most of the winter outside) Allium pskemense x fistulosum (Wietse’s onion / Wietsesløk) Allium stipitatum (Persian shallot / Persisk sjalott) Vicia faba (dried broad beans / bondebønner) Beta vulgaris “Flavescens” (swiss chard / mangold) Angelica archangelica “Vossakvann” (Voss angelica / Vossakvann) Taraxacum spp. (dandelion / løvetann – demonstrating dandichokes / løveskokker and dandinoodles / dandinudler)
The questions were: BIODIVERSITY: Why is agricultural biodiversity important? PRESERVATION: Why preserve heritage varieties of edible plants?EMOTION: Why joy, pleasure & humor in food and farming? WINTER: What could we eat in the winter? Preservation & fresh. FUTURE: What could a Norwegian food future taste like if plants were at the center?
There were of course also many questions from the participants about what different plants were in the salads. I mentioned that the salads were originally not just the result of a slightly mad collectomanic’s work in Malvik but also had an important message. My second and still current world record salad was made 20 years ago in August 2003 (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=294). It had been inspired by the Mediterranean diet, where ethnobotanical studies on the back of the discovery of the low levels of cardiovascular disease in people eating traditional diets had revealed a huge diversity of plant species used in the Mediterranean region (over 3,000 species). Not only that, but traditional multi species salads, soups, calzones etc., often with over 50 different species had been discovered – more in my book Around the World in 80 plants). This week just 4 days before the event national broadcaster NRK had published an article once again pointing to the Mediterranean Diet as being the healthiest one! See NRK article.
The previous winter / spring record with 140 ingredients was made for Credo Restaurantat the Kosmorama Film Festival in 2017.
PREPARING THE SALAD ON MY BIRTHDAY The pictures below show me collecting the salad ingredients the day before which was my birthday, what better way of spending the day :)
On the way to the event, waiting at the bus stop with salad and plants as the snow came down!
Pictures from the event (taken by Anne Maisey from TKM Gråmølna):
Many thanks to Liz Dom who lead the event and project leaders Cat Kramer and Zack Denfeld and Anne Maisey from the museum, who took part remotely from Porto in Portugal at the start, for a great collaboration!
It’s always a pleasure to spend time with students from the Fosen Folk High School from the other side of the fjord. Despite the dreadful weather, we visited all 3 of my sites – the onion garden Chicago at the Ringve Botanical Gardens followed by the Væres Venners Community Garden and, finally, my own garden The Edible Garden (this is the first time I’ve taken a group to all 3 sites!). Those that took part were two of the “lines”: The Self-sufficiency line and the The Organic Farming line (small scale). The Organic Farming line were only on the first two visits, so the picture only shows the Self-sufficiency folk!
I had to go to Stjørdal this morning to renew my driver’s license. I took the bus there and returned with the train along the fjord to Trondheim as I needed to go to the botanical garden, a distance of about 34 km…and this beautiful train journey only costs kr 42, the same price as taking the bus anywhere in Trondheim!
This video shows a short stretch from Haugan to Malvik and the last few seconds shows my red house on the hill!
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden