Several species of bumblebee were queuing up for a turn on the Allium pskemense x cepa hybrid in the garden this afternoon:
North Pole? Yesterday I worked for the first time this year at the Væres Venner Community Garden where KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) and I are involved. When I arrived there was a pair of white wagtails (linerle) at the North Pole of the World Garden (I’ve planted mainly perennial vegetables geographically on a 12m diameter garden with the centre representing the north pole, marked by a pile of rocks) :)
Otherwise, honey bees were active on a group of dwarf daffodils (påskeliljer), significantly earlier than other Narcissus:
First serious dig of the year preparing an area for potatoes, removing the last of the couch grass (kveke) roots (I hope) and planted about 30 Sarpo potatoes (Sarpo Mira and Sarpo Tominia). Also sowed broad beans, planted onion sets and caraway root (karve).
Overwintering of the 100+ fruit, berry and nut trees seems to be very good!
A dark green fritillary (aglaya perlemorvinge) and my second red-tailed bumlebee (steinhumle) on my Buddleja and Clematis vitalba (old man’s beard….not me!)
Yesterday, I registered red-tailed bee / steinhumle (Bombus lapidarius) for the first time at the community garden (Væres Venner), the first time in this part of Trondheim. This is a common species in the city and is probably the commonest bumblebee in the Allium garden at the botanical gardens. Today, I saw this species for the first time in my own garden, the first record in this area. It was on Allium pskemense, probably the most popular plant in my garden for bumblebees. In the second video you can see both the white-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum; lys jordhumle) and tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum; trehumle). Please correct me if I’m wrong!
I didn’t expect to find a bumble bee feeding first thing this morning but I found this Bombus hypnorum (tree bumblebee/trehumle) busy visiting flowers of Ribes divaricatum and its selection Worcesterberry. The air temperature was about freezing…
It has self-sowed freely and seems to have crossed with other accessions of Phyteuma spicata with white and blue (ssp. caeruleum) flowers that I have in my garden (these have not self-sowed much) as there is now a mix of colours in the original spot I planted nigrum. Phyteuma spicatum/nigra is also the most popular bee plant in my garden in mid-June and a great edimental (one of the edi-entomentals, plants combining food, ornament as well as good for bees and other pollinators!). Phyteuma spicatum (rapunsel) is a very old root vegetable in Europe, mentioned already in Gerard’s Herball from 1597, but best known as a vegetable in France and Germany! The name rapunsel is related to rapa (turnip) due to its use as a root vegetable!
See my blog post from 23rd June 2017 with pictures and video of black rampion: http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=11910
I tried Phyteuma spicatum as a root vegetable in 2013 and was struck by its good sweetish taste:
I harvested a lot of plants this week (late July 2018) while remaking the bed where it was growing and was impressed by the good size of roots and yields, although it is unknown how old the individual plants were (I plan to grow some of the smaller plants elsewhere to see how quickly they grow in a shady area of the garden, as this could be a good forest garden plant, although, like Jerusalem artichoke, plants in the Campanulaceae to which Phyteuma belongs, contain the diabetic friendly but poorly digestable carbohydrate inulin):
The flower heads can also be used as a vegetable, reminiscent of Bath Asparagus flower heads (Ornithogalum pyrenaicum) see the picture from its wiki page:
I saw the plant in the wild for the first time in Austria in the Alps on my Arche Noah tour in 2017 (see http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=11483), the white flowered form, growing in open woodlands.
In Norway, it grows wild a few places in southern Norway and has also naturalised in parks, including the great garden at Baroniet Rosendal (see the video and pictures at http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=15680). It is also found in the far north of Norway in Finnmark where it naturalised during World War II, introduced by the Germans with horse forage!
The name rapunsel is related to rapa (turnip) due to its use as a root vegetable!
http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=11910 (with video)
Other European languages: Raiponce en épi (French), ährige Teufelskralle (German), ährige Rapunzel (Swiss German), and Raponzolo giallo (Italian)
I’ll be offering seed this autumn via Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN):