Nectar bar

Hello! Welcome to Tendrils. The buddleja plants in the front garden are still just about flowering, although they’re slowing down now. There haven’t been many butterflies around this summer, but the ones we have seen have paying a visit to the buddleja. In 2012 Helen Babbs discussed buddleja being loved and hated in equal measure. Brought from China in the 1890s, this plant – which could easily be called in invasive weed – took hold in bomb sites in the Second World War. It thrives on rocky mountain tops, shingle, and (it turns out) rubble. But buddleja has been tamed, so if you want its benefits in the garden you can grow the Buddleja Buzz varieties, which are smaller, easier to manage and don’t wildly spread everywhere.

At this time of year, with the hard gardening work of summer over and done with (ha!), it’s easier to head out and look at the bounty that nature has to offer. Slightly controversial (or at least, requiring an explanation of foraging ethics) are Milkweed Pod Golumpkis. I think Golumpkis is plural; I had to look it up, but it seems to be a stuffed vegetable dish of Polish origin 🙂 Feel free to correct me, if you are more knowledgeable!

Kookoo Khorfeh – Purslane Kookoo is an entirely less controversial dish, involving what the USDA classifies as a garden weed. Plenty of people elsewhere classify it as a tasty and nutritious vegetable. I keep meaning to grow it, but I haven’t got around to it yet. I haven’t seen it for sale in the UK, either, so if I want to make this then I really will have to grow it next year!

I have grown physalis, but so far we haven’t used any of them. They may well start springing up all over the garden next year from discarded fruits. It’s certainly clear that the birds don’t bother them, so I should put in some more effort. I grew them in the old garden, and didn’t like them much raw. But I’m told the secret is cooking them into jam or pies, and I’d like to try that. Apparently these fruits defy flavour profiling, but are good for pickling. This particular article uses sous vide, a technique I know about because I caught a few minutes of Masterchef once. But I’m sure master picklers can work around the need for a gadget.


Strawberry Cherry Berry offer

And I have an aronia in the garden, the surviving half of a pair. Aronia is a “Superfood” Native to the American Midwest, a plant that is being rebranded from its original common name of Chokeberry because, well, that doesn’t sound too appetising.

“Aronia was, until recently, a fairly common ornamental plant; it has nice shiny leaves and fragrant flowers, and requires little upkeep. Elsewhere in the world, the fruit is eaten more often, especially in the Balkans and Caucasus regions, where it’s made into jam and even liquor. In the US, though, it’s not commonly eaten; like the cranberry, it’s highly acidic and astringent when raw.”

So we’re going to need some recipes for that one!

If you’re in America there may well be Aronia berries in your neighbor’s backyards, but it’s not the only thing you should be keeping an eye out. Apparently, dogwood berries are one of the best-kept secrets of your neighbor’s backyard.

You’ll have to grow your own plants if you want a good crop of udo – you can’t just pick a handful over the garden fence – but Stephen Barstow has you covered on the many uses of udo, so they don’t have to be a well kept secret.

You may feel you know all about how to grow cress, but it can take you on an unexpected journey, as I have been explaining in a guest blog for Gardening Know-How this week.

And since the BBC have been reflecting on how being alone may be the only way to get some rest, I will leave you now with Sound in the garden, a blog about the Quiet Garden Movement and the Silent Space initiative.

Have a restful weekend everyone!


Purple skinned yacon plants from Suttons
Suttons have added purple-skinned yacon plants to their range for next year. They’re ÂŁ9.99 and you can order now for delivery in May 2017.