Tag Archives: The Edible Garden

Norway spruce in my garden

This is a long post to document the importance of Norway spruce, gran in norwegian (Picea abies) in my garden. All pictures shown are taken in the garden.
Milder weather has arrived with strong southerly winds and the garden around the twin spruce trees was covered in fallen spruce needles (video below), something which is only obvious when there’s snow on the ground. Norway spruce (Picea abies) needles live for only a few years before being shed. 

Pairs of spruce trees had been planted by the previous owners in the 1940s-1950s in four different parts of the garden and about 5 others have appeared,  presumably self-sown from the original plantings, although gran (Norwegian name) is a common forest tree in this area and an important economic species. Only one of the original pairs still exist as I felled them to make room for a  diversity of fruit and berries and because of an area of the garden had been attacked by an aggresive form of honey fungus (honningsopp) (see below). Despite finding honey fungus on the roots of the oldest two trees maybe twenty years ago they still seem to be in good health. On my exposed hilltop they’ve survived extreme winds, particularly Storm Dagmar at Xmas 2011 which felled large numbers of trees also in this area. The film below was put together from a series of still pictures some hours after the storm peak that destroyed my greenhouse; see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18189

This Google Street view picture from before Dagmar in 2010 shows the intact greenhouse and the pair of remaining oldest spruce trees and a couple of younger self-sown trees to the right (the yellow shed is in the neighbour’s garden).

Drone picture of the garden with the spruce trees on the far left (picture taken by Andrew McMillion on 30th July 2020)

There used to be two spruce trees to the south east of and quite close to the house but they were felled when I was terracing below the house in the 90s. We found that the trees were growing on an old rubbish tip with a lot of organic material as nettles grew prolifically here. 
…and one of original two on the western boundary next to the outhouse:
Large numbers of wood mushroom / snøballsjampinjong (Agaricus sylvicola) and a few blushing wood mushroom / blodsjampinjong (Agaricus sylvaticus) have grown under these spruce trees for many years. They are saprobic, living on decaying and dead spruce needles. The best trees were those by the outhouse (last picture above), but we had to take this one down as the neighbour was afraid it would fall over their house or the power cable. They also grew in large amounts around the remaining two spruce trees (pictures below) but I haven’t seen them for several years at the same time that hedge mustard / løkurt (Alliaria petiolata) invaded this area and I wonder if the allelopathic chemicals in this plant have impacted and killed the mushrooms. I have therefore been systematically removing the hedge mustard from the this area in the hope that the mushrooms will return. It’s amazing to think that those fallen spruce needles that we started with can transform into delicious food for us!

Invading Alliaria petiolata in the dry soil under the spruce trees.


Another edible fungi associated with spruce once appeared in the garden; Lactarius deterrimus (false saffron milkcap / granmatriske):

The Ethnobotany of Spruce
There are numerous food uses of Norway spruce to be found in the ethnobotanical literature. The inner bark has been used to make bark bread in the past in bad years; the immature cones have been cooked, the seed  have been eaten by children raw, the young shoots have been used to make tea and beer (and in modern times to make a sweetened drink), the needles have been used in the French/ Swiss cheeses Vacherin d’Abondance/ Vacherin Mont d’Or and the resin or gum (kvae) has been used as a chewing gum:

 

Other uses
I’ve used the wood of the felled trees of course to heat the house and the ash has been used for various purposes. A stump has also served as a chopping block for many years. I’ve also used branches to insulate and stop leaves from blowing away from areas of the garden like my sea kale bed that need winter protection:

Spruce used to keep leaves in place (my blackberry is underneath)
Used for splitting firewood

The importance of spruce for birds in my garden
The  two oldest spruce trees are also extremely important for many bird species both as an excellent song post, the top being the highest point in the garden, and a place with a good view of approaching predators. Both chffinches (bokfink), robin (rødstrupe), blackbird (svarttrost), dunnock (jernspurv), nuthatch (spettmeis), greenfinches (grønnfink), brambling (bjørkefink), redwings (rødvingetrost), chiffchaff (gransanger; the Norwegian name meaning “spruce singer”), various tits, notably coal tit (granmeis; again litereally meaning “spruce tit”)  and others sing from these trees. Here’s one video of a brambling singing and various links below to other posts I’ve made over the years of birds on these trees..

