Sourdough loaf for Tendrils

Once again it’s time for Tendrils, my weekly round-up of all that is good and planty in the internet world.

Making bread with wild yeasts (AKA sourdough) is a popular topic at the moment, and sidles up to ethnobotany if you consider the different varieties of wheat and other grains that people are experimenting with for the flour. It has to be said that salt-rising bread was new to me, and I enjoyed reading about this unique style of pioneer bread, which relies on bacteria rather than yeast. My own bread making efforts are a bit more humble, but tasty, and I’m starting a new blog series called Soup and a Slice.

Awkward Botany has been paying a visit to the Moon trees. Did any of the extra-terrestrial saplings land near you? My latest blog about plants in outer space goes a bit further afield, to the flowers blooming on the International Space Station.

Savor the Southwest is musing on bats and their seed spreading role in the ecosystem. Nocturnal fruit bats drop seeds from their favourite fruits into desert clearings, helping to spread pioneer plants, which in turn foster more delicate seedlings. Aunt Linda has developed a chocolate treat based on this premise, although I’m sure there are plenty of people who may turn their nose up at a Seed dispersal cluster if they find out the story behind them….

Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs

And Gary Nabhan pays homage to Richard Felger, an expert on desert botany who has been promoting the use of native edible plants of the American south west for 40 years. He champions plants that not only thrive with minimal irrigation, but taste good, too 🙂

Para hispanohablantes, El Blog de la Tabla está discutiendo la albahaca, Ocimum basilicum, un favorito por el verano.


Take a virtual trip to Kenilworth Castle to learn how to make a traditional Tudor Kissing Bough in time for Christmas; there are written instructions on the English Heritage blog.

The Washington Post wants to show us arresting black & white photos of ordinary vegetables – except that they’re not ordinary vegetables, they’re heirlooms, and the photos are daguerreotypes.

‘Tis the season of festive indulgence, but at the back of everyone’s minds at the moment is the problem of food waste, and its financial/ environmental and moral implications. The Atlantic have an interesting read on the economic history of leftovers in America, which touches on the aspect my Inner Womble enjoys – the creativity involved in turning uneaten food into something new and, maybe, even tastier.

Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs

We’re going nutty again, this time with a fascinating ethnobotanical look at Food Nuts of the Eastern Woodland Indians, including the way in which the different species of nuts were processed and consumed.

The Planthunter shows us community gardening at its best in a lovely story about Berlin’s Airport Garden, which has transformed an airport that closed in 2008 into a relaxing urban paradise and community green space.

Apples with special needs raises a good point about heirloom varieties – having been bred to flourish in certain conditions, they can be difficult to grow if those conditions are met. As gardeners our job is a combination of finding the right plant for the place, and giving the plants we’ve got the right things. It’s easy, especially when we’re new to garden, to think that a failure is out fault, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes we just have to accept that there are plants that won’t grow in our gardens, and move on to something else.

And whilst we’re on the subject of gardening success and failure, have you found my new section of gardening basics and how to articles yet?