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. Just got 1 to test hardiness: need 2 for production.
Allium angulosum mouse garlic bulb, leaves, flowers New in 2013.
Allium cernuum nodding onion bulb, flowers, leaves New in 2013. Survived very mild winter. Growing well and tastes nice.
Allium chinense rakkyo bulb Hanging in there but not producing well. Think it prefers a warmer climate.
Allium sensecens broadleaf chives bulb, flowers, leaves Grew from seed in 2012 but doesn’t seem to have overwintered. Trying from bulbs in 2013.
Allium victorialis ‘Cantabria’ alpine leek bulb, flowers, leaves New in 2013. Survived very mild winter.
Apios americana groundnut climber Planted 2011/12. Started growing very late in season 2012. May be a southern provenance.
Aronia melanocarpa chokeberry shrub Planted varieties ‘Nero’ and ‘Viking’ 2011/12. Growing well and fruited already.
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. Germinated well.
Asclepias tuberosa pleurisy root herb per New in 2013.
Atriplex canescens grey sage brush shrub Grew from seed 2011. Planted out 2013. Survived winter of 2013/14 but very slow growth.
Beta vulgaris maritima sea beet – perennial variety herb per Planted 2011/12. Thriving so far.
Berberis koreana Korean barberry shrub New in 2013. Survived winter.
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. Growing well in local botanic garden.
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.
Cornus kousa chinensis handkerchief tree small tree Planted 2011/12. Thriving.
Cornus mas Cornelian cherry shrub / small tree Planted 2011/12.
Crambe cordifolia colewort herb per Grown from seed 2011. Growing well.
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.
Cynara cardunculus cardoon herb per Flower heads fiddly; stems too much work.
Cyperus esculentus chufa / nutsedge herb per New in 2012/13. Grew well.
Decaisnea fargesii blue sausage fruit tree Still small. Raised from seed 2009/10.
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 planted in 2014 growing vigorously.
Hemerocallis dumortieri day lily herb per Planted 2011/12. Growing well.
Hippophae rhamnoides sea buckthorn shrub New in 2012/13. Grows well on coast near here.
Humulus lupulus dwarf hop climber New in 2012/13. Survived winter.
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 New – grown from seed 2013.
Lilium superbum swamp lily herb per New – grown from seed 2013.
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. Trying local provenance seeds 2013.
Matteuccia struthiopteris ostrich fern – edible fern herb per Planted 2011/12. Growing well
Mertensia maritima oyster plant herb per New in 2012. Annihilated by slugs.
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.
Rubus phoenicolasius Japanese wineberry shrub Just getting established, no fruit yet.
Ribes aureum golden currant shrub Just getting established, no fruit yet.
Rumex patientia herb patience herb per Tough plant but not found a way of eating it that I like yet.
Scorzonera hispanica scorzonera herb per Got in 2013.
Smyrnium olusatrum alexanders herb per New from seed in 2013.
Streptopus lanceolatus scootberry herb per New from seed in 2013.
Viburnum trilobum ‘Phillips’ highbush cranberry shrub Planted 2011/12.
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.


9 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?

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