Spring gathering of starlings (stær) in one of my trees

Treecreeper and goldcrests are sometimes seen foraging in the spruce trees in winter, hosting favourite hiding places for numerous insects.  Here’s a recent blog post of a winter goldcrest: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=27332
Some birds cache nuts and seeds for winter in trees like spruce and others may accidentally discover this and raid the caches.
On warm winter days, waxwings (sidensvans) can often be seen hawking after insects from the tree tops. Various species also nest in my spruces, most obviously magpies (skjære) and hooded crows (kråke).

A blackbird (svarttrost) above showing off its improvisational and mimicking skills atop a spruce tree this morning! It’s been a bit too cold for much song activity over the last couple of weeks, but it’s slightly warmer today with a maximum of 7C this first day of May.

Woodpigeon (ringdue) enjoying the view

Then there are specialist species like common crossbill (grankorsnebb) that turn up in “cone years” and of course great spotted woodpeckers (flaggspett) are common visitors, particularly in winter, both eating the seeds.
More videos of birds in my spruce trees:
Robin singing https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=22735
Siberian nutcracker juggling with a nut https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=23661
Dunnock https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=21847 and https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=17325
Nuthatch and great spotted woodpecker on top https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=16566
Nutcracker and greenfinch  https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=12720

The first dunnock of 2021 atop one of the spruce trees in song this morning (17th April):


Flowers, cones, seeds to fungi 
An album of pictures showing the whole life cycle of flowers to pollen to cones to seed and the afterlife of cones and fallen needles colonised by fungi that give us and other creatures food:


Stumps
Stumps of spruce trees left to rot are also fascinating to follow through the years as they break down slowly helped along the way by fungi and colonised by mosses:

 

Hepatica
I’m also fortunate having a wild population of Hepatica nobilis (blåveis) and they often grow in dry soil below younger spruce trees: 

In the foreground are the three-lobed leaves of Hepatica nobilis

In a sunnier spot, Hepatica can flower profusely in early spring

Storage
Under the spruce trees is also a good spot to store pea and bean stakes as it’s dry.

Stakes for garden use are pretty dry under the shelter of mature spruce trees; small slow growing hazel (picture) and rowan grow closest to the spruce.

Growing out of nothing
It’s always amazing to see how such large trees grow on hardly any soil and I’ve noticed how, when removing stumps, how the tree itself has broken up the rock to create deeper soil over time. At the bottom of the garden, the lower two trees grow on even shallower soil and here you see large roots clambering over rocks in search of deeper soil:



Assorted celestial and other spruce pictures through the years
A final set of pictures featuring my wonderful spruce trees over the years in various poses with the moon, the sun and a rainbow. 





