Tendrils: Elderflowers

Hello! Welcome to Tendrils. If you’re in the mood for a long read, check out In the land of lost gardens, which is about ethnobotanist Nancy Turner and her work with indigenous elders in Canada, preserving their traditional plant knowledge for future generations. And before we leave Canada, Canadian Wild Flowers book: a labour of love 150 years ago has some lovely illustrations.

Moving a little further south, Civil Eats examines why the US pine nut industry might be on the brink of extinction, whilst the Crop Science Society of America tells us that you’d be better off taking a few beans along if you want to survive on Mars.

Here in the UK there have been some notable new plant varieties announced this week. Tesco have announced they will be selling a productive indoor tomato plant that can produce up to 150 tomatoes on the windowsill, but I think those already existed. Marshalls are introducing a white blackberry, which does away with staining issues (and bird predation), but is it at the cost of those healthy antioxidants? We’re supposed to eat the rainbow…. And D.T.Brown are bringing us an autumn cropping broad bean. It has a lovely name, Luz de otono, which is Spanish for ‘Autumn Light’. We’ve enjoyed eating the tops of our broad beans, and a few immature pods, and we’re waiting for the main harvest. I’m already plotting to grow them again next year, but I’m not sure whether I think extending the season is a good thing or not. Sometimes it’s nice when things are ephemeral.

The Backyard Larder is selecting better varieties of an old plant – Buck’s Horn Plantain. And Splendid Table has a nice looking recipe for Tempura Watercress & Olives, in which the watercress and olives are separate (I don’t like olives!).

Elsewhere, I have been writing about how to make the most of your avocados for the Oxfordshire Master Composters, and gooseberries and goji berries for Lubera UK.

See you next week!