Category Archives: Garden tour

Mountain Gardens tour with Joe Hollis

A year ago, on 22nd September 2019, Joe Hollis had invited me to do a walk and talk with him at his Mountain Gardens in North Carolina! Before the event he took me around the woodlands to show me the woodland flora. I made a short video at most of the plants to help me remember what they were. I’ve now put them together into one video (see below). Joe talks briefly about the following plants:
Disporum spp. (trachycarpum?)  (medicinal)
Medeola virginiana; Indian cucumberroot
Hosta sieboldiana (self-seeding)  (food)
Panax quinquefolius; American ginseng
Prenanthes trifolioliata; Gall of the earth (Food and medicine)
Smilax rotundifolia; common greenbrier (Food and medicine)
Acer spp.; maple
Castanea spp.; chestnut
Sassafras albidum; sassafras (Medicine and beverage/spice)
Cacalia delphinifolia? (Far Eastern edible and medicinal)
After the video is a gallery of photos taken on the same tour. Will post more from the walk and talk later.
This is one of several blog posts about my visit to Joe. See more by searching here:


Visitors from Ohio

One year ago, it was a pleasure to spend some time touring Joe Hollis’ Mountain Gardens with these three guys who’d come all the way from NE Ohio and Columbus Ohio (an 8-9 hour drive).
John Wright from NE Ohio
Isaac John Koblentz from NE Ohio via Scandinavia :)
Jared Morris (Columbus, Ohio) (he gave me some delicious pawpaws, Asimina triloba)

A visit from Oslo and Kirkenes

With most Norwegians holidaying in different parts of Norway this year, there are a lot of folks passing Malvik both northwards and southwards and I’ve recently had several requests to visit the garden again. On Saturday,  I spent a pleasant couple of hours in the company of Mads Pålsrud (from GROWLAB, who designed Norwegian Seed Savers / KVANN’s logos) and musician/gardener Bård Watn from Oslo who were here together with Karoline Rånes Fagerheim, who lives in Kirkenes, and her friend Rannveig:

Mads took the following pictures during the garden tour (nice to see what somebody else notices in the garden)

The Allium garden at Ringve

19th June 2020: Video update from the Allium (Chicago) garden at the NTNU Ringve Botanical Gardens in Trondheim. The heat wave has brought many species into flower and the garden’s looking great! 
The official opening of the garden, planned for August, has been postponed to 2021. We are working on plant signs which will hopefully be added later in the summer.
The garden currently contains some 300 accessions including around 100 Allium species and many old Norwegian onions collected over several years from all over the country and funded by Norsk Genressurssenteret and Landbruksdirektoratet.
The signs for the garden are in part funded through a gift from Skjærgaarden ( to KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) who have decided to use the gift at Ringve (see

A tour of the lower parts

I thought I’d take you for a tour of the lower parts of the garden including the forest garden. No commentary, let’s just listen to the birds and observe. In the first video, I unexpectedly stumble on a willow warbler (løvsanger), my first in the garden this year, foraging on the ground in the cold weather….you can otherwise hear singing redwing (rødvingetrost), great tit (kjøttmeis), fieldfare (gråtrost), meadow pipit (heipiplerke), house sparrow (gråspurv) and blue tit (blåmeis) in one of the two videos.

In the gardens at the Gothenburg Botanics in January

I also walked around the outside gardens during my visit to the Gothenburg Botanical Gardens on Saturday 25th January 2020. In the mild weather, there were many people out walking and running in the garden. Here’s an album of pictures of edibles and other interesting plants and a video of the large Actinidia arguta in the Asiatic woodland garden. 

Actinidia arguta

Edibles in the January Bulb Garden at the Gothenburg Botanics

On my way north from Vienna to Oslo, I found myself unexpectedly with a 4 hour wait in Gothenburg in Sweden, and there was no hesitation to visit one of the great botanical gardens. I had no idea what there would be to see in January but with the mild winter I was surprised how much there was to see. Here are a collection of wierd and wonderful edibles in the unique bulb house!

