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Three random things I learned, or remembered, today

Archive for Plants

Organic products are better?



Up till now, as far as I know, evidence that organic food is higher in nutritional value has been lacking. It has rather been a “lifestyle choice.”

Apparently, this is beginning to change. It has been shown that organic fruit and vegetables contain 40% more antioxidants which are thought to cut the risk of cancer and heart disease. The antioxidants in organic milk were shown to be 90% more in this study.

The food Standards Agency will consider this research and if necessary review their current advice.



Carving a Halloween pumpkin



There is a site dedicated to pumpkins.

It gives a bit on pumpkin carving history, choosing your pumpkins, carving tools, traditional carving, carving with stencils, lighting your pumpkins, life-span of a pumpkin, photographing, and growing your own pumpkin.


Its even suggested how to give your pumpkin a good burial once halloween is over.




I have never seen blueberries cultivated in Scotland and wondered why. Maybe the Scots just don’t like them much.

Apparently they need very acid soil. Almost pure peat some say. We have that in the highlands.

There needs to be more than one bush for pollination.

And should never be allowed to dry out.

I’ll bet it’s too cold up here.


Love-in-a-mist flowers



Here are the flowers of Love-in-a-mist




Most summers I plant seeds of Love-in-a-mist in the garden for their seed pods as much as their delicate flowers and foliage.

Love-in-a-mist or Nigella damascena is a close relative of Nigella savita. Both are members of the buttercup family – (Ranunculaceae). The seeds of Nigella sativa are used as a spice. There seems to be a lot of confusion over the name of this spice. Sometimes, it is loosely called “black cumin” or “black caraway” or “black onion seed” “black sesame seed” but it is none of these. There is no botanical relationship between any of these plants.

In the USA, it is often known as “chernushka” and in Indian recipes, the seeds are referred to as “ajwain” but I don’t think they are that either.

All very confusing.

Kalonji seed may be a more accurate name. Peshawari naan bread is generally topped with these seeds.

More legumes



I was a bit fascinated by the fact that lupin flour (lupin or lupine being a legume) could cross react with people who have peanut allergy (peanut being another legume).

Here are some more legumes. I wonder how many of them cross react too.

Soya beans

I wonder if there are any more that we eat.

I wonder if an individual who has peanut allergy might react after handling lupins or sweet peas?

All the more reason to wash your hands after handling any kind of flower or plant, I suppose.

And to cover any cuts on the hands too.

What’s wrong with wild flowers?



I love orchids at my kitchen window. I love wild harebells by the roadside or in my garden.

But the two don’t mix well.

Sometimes I get so, so mad at people!

The Scottish countryside is beautiful. Some of the less invasive native wild flowers are now becoming well established at the side of the country roads again as farming becomes gentler.

But there is a new kind of herbicide. The wealthy townsfolk, the “incomers” who buy up the country cottages and farms and turn them into manicured mansions, take over the roadside also.

I saw this happening this morning. The wild verges up and down the road outside the new ostentatious gate of the cottage-come-mansion had been claimed by the incomer. Not owned by the incomer. Just claimed. “I am a wealthy man, therfore I have a right to claim the roadside too!” The bluebells, the wild roses, the meadowsweet, the thistles were all hacked out. Kerbs were being put in place, grass was being sown, garish plants all in full bloom were being put in by a posse of workmen. No expense was spared.

Many of these plants will not survive the frosts.

No taste, no sensitivity, no knowledge of nature.

The arrogance of the the incomer.

I think I might gather dandelion clocks and thistledown and willow herb seeds and sprinkle them all around this travesty of a roadside in the middle of the night.