THE NEW EDIMENTALS SEED TRADE LIST FOR 2020-2021

WELCOME TO MY NEW SEED TRADE LIST FOR WINTER 2020-21, THIS YEAR WITH 334 VARIETIES
18, 19, 20 indicate the harvesting year for the seed. Concerning seed quantity: as I don’t have many plants of each species, seed quantity is limited in most cases. Therefore, for some species you may only get a few seeds. Many species are harvested in my garden. Others are surplus from trade and purchase. OUT: Means out of stock.  NB! Cultivars do not always come true. I offer them anyway, but no guarantees to what you will get!  
NOTE: I don’t sell seed and I won’t be doing many trades this winter due to a busy schedule. However, I offer all plus many more to members of Norwegian Seed Savers (KVANN) through our spring (February) “yearbook” and autumn catalogue. To become a member go to https://kvann.no/bli-med. It costs only kr. 250 / year plus postage and packing.
For trades, I am mainly interested in uncommon hardy perennials, but I may also be interested in annuals.
NB! Not all plants in this list are edible, although almost all are!
Botanical name / Cultivar / Year of Harvest / Info
Allium hookeri var muliense 20
Abelmoschus esculentus Silver Queen 19
Adenophora bulleyana  18
Adenophora pereskiifolia alba 18
Adenophora tashiroi  18
Adenophora triphylla var japonica Alba 20
Adenophora triphylla var japonica 19
Adenostyles alpina 19
Alcea rosea 18
Allium acuminatum 18
Allium aflatunense 18 From Kyrgyzstan
Allium albidum 18 From Kaukasus
Allium altaicum 20
Allium amethystinum Ex-Forelock 18
Allium amphibolum 20
Allium anisotepalum 18 From Kyrgyzstan
Allium atroviolaceum 20
Allium barsczewskii 18
Allium bekeczalicum 19 From Kyrgyzstan
Allium bekeczalicum x alaicum 19 From Kyrgyzstan
Allium brevicaule 19 From Tyrkia
Allium brevistylum 20
Allium caeruleum Leucanthum 20
Allium caesium   19 From Kyrgyzstan
Allium canadense 20 Bulbils
Allium carolinianum 20
Allium cepa Newburg onion 19 From Experimental Farm Network i USA; se https://www.adaptiveseeds.com/product/vegetables/onions/onion-newburg-organic
Allium cernuum Høg Miks 19
Allium cernuum mix 19
Allium cretaceum 19 From Kazakhstan
Allium cyathophorum 20
Allium darwasicum 19 From Tajikistan
Allium decipiens 18
Allium douglasii 19
Allium erubescens 19 From Kaukasus
Allium fedtschenkoanum 20 Wild collecred Tajikstan
Allium fetisowii 19
Allium fistulosum Auen 4 19 Direkte From Nordgen, NGB20168
Allium fistulosum Bygland 19 Direkte From Nordgen, NGB20167
Allium fistulosum Neset 19 Nordgen, NGB14622
Allium fistulosum Leppasyrja 19 Nordgen, NGB24270
Allium fistulosum “Mix” 20 Mix of 20 accessions; can be delivered individually, men likely to have crossed
Allium flavescens 18 Open pollinated
Allium flavum Miks 19 Mix or individually; likely to have crossed
Allium fuscoviolaceum 18 From Armenia
Allium globosum 19 From Kaukasus
Allium gultschense 19 From Kyrgyzstan
Allium gunibicum 19 From Kaukasus
Allium hymenorrhizum 20
Allium insubricum 19
Allium jesdianum “Akbulak” 19 Can have crossed
Allium karataviense 19
Allium karataviense 19 From Caucasus
Allium karelinii 19 From IPK Gatersleben
Allium ledebourianum 20 Likely to have crossed with Allium schoenoprasum
Allium lenkoranicum 19
Allium lipskyanum 19
Allium lusitanicum 18 From Alpengarten im Belvedere
Allium lusitanicum from Moravia 20
Allium macranthum 19
Allium mairei 19
Allium maximowiczii 18
Allium moly Eks “Jeannine” 20
Allium nigrum 19
Allium nutans Ex-“Lena” 19
Allium nutans 18 Ex-Berkutenko
Allium nutans x flavescens 19 Uncertain parents; white flowers ( From Kazakhstan) Open pollinated