A weekend in paradise: arrival and the Celo Inn

In April 2018 both myself and Joe Hollis were invited as speakers at The Potential of Perennials for Food System Resilience Symposium in Stans,  Switzerland. I also had the opportunity to spend a great day botanising at two of Zurich’s Botanical Gardens with Joe, see

Joe said to me at the time that I should come visit if I was ever in the US. I already knew at that time I was invited by Sam Thayer and Melissa Price to the Midwest Wild Harvest Festival at the end of September this year, but Joe’s place seemed a long trek south, so I forgot the idea. Then this spring, I was asked if I would be interested to do a talk at the Atlanta Botanical Garden….and I managed to change my travel plans to do this…and looking at the map I noticed it wasn’t too far from Joe’s Mountain Gardens (aka as Paradise)! So I contacted him and he replied: “Good to hear from you and that is great news!  I am very much looking forward to showing you around my garden and adjacent National Forest land, there is a lot to see”.

So it came to past that I arrived in Asheville, North Carolina on 21st September 2019 and picked up a hire car as Joe’s place was an hour or more up in the Black Mountains subrange of the Appalachians. Four hours later I arrived at my hotel, the Celo Inn (as for why it took so long see the album captions).  It turns out that the Celo community is one of the oldest intentiona communities in the world (1937), based on ideals of cooperation between residents and care for the natural environment….and it turns out that a neighbour and old colleague back in Trondheim actually went to school here…small world!

The pictures below show the approach road to Mountain Gardens from the Celo Inn (only a 5-10 min, drive away) and my first look into the garden!

Entering the garden for the first time I spy what is probably the native North American devil’s walking stick Aralia spinosa in full flower. Does this species flower much later than Japanese Aralia elata? My A. elata had finished flowering at home.

The following morning I walked around the grounds of the Celo Inn on a warm sunny day with monarch and swallowtail butterflies on the ornamental Asters. The owners had quite extensive vegetable beds and the ripe chilis bore witness that the summers were hot even up here in the mountains.

A type of swallowtail butterfly at the Celo Inn

With Joe Hollis in Paradise!

What an amazing place, at Joe Hollis’ Mountain Gardens in North Carolina yesterday!
My favourite forest garden anywhere!! At 77, Joe is still expanding having purchased more land and with several new projects!
Thanks to all who came including the three who drove down from Ohio for the event (9+ hours!)
The picture shows me and Joe in his largest patch of Udo (Aralia cordata). Very much more when I get the time….on to Atlanta today and the gig at the Botanical Garden tomorrow!

KVANNs Åpne Hager / Norwegian Seed Savers Open Gardens

Norsk: Det arrangeres åpne hager i KVANN’s (Norwegian Seed Savers) nettverk denne uken. Mine to hagevandringer er dessverre utsolgt, men du kan se hva vi holder på med hos Væres Venner på Ranheim i Trondheim førstkommende søndag (det blir hagevandringer kl. 13 og 15). Velkommen til et av arrangementene! En liste av åpne hager finner dere nederst (se også FB arrangementet:
English Members of Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) welcome you to their gardens in different parts of Norway this week. Unfortunately, the two garden tours at my place are full, but come along and see what we’re up to at Væres Venner community garden in Ranheim (Trondheim) on Sunday (garden tours at 13 and 15). See the list of open gardens below or on the FB event
Matskogen på Landås i Bergen, ved Benedicte Brun, lørdag 7 september.
Ilka Clemens, Rekbubakkan 107, Frosta, har siden 2016 bygd opp grønnsakshage etter permakulturprinsipper, og holder på å anlegge skoghage. Bygde ifjor geodome sammen med naboen, som del av grønnsakshagen. Pilhekk i belgisk stil. Velkommen til Ilka helgen 7 & 8 september!

