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Bugle, a native perennial

Bugle, a native perennial

Date: 18th May 2010
Ajuga reptans. I have a soft spot for the spikes of vibrant purple flowers that seem to glow in evening light and loved by bees, Most useful as a ground cover tolerant of dry shade, it also has medicinal properties and is edible though bitter
Welsh onions. These alliums are like larger, vigorous chives

Welsh onions. These alliums are like larger, vigorous chives

Date: 18th May 2010
All of the allium family are perennial and if left to grow with not too much competition from other plants, will slowly multiply their bulbs over the years and produce onion-flavour greens, flowers and small bulbs every year
Costmary, tanacetum balsalmita, in a raised bed in Chris' garden

Costmary, tanacetum balsalmita, in a raised bed in Chris' garden

Date: 18th May 2010
Strongly flavoured of musky bitter warmth, this is a traditional culinary herb used sparingly and has a number of medicinal uses, including a mild wormer. Also once used to flavour beer
Perennial kale in a raised bed

Perennial kale in a raised bed

Date: 27th April 2010
This kale was grown from a cutting last summer. It has been very productive all winter and continues to produce tasty crispy leaves
Scurvy grass

Scurvy grass

Date: 26th April 2010
This small, creeping perennial produces masses of very spicy, mustard flavour leaves in early spring, followed by watercress-like white flowers. A no hassle salad plant and easy to grow from seed
Once planted, perennial food plants are less work

Once planted, perennial food plants are less work

Date: 26th April 2010
Did you know that wild rocket is a short-lived perennial? This one (on the left) in its second year and very productive. Very close to it is a sea beet plant, another perennial with edible leaves
A campanula plant with mild tasting, crispy leaves for salad

A campanula plant with mild tasting, crispy leaves for salad

Date: 26th April 2010
I started harvesting leaves from the plant this spring. In June it produces beautiful blue harebell flowers that are sweet and tasty to eat, loved by my five-year-old son. To the right is a red-leaved chicory also in its second year
Lovage and mallow seedlings

Lovage and mallow seedlings

Date: 21st March 2010
Tiny seedlings that will become important perennial edibles. Lovage is an umbellifer worth growing for its large, yeasty-flavoured leaves (yummy). Mallows are large plants with mild tasting leaves and flowers
Clover seedling

Clover seedling

Date: 1st April 2009
Self seeds everywhere and often treated as a weed. The leaves of baby clover seem really unusual and can be variable. As a potential nitrogen fixer it's a good companion plant
Elecampane seedling

Elecampane seedling

Date: 1st April 2009
A very tall perennial with yellow flowers and strongly scented, medicinal-edible roots. Easy to germinate, these are its baby leaves
Fennel seedling

Fennel seedling

Date: 1st April 2009
Fennel plants just popping their heads up and showing their baby leaves. Took about six days to germinate in a plastic mini greenhouse
Goosegrass or cleavers seedling

Goosegrass or cleavers seedling

Date: 1st April 2009
A self seeder with trailing stems and 'sticky' textured leaves. Can be eaten raw or cooked, the tea is refreshing with mint and gently tonic for the lymphatic system. Can be used as a deodorant
Hollyhock seedling

Hollyhock seedling

Date: 1st April 2009
Showing distinctive, veined baby leaves and its (very different) first true leaf. A tall perennial with edible leaves and decorative, edible flowers. Germination seems to be erratic
Wild service tree seedling

Wild service tree seedling

Date: 1st April 2009
A two-year-old seedling from a wild collected wild service (sorbus tormentalis) fruit. Like many tree seeds, needs stratification (frost) before germination. When mature the tree produces small edible fruits which sweeten during the early winter
Four self-seeded fruit tree seedlings

Four self-seeded fruit tree seedlings

Date: 1st April 2009
These are probably from apple pips in our kitchen compost, used in the growing area in January. The pips avoided being munched by mice, were stratified and have germinated! They were spotted during weeding and have been transplanted to a tree nursery bed
Marshmallow (althea officianalis) seedling

Marshmallow (althea officianalis) seedling

Date: 1st April 2009
A tall perennial with edible leaves and mucilaginous, edible-medicinal root. Photo shows baby leaves
Mimosa seedling

Mimosa seedling

Date: 1st April 2009
Not an edible but good fun. This small tender perennial will move when its leaves are brushed. You can see the baby leaves and first true leaves here. Needs frost-free place, this one germinated on a windowsill
Self-heal and oregano

Self-heal and oregano

Date: 1st April 2009
Mature self-heal (prunella vulgaris) and oregano in the herb garden, looking very similar! They both have a similar ground covering habit but self-heal lacks oregano's taste and scent
Bittercress seedings (cardamine hirsuta)

Bittercress seedings (cardamine hirsuta)

Date: 1st April 2009
Wild cress but not bitter, in fact if growing in moist part shade is delicious. Self-seeds rampantly
Wood sorrel

Wood sorrel

Date: 1st April 2009
Native to the shady woodland floor, a mildly lemon-flavoured (and beautiful) salad herb
Jack by the hedge, garlic mustard (allaria petiolata)

Jack by the hedge, garlic mustard (allaria petiolata)

Date: 1st April 2009
A slightly bitter, garlic flavoured, common wild plant
Boggy ground - watercress, saxifrage, purslane

Boggy ground - watercress, saxifrage, purslane

Date: 1st April 2009
Young watercress transplanted from pot-grown. In background, wild yellow saxifrage and a self-seeded white purslane. Far right, valerian
Basil seedling

Basil seedling

Date: 1st April 2009
Note square-ish shaped baby leaves and the first wrinkled, oval true leaves coming through
Chive and couch grass (sorry about the out of focus effect!)

Chive and couch grass (sorry about the out of focus effect!)

Date: 1st March 2009
... but spot the difference. The chive seedlings has a round stem and leaves; all the onion family look like this when they're small. Grass is deceptively similar but has flat leaves and sometimes a square stem. They germinate at a similar rate in spring
Brassica seedlings

Brassica seedlings

Date: 1st March 2009
Three rows of different brassica seedlings. All brassica babies look identical, so don't mix the labels up unless you don't care!
Beetroot seedling

Beetroot seedling

Date: 1st March 2009
Red-tinged beetroot seedlings. Chard seedlings look the same, but can be different colours. Take about a week to germinate
Pansy seedlings

Pansy seedlings

Date: 1st March 2009
Pretty, easy to grow flowers, edible in salad
Perilla (red shiso) seedlings + some weeds! A tender annual (luxury) salad

Perilla (red shiso) seedlings + some weeds! A tender annual (luxury) salad

Date: 1st March 2009
Perilla has a variable germination period (hence seedlings are different sizes). Treat like tomatoes: plant early in warmth. Note the basil-like, squareish baby leaves. Didn't weed these for ages but are doing fine anyway
Chilli pepper seedling

Chilli pepper seedling

Date:
These need to be planted early in the UK, around February. They need protection from frost, preferably heated, and sun; a windowsill is ok to start them off. Germinate easily
Nettle seedlings

Nettle seedlings

Date:
A nutritious edible self seeder; who doesn't know these? Note the baby leaves though, which are similar to some other seedlings and can fool you into thinking they're what you've planted if they come up in force.
Sweet cicely (myrrhis odorata) - mature plant on left, seedling to right

Sweet cicely (myrrhis odorata) - mature plant on left, seedling to right

Date:
Look to right of the onion top in the photo to see a baby, showing both a central true leaf and its first leaves. Excellent hassle-free perennial but won't germinate without stratification

Last updated: 2011-04-10

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