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’.
The Florist’s Cyclamen (also know by their botanical name, Cyclamen persicum) are tender Cyclamen plants that are often given as gifts. I find these particular Cyclamen are notoriously difficult to keep. It’s a miracle if I can keep a Cyclamen persicum specimen alive for as long as a couple of weeks, as these plants thrive in cool temperatures of around 10-15C (50-59F) with a maximum temperature of 15C (59F) and they also require bright, indirect light.
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.
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.
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.
Digitalis ferruginea ‘Gigantea’ is an absolutely stunning foxglove! Plants produce tall spires of fantastically beautiful, tan coloured flowers; each individual bloom is enhanced by a gorgeous rusty coloured veining. The whole effect of a Digitalis ferruginea ‘Gigantea’ plant in bloom is truly breathtaking. I remember the first time I saw these foxgloves in flower during a garden visit, I instantly knew that I simply had to grow these plants in my own garden and promptly ordered some seeds!
Primula vulgaris are low growing, perennials that form basal rosette shaped plants, made up of beautifully textured, wrinkled, obovate leaves. These small plants are generally known as primroses. Primula vulgaris are popular wild flowers; they’re often found growing in gardens, the countryside, and in urban areas across Europe. Primroses are hardy; plants will happily survive temperatures down as low as -20C (-4F), and probably lower.
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.
Spinach (also known by the botanical name Spinacia oleracea) is a tasty and fast growing, edible plant that is easily grown from seed. This is a very versatile vegetable with an extended harvest period. Spinach can be grown from seeds sown directly into large containers of good quality compost or seeds can be sown directly in the soil. Spinach plants have a tendency to bolt; plants are most likely to go to seed if the weather is hot or if the plants’ soil or growing medium becomes too dry.
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.
Rocket (also known by the botanical name Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa) is a fantastically easy-to-grow edible; it’s a productive plant with leaves that bring a deliciously peppery flavour to salads and culinary dishes. I really enjoy rocket leaves eaten fresh in a salad. One of my favourite simple suppers is a jacket potato with rocket and avocado. However, you can also cook with rocket, as these leaves produce delicious soups.
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.
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.
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.
Figs, also known by their botanical name of Ficus carica, are wonderfully beautiful shrubs or trees, that produce delicious, parthenocarpic fruits in summer and early autumn. In the UK, figs grown outdoors produce one crop of figs a year, but when the same fig plant is grown in warmer climates it can crop at least twice a year.
Fig shrubs or trees are very attractive, their large, beautiful leaves are very handsome indeed, these plants can add a pleasing character and charm to the garden.