Primula veris is also known as the Cowslip. Primula veris is very pretty perennial that holds a special place in many people’s hearts, reminding us of country walks and the beauty of nature. Primula veris is a commonly seen wildflower throughout Europe – being known and loved by so many – I am certain this lovely plant has many more common names.
Corylus avellana is a wonderful shrub or tree that in the UK is commonly known as hazel. I absolutely adore Corylus avellana, it’s one of my favourite plants; I’d encourage almost anyone to grow this fantastic shrub, tree, or hedge! A native tree of many countries in Europe, Corylus avellana is a superb plant for a wildlife garden or an edible garden.
Juniper is also known by its botanical name, Juniperus communis. Juniperus communis is an evergreen conifer with spiky needles. Plants are very hardy and they flourish in exposed and sheltered locations. These plants need a bright and sunny position; Juniperus communis is happy growing in almost any moist but well-drained soil, including stony ground and chalk. When choosing where to plant Juniperus communis, avoid shaded areas and soils that are prone to water-logging.
In the UK, Pinus sylvestris is often known as the Scot’s Pine. However, Pinus sylvestris trees’ native range is extensive, this tree’s majestic kingdom stretches across Northern Europe and further afield, so goodness only knows how many common names this handsome tree has attracted – thank goodness for botanical names, which remain the same – wherever in the world you are.
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.
The Silver Birch (Betula pendula) is one of our most recognisable UK native trees with its glorious silvery-white bark and dainty green leaves. We’re not the only ones to have an affinity with Betula pendula, this stunning tree is a native plant of many countries in Europe and Northern Asia. Betula pendula is a deciduous tree, its leaves turn from green to a buttery yellow before falling in autumn.
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.
Myosotis scorpioides alba is also known as the Water Forget-Me-Not. This pretty plant requires continually wet conditions; Myosotis scorpioides alba grows in reliably wet bog gardens, as well as in streams, and ponds. If you have a patio garden and don’t have room for a pond you can still grow Myosotis scorpioides alba by creating a container pond or bog garden .
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.
Alliaria petiolata is a commonly found wildflower in Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. Whenever its foliage is bruised, crushed, or trampled, this plant’s leaves release a scent that’s reminiscent of garlic; as a consequence, in the UK, Alliaria petiolata is often called Garlic Mustard, or Hedge Garlic. Another common name for Alliaria petiolata is Jack-by-the hedge, which reflects one of this plant’s habitats and Alliaria petiolata’s prominence as a plant that lines our hedgerows.
Alpine strawberries or wild strawberries (also known by their botanical name Fragaria vesca) are small, low growing, plants that trail along the ground, spreading via runners; these pretty little plants can grow up to around 15cm (6 inches) tall. I adore alpine strawberries! These dainty little plants are utterly charming, with attractive leaves, delightful white flowers, and the delicious red strawberries they produce.
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.
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.
Angelica archangelica is a simply divine garden plant! I love the zingy green colour tone of this biennial’s flowers and seeds, their fresh colouring and the plant’s tall, architectural, and statuesque appearance is of great value in the garden.
Angelica archangelica favours moist, well drained soils, though please don’t give up hope if you have sandy soil – for many years I have grown Angelica archangelica very successfully on sandy, silty, free draining soils.
Raspberries (also known by their botanical name, Rubus idaeus) are easy-to-grow, shrubby plants that produce delicious tasting berries in varying shades of red, pink, purple, a dark inky shade of purple that almost looks black, yellow, orange, peach, and very occasionally, white. The raspberries pictured in the photograph (taken at my allotment) that accompanies this plant page are still developing, they have yet to colour or ripen.
Asparagus, also known by its botanical name of Asparagus officinalis, is a delectable vegetable, which is made even more appetising when you eat the spears the same day they are harvested. The sooner you eat asparagus spears, the sweeter they taste. Freshly harvested asparagus spears have a familiarly sweet quality, it’s rather like the sweetness we enjoy when we eat freshly harvested sweetcorn.
Rumex sanguineus var. sanguineus (also known as veined sorrel) is grown for its attractive, ornamental, edible leaves, which have a tangy flavour and feature attractive red veining.
For more articles about edible gardening, please click here.
To see my plant pages and view pictures and information to help you grow a wide range of vegetables, please click here.