Allium obliquum 19
Allium oschaninii 20 From Kyrgyzstan
Allium ovalifolium var. leuconervum 20
Allium paczoskianum 19
Allium paniculatum 19
Allium platyspathum 19
Allium porrum Monstruoso de Carentan 18 For milde strøk
Allium praescissum 19
Allium przewalskianum 20
Allium regelii 19
Allium rosenbachianum 19 From Tajikstan
Allium rotundum 19 From Kazakhstan
Allium rotundum subsp jajlae 19
Allium sarawschanicum 19 From Tajikstan
Allium saxatile 19 From Kaukasus
Allium schoenoprasoides 20
Allium schoenoprasum Dolores Chives 19 From Experimental Farm Network
Allium schoenoprasum Ex-Black Pedicels 18
Allium schoenoprasum Praga 18 Russisk frø
Allium schoenoprasum Erecta 18 Russisk frø
Allium schoenoprasum subsp sibiricum 20 Could have crossed with other Allium schoenoprasum; From Hokkaido, Japan
Allium schoenoprasum var orientale 20
Allium severtzovioides 19 From Kyrgyzstan
Allium sewerzowii 19 From Kazakhstan
Allium spirale 19 From Russian Far East
Allium splendens 20
Allium stenodon 18
Allium stipitatum 20 Could have crossed with other Allium stipitatum
Allium stipitatum Mount Everest 20
Allium stipitatum Ex-“Goliath” 20 Could have crossed with Goliath
Allium strictum 18 From Kazakhstan
Allium suaveolens 19
Allium suworowii 18 From Kyrgyzstan
Allium thunbergii “Ozawa” 19
Allium tianschanicum 19 From Kazakhstan
Allium trachyscordum 18 From Kyrgyzstan
Allium triquetrum 18
Allium unifolium 19
Allium ursinum 18
Allium victorialis 20 Mix of 8 accessions; Mix or individually; likely to have crossed
Allium wallichii   20 Mix of 3 accessions; Mix or individually; likely to have crossed
Allium winklerianum 19
Allium zebdanense 20
Althaea officinalis 18
Amaranthus “Mix” 18
Amaranthus chlorostachys 18
Amphicarpaea bracteata 20
Anemone rivularis 18
Anredera cordifolia 20 Tuber
Aquilegia chrysantha 19
Arabis alpina 19
Aralia californica 20
Aralia cordata “Malvik” 20, 19
Arctium lappa 19 Uknown Japanese cultivar
Asphodelus albus 18
Atriplex hortensis BRITAS TRÄDGÅRDSMÅLLA 19 Nordgen, NGB11726
Barbarea verna American Land Cress 18
Barbarea vulgaris Variegata 19
Begonia heracleifolia var nigricans 20
Boehmeria gigantea 18
Boehmeria sieboldiana 18
Brassica juncea Leaf Heading Mustard 19 Gift from Seed Savers Exchange
Brassica juncea Giant Red 18
Brassica oleracea Ex-Tree collards Flerårige Kål 19 Likely to have crossed with other perennial kales
Brassica oleracea Broccolini 17
Brassica oleracea Branchu de L’Embarras 17
Brassica oleracea Ex-Asturian Trekål 20 Likely to have crossed with other perennial kales
Brassica oleracea Myrrhis Flerårige Kål 20
Brassica oleracea Ex -Pentland Brig 19 Likely to have crossed with other perennial kales
Brassica oleracea Ex- Heligoland Flerårige Kål 19 Likely to have crossed with other perennial kales
Brassica oleracea Ex- Cottager’s Flerårige Kål 19 Likely to have crossed with other perennial kales
Brassica oleracea Ex-Daubenton Flerårige Kål x Late Purple Sprouting Brokkoli 19 Likely to have crossed with other perennial kales
Brassica oleracea Asturian Trekål 18
Brassica oleracea Couve Galega 18 From Portugal
Brassica oleracea Couve Galega 18 #2 From Portugal
Brassica oleracea Daubenton Grex 17
Brassica oleracea Homesteaders Perennial Kale 17 From Chris Homanics in Oregon
Brassica rapa Cima di Rapa Sessantina 16
Broussonettia kazinoki 18
Bryonia alba 18
Buddleja davidii 18
Calamintha grandiflora Variegata 19
Calochortus macrocarpus macrocarpus 19
Calochortus palmeri palmeri 19
Caltha palustris himalensis 18
Campanula “Pink Octopus” 19
Campanula latifolia Miks 19
