Most people into permaculture in Scandinavia know of Lars Westergaard’s nursery in Denmark as one of the best sources of a range of hard to get (and unique, from Lars’ own selection work) fruit and nut trees. Lars has been working with production of organic plants for many years and commercially since 2009. It seems much longer! He specialises in walnuts, heartnuts, hazel, sweet chestnut, peach, mulberries, figs, haskaps and many more! I’ve been wanting to visit for some years and an opportunity finally arose after I’d given a couple of courses near Copenhagen in August 2016. It was a pity that Lars was “distracted” by several customers during our visit, so we didn’t have too much time to talk together…..but I was impressed by what I saw. Thanks to Aiah Noack for taking me…and looking forward to his plants becoming available in Norway soon :)
Streptopus amplexifolius is a shade loving woodland plant known, amongst others, as twistedstalk, wild cucumber and watermelon berry and has an extensive wild range including North America, Europe and East Asia. It has been used traditionally by Native Americans for its edible spring cucumber flavoured shoots and the delicious berries are now in season and I’ve been dining on them recently! I’m saving the seed as I eat! Beware that they can be laxative in large quantities, but it’s unlikely you will be able to grow that many in your forest garden!
060916: Added pictures of Streptopus lanceolatus from Eastern North America and a comparison of the berries with amplexifolius!
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Søren Holt suggested I should visit Knud Poulsen on my latest visit to Denmark. He’d visited Knud through meeting him through the Danish seed savers Frøsamlerne.dk.
Knud has a traditional parsellhage (small hut with garden) and two allotments, one of which belongs to his wife! A wonderful mix of unusual fruit and breeding of ornamentals! Here are a few pictures!
Apple trees in full bloom are a wonderful sight, aren’t they? I’ve seldom seen so many flowers on them as this and the rowans are also flowering well which probably means that the apple tree moth (rognebærmøll), which prefer rowans, will keep off the apples this year! (here’s a page about the moth http://ukmoths.org.uk/species/argyresthia-conjugella )
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
This Physalis which I’ve called “Indian Strain” is now going into its 7th year. I got this from Seed Savers Exchange in the US. However, that one is supposed to be a tomatillo and I wonder if I mixed it up with another I got at about the same time, P. heterophylla, clammy ground cherry, although the stems are not clammy (sticky) to the feel. That would explain it’s hardiness as it is found in the wild north to Canada (see http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=PHHEH3). I definitely planted heterophylla in the garden and it’s survived since 2009 without winter protection, but the summer is just too cold for fruit (it does flower).
It lives in a cold bedroom all year and produces a few fruit most of the year, even continuing to ripen fruit despite the temperature being often under 10C. The fruit are sweet and have good flavour. It’s not hugely productive but little bother (aphids don’t bother it). I cut it back when it gets too straggly. See also http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=2146. Anyone visiting is welcome to to a cutting. I harvested a few this morning:
A packet of seed arrived from a friend in a botanical garden that I trade with occasionally today. Chaenomeles cathayensis! I think there’s enough seed here to turn my diversity garden into a monoculture! And with the seed, some fruit leather made of the fruit of the same species :) Very tasty!
Looking down from the bedroom balcony on to a bed I know as “SSHB” (south side house bed, of course!). Here we see Akebia quinata attempting it’s world take over….but my Kiwi (sowed from a shop bought fruit some 15 years ago) refuses to be beaten and just manages to thrust a few leaves above the Akebia. You can also see flowering runner bean…really too late this year after last summer’s bumper crop…and perennial buckwheat…and flowering skirret…and my Amphicarpaea (hog peanut) is under that lot (need to help it a bit more next year…
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden