Cutting Celery is also known by the botanical name, Apium graveolens. Cutting Celery is closely related to celery and celeriac, but these particular seeds have been selected and reselected especially for the flavour of their leaves. The leaves taste like celery – it’s a strong flavour – so a little goes a long way, but it’s not too overpowering. I really enjoy the taste of Cutting Celery leaves.
‘Parcel’ or ‘Par-Cel’ is also known by the botanical name, Apium graveolens. This is a hardy biennial plant that produces edible leaves with a strong flavour of celery; Parcel’s stems are edible too, but it is the pungent leaves that this plant is usually grown for. The name of ‘Parcel’ was given because this edible plant has foliage that resembles parsley but when eaten it has the flavour of celery; so the plant’s common name is an amalgamation of the two names – ‘Parcel’.
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, 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.
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.
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 .
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.
Fritillaria imperialis ‘Aurora’ are statement plants with large vibrant orange coloured, pendulous flowers that really create impact in the garden. Often referred to as Crown Imperials, these bulbous perennials form tall plants that reach up to around 1m (3.2ft) tall.
I’ve grown my Fritillaria imperialis ‘Aurora’ in large containers of peat-free compost. I’ve found these Fritillaries to be strong and sturdy plants that haven’t required any staking or support.
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.
Skirret (also known by the botanical name Sium sisarum) is a perennial root vegetable, which enjoyed great popularity in the medieval and Tudor periods, but sadly is rarely grown nowadays. I expect Skirret’s fall from favour is due to this vegetable producing thinner roots than carrots and parsnips and therefore being far more fiddly and difficult to clean and prepare than these more popular root vegetables.
Grapevines (also known by their botanical name Vitis vinifera) are decorative climbing plants that produce delicious grapes and handsome leaves. These wonderful plants can be very productive. Grapevines are versatile plants; a range of varieties are available, you’ll find grapevines that are suited to growing outdoors in gardens and allotments, or types that favour the improved growing conditions found inside conservatories, porches, glasshouses, and polytunnels.
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.
Origanum onites is one of my favourite plants; its a pretty little thing with a long flowering period; plants bloom over the summer months. This is a superb plant for a wildlife garden. Origanum onites plants produce an abundance of these sweet, dainty flowers that are adored by bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and moths. Commonly known as marjoram, Origanum onites is a culinary and medicinal herb with aromatic leaves that will enhance a wide variety of culinary dishes.
Tanacetum parthenium is a useful herbaceous perennial. This is a really easy to grow, undemanding plant that flowers during the summer months. I cut my plants back heavily after their flowers fade. I usually cut my plants right back to the ground – don’t worry – this doesn’t harm the plants – they soon grow up and flower again! Plants bloom in cycles, from June until September.
Melons (also known by their botanical name Cucumis melo) are tender, sweet tasting fruits that can be successfully grown from seeds, in the UK. Sow melon seeds in springtime – from March to the middle of May. If you’re too late to sow seeds (or if you don’t have access to a glasshouse), you don’t have to miss out, as young melon plants can be purchased from many nurseries and garden centres.
Lettuce is a delightful vegetable to grow. Many different varieties of lettuce are available; there are green lettuces, red lettuce, purple lettuces, and bronze coloured lettuces. Some lettuces develop a rounded ball-like form of leaves as they mature, while other varieties produce upright, vertical leaves and there are also lettuces with a looser, open form. Whether you favour a crisp lettuce leaf or softer textured leaves, with such a wide choice of lettuce seeds available, you’re sure to find your favourite.
Peas (also known by their botanical name, Pisum sativum) are annual vegetables from the Fabaceae or Leguminosae (Legume) family. These climbing plants produce pods filled with peas. The peas are often the focus for gardeners and cooks, but don’t miss out on the extent of the gourmet delights that peas offer us – as all parts of the pea plant are edible – the shoots, leaves, pea pods, and the peas themselves – they’re all utterly delicious!
You can’t miss Anthemis tinctoria when it’s in flower, as these glowing, sunny yellow daisies really stand out across the garden. Anthemis tinctoria is commonly known as Dyer’s Chamomile, as the flowers and stems of this plant can be used to dye fabrics and other materials. Plants flower in the summer time. In the UK, Anthemis tinctoria usually blooms during June, July, and August.
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.