Campanula punctata Ex-“Rubrifolia” 19
Campanula trachelium “Bernice” 19
Capsicum annuum Ausilio Thin Skin Italian Pepper 20 Gift from Seed Savers Exchange
Capsicum annuum Midnight Sun 17
Capsicum annuum Sibirsche Hauspaprika 17
Carum carvi Rosa blomstret 20 My breeding line
Carum carvi Rotkarve 20 My breeding line
Cedronella canariensis 18
Centaurea solstitialis 18
Chelidonium majus 20
Chenopodium bonus-henricus 19
Chenopodium bonus-henricus 19 From IPK Gatersleben: CHEN75
Chenopodium quinoa Stephe 19 Selected by Stephen Barstow in Malvik over 30 years. From a variety Dave
Chrysanthemum coronarium 20 Mix of varieties
Cicerbita plumieri 19
Cichorium endivia Cornet de Bordeaux 17
Cichorium intybus Catalogna Gigante di Chioggia 19
Cichorium intybus Bianca 17
Cichorium intybus Rossa di Verona Sel. Arca 17
Cichorium intybus Da Taglio Bionda a Foglie Larghe 16
Cirsium eriophorum 19
Cirsium oleraceum 20
Cladrastis kentuckea 19
Claytonia virginiana 18
Clematis alpina 18 Not edible
Clinipodium vulgare 18
Commelina coelestis Alba 20
Conopodium majus 20
Cornus mas Elegant 20 Early variety
Cornus mas From Ringve 19
Crambe maritima 20 Mix of varieties
Cucurbita maxima Hokkaido 19
Cucurbita maxima Sweet Fall 19 Gift from Seed Savers Exchange
Cucurbita pepo Paydon Heirloom Acorn 19 Gift from Seed Savers Exchange
Diplotaxis tenuifolia 20
Diplotaxis tenuifolia Wasabi Arugula 18
Diplotaxis tenuifolia Wildfire 18
Diplotaxis tenuifolia Dragon’s Fire 18
Diplotaxis tenuifolia Heirloom Rustic Style 18
Dystaenia takesimina 20
Eleutherococcus sessiliflorus 19
Elsholtzia ciliata 20
Erythronium oregonum subsp leucandrum 19
Eschscholzia californica 18
Fagopyrum tataricum 20
Filipendula ulmaria Variegata 20
Foeniculum vulgare 20
Fuertesimalva limensis 18
Gentiana lutea 18
Girardinia septentrionalis 18
Gladiolus caucasicus 20 Not edible
Hablitzia tamnoides Miks 20 Mix of 10 accessions; Mix or individually; likely to have crossed
Heracleum sphondylium x sibiricum 20
Hosta gracilima 18
Hosta sieboldiana 20
Hypericum perforatum 20
Inula helenium 20
Lactuca sativa Jebousek 19 Gift from Seed Savers Exchange
Lactuca sativa Veneziana 19
Lactuca sativa Freckles 18
Lactuca sativa Rossa Ricciolina da Taglio 18
Lactuca sativa Navarra 16
Lepidium latifolium 18
Lepidium sativum 20
Leucanthemum maximum Alaska 18
Libertia grandiflora 19 Not edible
Ligularia dentata 18
Ligularia dentata “Desdemona” 18
Ligularia fischeri 20
Ligularia sachalinensis 18
Lilium Ex-Black Dragon 18 Uncertain edibility
Lilium martagon Tsingense 19
Lonicera iliense 20 Uncertain edibility
Lycopersicon esculentum Imur Prior Beta 18 Gift to KVANN From Heritage Seed Library in the UK (claimed to be a Norwegian variety but this is uncertain)
Lycopus asper 18
Malva mohileviensis 18
Malva moschata 20
Malva verticillata 18
Medicago sativa Cache Valley Alfalfa 19 From Experimental Farm Network i USA
Mertensia ciliata 19
Mertensia paniculata 18
Nicandra physalodes 19
Nicotiana rustica 18 Not edible
Nicotiana africana 18 Not edible
Nicotiana kawakamii 18 Not edible
Nicotiana repanda 18 Not edible
Nicotiana velutina 18 Not edible
Oplopanax horridus 20
Ornithogalum pyrenaicum Fra Metz, Frankrike 19
Osmorhiza longistylis 20 Uncertain species
Oxalis tuberosa Rød 20 1 knoll hver; Rotgrønnsak From Andesfjellene; trenger lang frostfri høst. Jeg dyrker i store bøtter som flyttes inn i huset i oktober og høstes i juletida
Oxalis tuberosa Gul 20 1 knoll hver; Rotgrønnsak From Andesfjellene; trenger lang frostfri høst. Jeg dyrker i store bøtter som flyttes inn i huset i oktober og høstes i juletida
