The climate is such here that starting runner beans / blomsterbønner (Phaseolus coccineus) in mid-May they normally aren’t ready to harvest until September and the first frosts in October usually stop their development. Growing seed to maturity is also a challenge in many years, so it’s difficult to select better and earlier varieties more suited to my climate. Early October and we are only just managing to eat all the runner beans. Only once in the almost 40 years I’ve been growing them here was there such a big harvest that I had to preserve them. Not having a freezer, they were salted for later use. These were used in a fish soup this week, sliced using an English runner bean shredder! I grew two varieties this year, the heirloom Painted Lady with bicoloured red and white flowers and red flowered Firestorm with very long stringless beans. Firestorm was a little later. They were transplanted outside at home and in the Americas part of the World Garden at the Væres Venner Community Garden.
One of the few plants in my garden which isn’t edible is my large Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush / sommerfuglbusk), a wonderful entomental (loved by insects and an ornamental appreciated by Homo sapiens too!). It is strategically placed beneath the balcony so that I can look down from above. As chance has it, I had also planted old man’s beard / tysk klematis (Clematis vitalba) to climb up onto the balcony. The latter is equally popular with late summer pollinators, mainly hoverflies. So this is one of the best spots for watching and photographing the local insect life. However, after coming into flower 2-3 weeks ago there were no butterflies, but a rare 20C day brought them out and both painted lady (tistelsommerfugl; the first since the bumper year two years ago and only the second recorded this summer in Trøndelag county), red admiral (admiral) and comma / hvit C were out yesterday! But it’s at night that the butterfly bush is covered with pollinators, notably an estimated 200 large yellow underwing moths (hagebåndfly)
My Dad (95) has always grown Runner Beans, so I have them in my blood. Moving to Norway, I was surprised to find that they were mostly grown as ornamental plants. Indeed, they are called Blomsterbønner (flowering beans) here. Similarly, broad (fava) beans were also rarely grown as a vegetable although both are being more commonly found in veggie gardens today. However, my cool windy shady hillside garden isn’t ideal for growing runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus), really needing a warm south facing spot for reliable yields. However, being in my blood I have to grow them every year, but some years I wonder why I bother, but still hoping for that bumper yield that we had once many years ago. There were so many that we salted many for winter use. Well, it looks like this year may finally be that year that my runner beans do crop well and there are already many young beans, perhaps a month earlier than normal, mainly due to the record warm June here when they grew almost as quickly as in Dad’s garden (we compare notes by phone every week!). However, a very cold July turned things around until things started moving again in August. This year I’m growing four different varieties with different flower colour (we can at least enjoy the flowers!) 1. Celebration 2. Heirloom Painted Lady 3. Czar 4. Plain old red Firestorm
This summer we’ve experienced a big swing in temperatures from one month to the next…from a record cold May to a record warm June followed by most of July being also record cold. The warmth in June straight after planting my runner beans on 11th (later than normal) resulted in quick growth and by the end of July the earliest variety, two-toned Painted Lady was already in flower, a month earlier than a normal year (if there is such a thing as normal anymore)….so maybe we are heading for a record crop, where runner beans are marginal and almost never give a good sized crop:
My courgettes (zucchini), planted out on 14th June on my shady composting area (no more than 2 hours of direct sunshine) also started cropping very early at the end of August:
Finally, I was surprised when folk told me last year that their Worcesterberries (a selection of Ribes divaricatum) ripened in July. I’m usually eating mine from the middle of September to the first frosts late in October, but they are also turning colour already:
With only a few inflorescences left on my Buddleja plants, the red admiral and painted lady (tistelsommerfugl) butterflies are transferring their attentions to other flowers in the garden, notably and most importantly Eupatorum cannabinum (hemp agrimony / hjortetrøst, seed of which came original from the banks of the River Itchen in Hampshire). Other flowers of choice at the moment are Anise hyssop (Agastache), Monarda and Marigold.
In the first video, the Red Admiral defends its hemp agrimony flower against a bumblebee!
There are record numbers of butterflies in the garden at the moment, crowding on the last Buddleja flowers. A few days ago, I counted 35 butterflies, about equal numbers of painted ladies (tistelsommerfugl) and red admirals (admiral) with a few small tortoiseshells (neslesommerfugl) as well as a lot of silver y moths (gammafly). All are seen in this video taken from my balcony which overlooks the largest Buddleja.
When I saw this larva in the garden on a cultivated Malva sylvestris (common mallow / apotekerkattost), I didn’t imagine this was a painted lady / tistelsommerfugl (Vanessa cardui), but it turns out that mallows (Malva spp.), other members of the Asteraceae and comfrey (Symphytum) can all feed the larvae!
The Allium garden at the Ringve Botanical Garden (Chicago) in Trondheim contains a collection of old Norwegian onions used for food from all over Norway including Allium fistulosum (Welsh onion), A. x proliferum (Egyptian and Catawissa onions), A. oleraceum, A. vineale, A. ursinum, A. scorodoprasum and A.victorialis (the last four are wild or naturalised species that have been moved into gardens in the past for food and, in the case of ursinum and victorialis are currently being domesticated in a big way!
In addition, a collection of wild species and ornamental cultivars have been planted to demonstrate the diversity of the Allium family!
I’ll be adding pictures to the album below on a regular basis.
See more pictures on my FB album here: https://tinyurl.com/y489yldy
Allium hagen ved Ringve Botaniske Hagen (NTNU) i Trondheim inneholder en samling av gamle norske matløk samlet fra hele Norge i perioden 2008-2019. Dette inkluderte Allium fistulosum (pipeløk), A. x proliferum (luftløk), A. oleraceum, A. vineale, A. ursinum, A. scorodoprasum og A.victorialis (de fem siste er vill- eller naturaliserte arter som har blitt flyttet til hager som matplante før i tiden, og dette er fortsatt gjort når det gjelder ursinum (ramsløk) og victorialis (seiersløk) i økende grad!
I tillegg kan man her se en samling av ville arter og pryvarianter plantet for å demonstrere mangfoldet av Allium-slekten!
Hagen er støttet finansielt av Landbruksdirektoratet, og Genressurssenteret.
3 videos of Painted Ladies (Tistelsommerfugl) on Allium schoenoprasum on 11th June 2017
160819: Allium cernuum x stellatum?
160819: Allium wallichi
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden