Still on parole


Latin name Common name Life cycle Comments
Achillea ageratum English mace herb per Herb. Not sure I like it. Grows well, though.
Akebia quinata chocolate vine fruit New in 2013. Growing well in a walled garden in Fife.
Allium angulosum mouse garlic bulb, leaves, flowers New in 2013. Died.
Allium chinense rakkyo bulb Hanging in there but not producing well. Think it prefers a warmer climate.
Apios americana groundnut climber First planted 2011/12. Grows successfully if started inside but low yielding. A more northern provenance might do better.
Aronia melanocarpa chokeberry shrub Planted varieties ‘Nero’ and ‘Viking’ 2011/12. Grow and fruit well but fruit very attractive to birds and difficult to protect.
Asclepias incarnata swamp milkweed herb per Grew from seed 2011. Not flourishing outside so far.
Asclepias syriaca common milkweed herb per New from seed in 2013. Not flourishing outside.
Asclepias tuberosa pleurisy root herb per New in 2013. Doesn’t flourish outside. Dies over winter.
Atriplex canescens grey sage brush shrub Grew several plants from from seed 2011. Poor growth and poor overwintering outside.
Berberis koreana Korean barberry shrub New in 2013. Grows well.
Caltha palustris marsh marigold herb per Grows well in pond but haven’t got round to trying yet.
Camassia leichtlinii wild hyacinth bulb Grew from seed in 2013.
Camassia quamash camas bulb New in 2012. Grown well. Nice baked.
Campanula rapunculoides creeping bellflower per Grew from seed 2011; seems to have died out.
Campanula posharskyana trailing bellflower per Grows well but not sure it is worth the space: dry hairy leaves. A rare winter leaf though.
Caragana arborescens Siberian pea tree Planted 2011/12 and growing well.
Claytonia (was Montia) perfoliata miner’s lettuce leaves New in 2013. Slowly establishing as a self-seeding population.
Cornus canadensis creeping dogwood creeping perennial Planted 2012 and 2013 from different sources. Seems to have died out, may need a more northern provenance. Grows in RBGE. Grown from seed 2016 and overwintered.
Cornus kousa chinensis handkerchief tree small tree Planted 2011/12. Thriving but not fruiting.
Cornus mas Cornelian cherry shrub / small tree Planted 2011/12. Thriving but not fruiting.
Crambe maritima sea kale herb per Grew in 1990s and did well. Now trying in forest garden.
Crambe tatarica Tartar bread plant herb per Grown from seed 2011. Died during winter 2012/13.
Crithmum maritimum rock samphire herb per Clings on but not entirely hardy here.
Cryptotaenia japonica mitsuba herb per Grew from seed 2013. Didn’t survive winter. Ditto 2015. Aother try 2017.
Cynara cardunculus cardoon herb per Flower heads fiddly, stems require annual growing
Decaisnea fargesii blue sausage fruit tree Raised from seed 2009/10. Thrives nearby. Fruit nice but fiddly, a bit of a novelty item.
Eryngeum maritimum sea holly herb per Grows well, said to be a spice like galangal. Not tried it yet.
Hablitzia tamnoides Caucasian spinach herb per climber Planted 2012/13. Died in unusually cold spring. Seed of Scandinavian variety sown 2014, planted out in various locations.
Hippophae rhamnoides sea buckthorn shrub New in 2012/13. Growing vigorously.
Lathyrus linifolius montanus bitter vetch / cairmeal herb per New from seed in 2013.
Lathyrus tuberosus earthnut pea herb per New from seed in 2013.
Lilium martagon Turk’s-cap lily herb per Grown from seed 2013.
Lilium superbum swamp lily herb per Attractive but not very productive.
Lycium barbarum goji berry shrub Planted 2010. Growing well, hasn’t fruited yet.
Maianthemum (formerly Smilacina) racemosum false spikenard herb per Planted 2012. Growing well.
Maianthemum (formerly Smilacina) stellatum star-flowered lily of the valley herb per Planted 2012. Growing well.
Malva sylvestris common mallow herb per I like this plant a lot but it doesn’t always survive the winter. Experimenting with different seed sources.
Matteuccia struthiopteris ostrich fern – edible fern herb per Grows well but easily lost to drying out.
Mertensia maritima oyster plant herb per I cannot grow this without major slug protection.
Morus ‘capsrum’ mulberry tree New in 2013.
Myrica pennsylvanica northern baybery shrub New in 2012/13. Growing well.
Nasturtium officinale watercress perennial Planted 2012. Survived winter.
Polygonatum biflorum Solomon’s seal herb per Grows well but tastes bitter to me. Maybe need a different variety or preparation method.
Pinus cembra nut pine tree Planted 2011/12.
Scorzonera hispanica scorzonera herb per Sown 2017
Smyrnium olusatrum alexanders herb per New from seed in 2013. Plants still surviving 2017, no self seeding to date.
Streptopus lanceolatus scootberry herb per New from seed in 2013.
Viburnum trilobum ‘Phillips’ highbush cranberry shrub Planted 2011/12. Fruit unipressive.
Viola labradorica alpine violet per Not as good as native variety.
Viola odorata sweet violet per Grows well and spoken of highly by Ken Fern, but not at all sure I like it.


13 thoughts on “Still on parole

  1. I’m interested in the solomon’s seal, I have some currently shooting up in a shady place in the garden
    However I’m a bit reluctant to try eating it because I read on the internet that they can cause unpleasant effects ‘cathartic’ was the expression used!
    So, does anyone reading this have any experience of eating this plant?

    • Hi Jemima. I’ve now tried Solomon’s seal and first the good news: no cathartic experiences! The bad news is that I didn’t like it much. I found it had a bitter taste which suggested alkaloids, possibly explaining some of those unpleasant effects if they were eaten in bulk. The leaves (or rather the part of the stem with the rolled-up leaves) was the worst, but even with that removed I could still taste it. I do have particularly sensitive taste buds when it comes to bitterness, so perhaps it wouldn’t bother some people. Some recipes suggest changing the cooking water once or more, but I’m not willing to go to such lengths. Possibly there are better varieties around than the one I tried.

      • We tried young shoots a couple of years ago, cooked like asparagus, and they were delicious – quite sweet. But they seem to take a long time to get to the size where I’m confident to cut shoots without killing the plant.

        • Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like I just need to keep looking for the right variety. Would you be willing to swap some of yours for something from my garden?

  2. You write that your Cornus mas is thriving but not fruiting. Is it flowering?
    I’ve read that it may need a neighbor nearby for pollination, and was thinking of it as an edible hedge here in Edinburgh. But if it doesn’t fruit, that’s less edible, and more hedge!

    • I’ve now lost the site where I had my C. mas, but I had two plants there, plus there was another one in the adjacent park. They flowered and started to produce fruit, but never ripened them. I’ve also never seen ripe fruit up here on garden specimens, which are moderately common. Edinburgh is not as northerly as Aberdeen so there is perhaps more chance, but I wouldn’t rate it very highly.

  3. We have two on the Black Isle. They’ve been a bit sickly here, and we’ve only had fewer than a handful of fruit, but this year one of the two seems to have finally got into its stride and has quite a lot of fruit.

  4. Thanks for the info Martin! That gives me hope that my plans aren’t completely daft. There’s a couple of large trees in the RBGE, so I’ll have a look at their fruiting status come autumn before committing to planting.

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