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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aubergines (also known as Eggplant or by the plant’s botanical name, Solanum melogena) are tender plants that need warmth and bright sunshine if they’re to thrive. Sow aubergine seeds in pots of peat-free compost, inside a heated propagator or glasshouse, from January to April. Ensure your seedlings are grown in an area that enjoys bright light.
From the end of May or beginning of June, (when there is no risk of cold temperatures or frost) if you garden in a warm area, aubergine plants can be hardened off (brought out from the glasshouse during the daytime and then taken back inside again at night for a couple of weeks), before being planted outside in a warm, bright and sunny area.
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.
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.
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.