Parasenecio hastatus 19 For the woodland garden
Parasenecio hastatus subsp orientalis Ex-“Shiro Sankou Hakikomi Fu” 19 For the woodland garden
Parietaria judaica 18
Pastanica sativa 20 Unknown variety
Phaseolus vulgaris Anasazi Bean 19 Wikipedia: Anasazi beans are a dappled red and white bean first cultivated by Ancestral Puebloan people around 130 CE in what is now the Four Corners region of the United States. They were adopted by commercial growers beginning in the 1980s and marketed under the name “Anasazi”; traditionally they were known by the Spanish names frijol conejo (rabbit bean), vaquita (little cow), or pajaro carpintero (woodpecker)
Physalis Indian Strain 20 Grown indoors in Malvik; seed from 10 year old, 2m high plants
Physalis spp. 19 From Eric Toensmeier, Holyoke, USA
Phyteuma globariifolium 20 Wild collected in Austria
Phyteuma nigra 20
Phyteuma orbiculare 20
Phyteuma persicifolium 18
Phyteuma scheuchzeri 19 From IPK Gatersleben PH1
Phyteuma sieberi 20 Wild collected in Dolomites Italy
Phyteuma spicatum 20
Phytolacca americana 18
Pisum sativum Carouby de Maussane 20
Pisum sativum Askerert (=Ringeriksert?) 20
Pisum sativum Chinese Snow Pea 20
Pisum sativum Jærert 20 From Torfinn Leikvoll 2011
Pisum sativum Marie’s Høye 20 NGB20121; Read about this one here: https://tinyurl.com/y4q3uzns
Pisum sativum Purple Podded 20
Pisum sativum Ringeriksert 20 NGB17881
Pisum sativum Robinson 20
Pisum sativum Rättviksärt 20 NGB17879
Pisum sativum Salmon Flowered 20
Pisum sativum Slikkerten fra Våler 20 NGB20044
Pisum sativum SVARTBJÖRSBYN 20 Sugar Pea; NGB17837 From Agneta Magnusson in Sesam 2020
Pisum sativum Winterkefen 20
Pisum sativum Dwarf Grey 19
Pisum sativum Green Beauty Snow 19
Pisum sativum Hurst Green Shaft 19
Pisum sativum Sugar Magnolia 19 From Alan Kapuler
Pisum sativum Sugar Snap Cascadia 19
Prenanthes spp. 19
Primula japonica “Mix” 18
Primula veris 18
Proboscidea louisianica ssp fragrans 20
Prunus tomentosa 18
Raphanus sativus Runder Schwarzer Vinter 19
Raphanus sativus Purple Plum 18
Raphanus sativus China Rose 16
Raphanus sativus Minowase 16
Rheum ribes 19
Rhus glabra 19
Ribes heterotrichum 20
Rorippa amphibia 18
Rorippa palustris 18
Rosa canina 19
Rosa ecae 19
Rosa platyacantha 19
Rumex acetosa Russisk miks 20 Mix of 6 Russian varieties
Rumex acetosa Belleville 19
Rumex acetosa Champion 19
Rumex acetosa Shirokolistny 18
Rumex crispa 20
Rumex patientia 20
Rumex scutatus 18
Ruta graveolens 19
Salvia sclarea 18
Sanguisorba canadensis 19
Sanguisorba menziesii 18
Saxifraga pensylvanica 19
Scandix pecten-veneris 20
Scorzonera hispanica Miks 20 Mix of 6 varieties grown in Væres Community Garden
Silene uniflora 18
Silybum marianum 20
Smilax rotundifolia 18
Solanum spp. Gbognome Greens 19 From Experimental Farm Network i USA
Sonchus oleraceus Alba 20
Streptopus amplexifolius 20
Taraxacum albidum 19
Taraxacum californonicum 20
Taraxacum officinale Vert de Montmagny 16
Taraxacum rubifolium 19
Taraxacum sublaciniosum Delikatess (Moss-leaved) 20
Tellima grandiflora 18
Thalictrum aquilegifolium 18
Tigridia pavoniana 19, 20
Tragopogon samaritanii 20
Urtica circularis 18
Urtica galeopsifolia 18 Almost stingless
Urtica kioviensis 18
Viburnum cassinioides 19
Vicia faba 20 Tilby en miks av former From KVANNs demonstrasjonshagen hos Væres Venner i Trondheim. Et bilde av mangfoldet av former vises her: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=27037
Viola kamtschadalorum 19
Viola pumila 19 From Kyrgyzstan
Youngia japonica 18
Zea mays Pink and Purple Popcorn 19 Gave From Seed Savers Exchange