Tina Lambert i Hommelvik, åpner sin nyetablerte permakulturhage, i Smebergvegen 7, 7550 Hommelvik, hele dagen torsdag 5 september. Tlf 98437789

Hannah Testroet på Fåberg ved Lillehammer ønsker også velkommen til sin hage i Stuksrudvegen 216, 2625 Fåberg, torsdag 5 september. Tlf 92337319

Nina Bergitte Bentzen åpner sin hage i Storgata 20, 3970 Langesund, hvor hun siden 2013 har bygd opp en hage i pallekarmer i en bakgård midt i byen. Har forsket på og praktisert økologi i sin parsell ved Brobekk skolehage i Oslo siden slutten av 80-tallet. Har også en frukthage i Drøbak. Tlf 47702789

Susanne Friis Pedersen, Gunnars veg 6, 6630 Tingvoll.
Stjernehagen er en demonstrasjonshage for økologisk drift, med rikt utvalg av grønnsaker urter og bær. Tlf 92010236

Ringebu Prestegårdshage, ved Halldis Myhre Tvedte, holder åpen cafe for siste gang denne sesongen onsdag 4 september fra kl 10-17. Ligger ved Ringebu stavkirke, ca 3 km sør for Ringebu sentrum. Hagen har en ganske stor samling roser, stauder og fjellhagebed, urter og georginer. Gamle epletrær, nye kirsebær, og bærbusker.
Tlf 91511694

Lillian Stavnes, Åmnes i Meløy kommune, sør for Bodø, åpner sin hage med grønnsaker, urter, bær, stauder og sommerblomster. Tlf 977 19 585

Elisa Helgebostad på den lille øya Helgbostadøya i tilknytning til Hitra, åpner sitt hagebruk tirsdag 3 september. Her dyrkes det etter økologiske prinsipper med innslag av permakulturtankegang, til storfamile og resturanter. Se etter Helgebostad Hagebruk på facebook og instagram, tlf 98815110, kontakt Elisa for å avtale tidspunkt.

Merethe Lauen, Måløy, holder åpent tirsdag 3 september fra kl 18. 200 m2 hage med fokus på å bygge jord og å kunne dyrke mat hele året uten drivhus. Her er frukttrær, bærbusker, urter, grønnsaker! Inspirert av permakultur med flere hügelbed. Tlf 92657316

Anne Karen Næss, Farveisa Bø i Vesterålen, åpner sin hage torsdag 5 september fra kl 15 og utover. Økologisk, spiselig forblåst og forsøksvis permakulturell hage, på yttersia i Vesterålen. Langt fra fjell og skog, men veldig nært havet og horisonten. Hagen har vokst seg større gjennom omtrent ti år. Bruker mest tang som gjødsel. Omtrent 1 mål ettårige vekster, samt en liten, men innholdsrik staudehage med mange spiselige løkvekster. Nås på tlf 95753464.

Alvastien Telste, ved Eirik Lillebøe Wiken, Klyvevegen 181, 5612 Steinstø, holder åpen hage torsdag 5 september fra kl 18. I Alvastien holdes kurs og workshops, som inspirasjonssenter for permakultur og bærekraftig livstil. Her er en 127 mål stor skoghage med mange hager i seg. Tlf 90368935

Væres Venners Felleshage i Malvik nord for Trondheim holder åpent søndag 8 september kl 12 til 16. Her jobbes det med en større felleshage med parseller, oldemorshage og verdenshage!
Se Arrangement settes opp i forbindelse med Klimafestivalen. (Kontakt: Stephen)

Min (Stephens) hage og LAND-senter (Learning, Activity, network and Demonstration), i Malvikveien 418, 7563 Malvik, med hans store samling av urter, nyttevekster, spiselige stauder, nyttebusker og trær fra hele verden :) Hagevandringer torsdag 5 sept, kl 13 og 15 (de to hagevandringene i regi av Klimafestivalen er dessverre utsolgt, men om det er nok interesse blant KVANN medlemmer setter Stephen gjerne opp en ekstra hagetur. Ta kontakt med Stephen!)