Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica is a fabulous plant to have in your garden during January, February, and March, when this clematis produces these lovely cream-coloured, pendent flowers that are so beautifully freckled in maroon. This is an evergreen clematis with handsome, ferny foliage that nicely compliments Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica flowers. The flowers transform into sumptuously silky, fluffy seed heads as they fade.
In the UK, Sambucus nigra is known as Elder. These small trees and shrubs must have many common names, as they’re a wild plant that frequents many countries across Europe, as well as places as far afield as Western Asia and North Africa. Sambucus nigra is a deciduous plant with green pinnate foliage. In late spring and early summertime, Sambucus nigra produces huge flat circles of cream coloured, scented flowers that are popular with insects.
Yew is also known by its botanical name, Taxus baccata. This is a glorious evergreen that’s versatile and accommodating. Taxus baccata is happy to grow as a specimen tree or a hedge; plants are content to grow naturally as unpruned trees but are equally happy to be pruned and clipped into spheres, pyramids, corkscrew twists, hearts, or whichever shape your heart desires.
In the UK, Prunus spinosa is usually known by its common name – Blackthorn. I am sure that Prunus spinosa has many common names, as this is a widespread plant that can be found growing in the wild across Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa. Prunus spinosa can be grown as a shrub, a hedge, or a tree. These plants are very spiny and they often form thickets.
Ilex aquifolium is the commonest holly we have in the UK; plants can be found growing both in the wild and as cultivated, garden plants. This holly species can be used as container plants, for hedging, or grown as specimen trees. Ilex aquifolium is native to the UK (Ilex aquifolium is absent from the Outer Hebrides, the Shetland Isles, and Orkney) but this is also a native plant of West Asia, North Africa, Southern and Western Europe.
Ranunculus flammula is an aquatic plant with beautiful shining-yellow, bowl-shaped flowers. This plant’s common name is Lesser Spearwort, but it’s very much like a lovely buttercup to grow in a pond! Ranunculus flammula can be grown in streams, ponds, lakes, or continually wet bog gardens; if you don’t have a pond, you could grow Ranunculus flammula in a container filled with rainwater.
Swiss Chard (also known by the botanical name Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla var. flavescens) is a magnificent vegetable that brings a touch of its own exquisite beauty to the gardens and allotments where it’s grown. This is another vegetable with an array of common names, it’s also called: Leaf Beet, Chard, Rhubarb Chard, and Rainbow Chard. For ease of reference, I try my best to stick to calling this vegetable Swiss Chard; although I do also call it Chard from time to time – sorry about that.
Celeriac (also known by the botanical name Apium graveolens var. rapaceum) is not the easiest vegetable to grow; these plants have a long growing season and the seeds need to be started off in the warmth, fairly early in the season. Celeriac seedlings will need to be protected inside a glasshouse, polytunnel, or conservatory, until all risk of frost has passed.
Leeks (also known by their botanical name Allium porrum) are tasty vegetables that have short sowing window and a long growing season; as a result, many gardeners miss the leek’s narrow seed sowing period and accordingly fail to grow these delicious and versatile vegetables. Like the majority of edible plants, leeks grow best in a sunny or partially shaded area.
Corn salad ‘Medallion’ (Valerianella locusta) is a super easy to grow salad plant! This is an annual plant that produces edible green, oval rounded leaves, with a subtle mild flavour.
I’ve grown corn salad ‘Medallion’ from seed in a really shaded position inside my Vegepod. My plants have thrived, despite the fact that they were grown in such challenging growing conditions – in deep shade.
Blackcurrants (Ribes nigrum) are hardy deciduous shrubs that thrive in warm and sunny, sheltered sites. These naturally bushy plants will grow in almost any well-drained soil. Blackcurrants enjoy regular watering throughout the summer months; these fruits will tolerate a wetter soil through the growing season, providing the ground isn’t too wet during the winter months. These productive fruits can be grown in full sunshine or partial shade.
Salsola soda is a vegetable that’s also known by many common names, including: agretti, roscano, saltwort, Russian thistle, Friar’s beard, Monk’s beard, Barba di Frate, or barilla plant. Plants have a grassy appearance, with stems of needle like leaves, that grow up to around 60cm (2ft) tall, depending on your plant’s growing conditions. This is a mild but delicious tasting vegetable that adds a freshness, which softly and subtly enhances stir fries, risottos, and many other dishes.
Hedera helix is more commonly known as ivy, or English ivy. This rather lovely, evergreen climbing plant is often taken for granted, it can be maligned by others, but not by me – I adore ivy. This is a magnificent plant, one that is willing to grow, easy to care for, and is a blessing for birds, insects, and wildlife. Hedera are such a versatile group of plants – I am a huge fan of ivy!
Carrots, also known by their botanical name of Daucus carota, are an easy to grow, delicious root vegetable. There are a wide range of carrot cultivars available for gardeners to grow, from the more regularly seen orange coloured carrots, to red, purple, white, or yellow coloured carrots. I enjoy the subtle differences in the taste and texture of the carrots of each colour variation.
Globe artichokes are a wonderful vegetable to grow, they look so beautiful and taste absolutely delicious! A freshly harvested globe artichoke has an entirely different and far superior taste and texture to a shop bought globe artichoke.
Globe artichokes are easily raised from seed. You can sow seeds directly in the ground, where you want your plants to grow, or start your seeds off in containers.
Beetroot, also known by its botanical name of Beta vulgaris, is an easy to grow root vegetable, which can be sown outside, from March until the beginning of August, in the UK.
There are a great many beetroot cultivars available, offering beetroot in a great many shapes, sizes, and colours.
You might opt to sow a traditional, round, globe shaped beetroot, or you may choose to sow a cylindrical beetroot, which has been bred to produce evenly shaped beetroot slices, ideal for pickling, such a Beetroot ‘Alto’, an F1 Hybrid, which you can see pictured in the image for ‘Beetroot’ at the top of this page.