Indian summer flowers

There were unusually many plants still flowering in the garden in October this year as we experienced a bit of an Indian summer. We’ve now had our first frost, so time to publish this album of 116 pictures of over 100 species. Most but not all are edible / edimentals and, yes, I should have made a salad.




The mini-pond and marginal areas

My house was given the name Bergstua by the previous owners, literally meaning house on the rock, a rocky hillside overlooking the fjord. Not a natural place for a pond. I wanted to have a pond somewhere, initially mainly for wildlife, habitat for frogs, drinking water for birds etc. 
I eventually chose a small depression in the rock where the previous owners had presumably blasted a hole in order to erect a flagpole. Not being one for flags, I decided to convert this area into a pond and this involved removing both the metal support and concrete base and this took a couple of years of hard work as I also wanted to avoid machines. If it was feasible by hand I would do it by hand, even resisting an electric drill  for many years. I used to come home from work and spent half an hour every day hacking at the concrete with a metal digging bar and when that was eventually removed deepening the depression in the shale-like rock (phyllite).

The hedge you can see behind the pond was Cotoneaster lucidus which has non-edible berries that not even birds take until they are desperate. We bought a rubber liner for the pond in the UK on one of our trips to visit family. I initially filled the pond and the boggy marginal areas with wild plants and creatures like water boatmen and frog spawn from lakes in the area, but regretted a few of the introductions like Equisetum fluviatile (swamp horsetail). The frogs never really thrived but a few survived for a few years and one took up residence in our septic tank…
I later gradually converted the pond to an edible pond and the hedge behind was dug out and replaced by a diverse edible/bird friendly hedge including Morus alba, Crataegus, Viburnum edule, Sambucus nigra “Variegata”, Viburnum opulus, Amelanchier “Thiessen”, Rosa spp., Staphylea (bladder nut) and a few others. About 10 years ago, I overhauled the pond, digging out all the soil and replanting from scratch in order to remove all the horsetail and other aggressive plants. Below is a video of my little collection of water and bog plants this week and below the video is  list of plants we see:

Featuring the following plants:
Gunnera tinctoria (G. chilensis) is one of the 80 in my book Around the World in 80 plants (ATW80)
Althaea officinalis (Marsh mallow/ legestokkrose)
Allium validum (Swamp onion, Pacific onion) which is also included in ATW80
Caltha leptosepala (Western marsh marigold, White marsh marigold / hvit soleihov)
Darmera peltata (Umbrella plant, indian rhubarb / skjoldsildre)
Lilium canadense ssp michiganense (Canada lily, Michigan lily / Canadalilje)
Saxifraga pensylvanica (Swamp saxifrage) is also in ATW80
Typha angustifolia (Reedmace, bulrush, cattails / smal dunkjevle)
Filipendula ulmaria “Variegata” (Meadowsweet / mjødurt)
Polygonum hydropiper (Water pepper / vasspepper)
Eupatorium cannabinum (Hemp agrimony / hjortetrøst) (for insects and butterflies)
Zizania latifolia (Manchurian wild rice) – not very useful as it’s the swollen stems infected by a fungus which is used.
Lycopus spp.
Apium nodiflorum (
Fool’s watercress, European marshwort)
Oenanthe javanica (Water dropwort, seri)



A Venusglade

I often shown pictures of moonglades from the house (the long beam-like reflection of the moon on the fjord), but I’d never noticed a venusglade before. Then three nights ago a long beam reflection of the fjord was clearly visible under venus (very bright at the moment) with the naked eye. I only had a hand-held camera and this was the best I could get, just weakly visible:

Then, last night it was clear again and armed with tripod I made a one minute exposure of the scene. Of course, in the course of a minute we’ve moved some distance and venus is unclear…and the stars are stripes in the sky. The venusglade is wider also as it too moves, but it nevertheless makes for an interesting picture with the bonus of an auroral glare over Forbordfjellet. I must try over-exposing next time:

Digitally enhanced:

…and what is this?

