Tulip 'Groenland'

It has been an odd spring here, with harsh frosts last week giving way to soaring temperatures this weekend. It might even get sunny enough to make some sun tea! Tendrils will be keeping young plants indoors, where they are safe from being scorched! The ones hanging out on the internet will be safer, and I’ve got some lovely stories for you to read this week.

A plant I would like (eventually) to add to the garden has been explored by the Eden Project this week, with an article on how to forage and cook Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum). As the article points out, Alexanders grow on cliff tops and in seaside hedgerows – we saw plenty in flower during our recent trip down to Dorset, but it’s not something you see much of in rural Oxfordshire 😉

We do have plenty of nettles, and Dogwooddays has written a nice piece entitled Nettles revisited: how time removes the sting – personal reminiscences brought about by a bowl of nettle soup. Nettle soup is just one of the many uses for nettles, more of which I explored in (B)eat your weeds: Nettles, a few years ago.

Awkward Botany is discussing the ethnobotany of a plant I probably won’t ever grow – Cattails – and it’s a fair bet that I will never own enough land to grow sweet chestnuts, so just knowing that Medieval bread grew on trees will have to do.

Apricots also grow on trees, and have very tasty fruit. But some people also eat the kernels, which have been billed as the latest superfood, and an article in the Guardian reminds us that they could be a ‘hidden health hazard’, due to the amygdalin they contain, a chemical which is converted to cyanide in the body. You would be safer sticking with celtuce, a mutant and delicious lettuce.

T&M's edible fuchsia berries

And speaking of mutants, Food52 has come up with a list of vegetable hybrids they wish existed. Some of them might be a bit of a challenge for vegetable breeders 😉

Lubera are doing their best to breed new and exciting fruit varieties for us to try, and Helen Gazeley has been blogging about her dotberry experiences, although it’s early days for her plants yet. Have you tried growing Pointilla berries?

From the very new to the old and forgotten flora – a nice round up from The Meaning of Trees of the unsung botanical wonders of New Zealand, some of which are are in rapid decline due to introduced pests.

And I have to admit that I haven’t made much progress towards publishing The Peat-Free Diet this week, but I have been writing about peat-free gardening in my monthly column for Gabriel Ash.

For a limited time, Suttons have Cucamelon plants on offer – you can buy 2 super plug plants of these little cucumber/ melon cuties for just £1.99, and they’ll be despatching from the middle of May. Don’t forget that you can find more offers like this in my Gardening Offers and Competitions Facebook group.

In a February edition of Tendrils I mentioned Stephen Barstow’s article on Hablitzia, a very cold-tolerant climbing edible leaf. While I remember (and for my benefit as much as anyone else’s!), I have two more of Stephen’s Permaculture Magazine articles available to download – one about the outstanding, record breaking salads he produces from his garden in Norway, and one about eating hostas. Yep, you read that right – you can eat hostas, they’re another perennial leafy green. But the slugs already knew that.

And did you know you can also download my Permaculture Magazine articles to read? But of course, you’re going to be too busy to do much reading this weekend – you’re going to be outside in the sunshine, aren’t you? Remember your sun block! I don’t want to see you all looking like lobsters when Tendrils returns next week 🙂

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