Alys meets the Modern Monk in the Edible Garden

10 years ago today I had my first celebrity visit, from the UK! On 10th April 2010 I received the following email message entitled Permaveggies:
“I am a garden writer based in Birmingham, England. I came across your work via an interview with you on a website and am very interested in learning more about your garden. I also share a love for unusual edibles that can be used in an ‘ornamental setting’. I suppose my garden has one foot in the forest garden camp and the other in a cottage garden. The greatest majority are edibles (everything from your typical vegetables to the more unusuals) with the rest being useful plants for medicine, feeding the garden or pollinators. I suppose the interesting part is that it’s a typical row terrace garden that’s about 60 ft long- cramped in is one way of looking at its design principles. I’ve written a book about it called the Edible Garden with it in conjunction with a programme on BBC2.
Anyhow I would love to talk more about your work and what you’ve discovered. I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely
Alys Fowler”
The interview was the one published on my friend Telsing Andrews’ blog, The Veggie Patch Reimagined (see https://veggiepatchreimagined.blogspot.com/2010/02/stephens-edimental-oasis-interview.html).
As part of this BBC series, permaculture had just been featured on 7th April 2010. The BBC crew visited Tim and Maddy Harland’s (my publishers) garden and were bowled over by their mature forest garden full of food and wildlife.
In my reply I jokingly wrote “Stop by next time you’re in the area”!
Little did I know that she would do just that a few months later! It turned out that she was researching her book “The Thrifty Forager” and was “looking for people to interview who boldly eat what others might not think to…”!
Alys’ book The Thrifty Forager was published the year after but my book with Introduction by Alys took another 3 years!
She devotes a whole section to my garden, its plants and The Modern Monk (guess who?) :) In the foreword to my book, there’s a picture of Alys reading my old coverless copy of Cornucopia II in the garden!
Below are 4 albums of pictures taken by Alys’ cameraman Brian Wheeler!

I have fond memories of this visit during a really hot period after the coldest June since the 1960s. The first album are pictures from the garden, the second from a forage and swim in the fjord, then a trip up to a local mountain Vennafjellet , via a second swimming spot, Nevrahølet (we were finished quite quickly with the pictures and interview in the garden due to the wonderful weather) and finally some pictures from Trondheim!
Alys was also a presenter on BBC’s Gardener’s World and writes a gardening column for the Guardian!

Other blog posts about Alys!
Alys Fowler in the Edible Garden:
https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=276
Alys’ Pool: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=5572

1. Brian Wheeler’s photographs of The Edible Garden

2. Brian Wheeler’s photographs from a tour of the bay and beach below the house (after her swim, Alys said for the first time that I lived in paradise!)

3. Trip to Vennafjellet via Nevrahølet swimming hole in the eyes of Brian Wheeler

4. Alys Fowler in Trondheim (by Brian Wheeler)




 

Pond Bed North Upgrade

I’ve been busy planting up a bed that I’ve been renovating. It’s part of a bed I’ve called “Pond Bed North” since I constructed it in the late 80s after felling several  birch trees (the previous owners liked even more shade than I do). However, it had become overgrown with unwanted inedibles…
Here’s a video of the bed and the plants and below a picture and hand drawn map of the bed with details of everything I planted for those wanting more details. You’ll see various Japanese edibles, two new Zanthoxylums, Aster scaber (new accessions) and right at the end an exclusive edible, Taraxacum californicum (California dandelion).  This information will be added to my master garden Excel sheet in the winter.

Red-tailed bumblebee: new species for the garden

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!