Lathyrus odoratus 'Senator'

The Gloucestershire Group reports on some surprising facts about the plants in your herbaceous border

13th November, 2019

On Saturday last, the Gloucestershire Group welcomed former Birmingham University lecturer, Rachel Salisbury, to talk to us about 'The Really Useful Garden'.

'Really useful' turned out to be fairly surprising.  Vegetables, by definition, are edible, but many of our ornamentals turn out to be edible too (although please don't count on this).  Hostas, so beloved by slugs and snails, are considered a delicacy in Japan, where they are known as Urui.  Fuchsia berries can make a marvellous jam or jelly.  The bulbs of lilies are apparently edible and young Dahlia tubers can be cooked as you would potatoes; boiled, mashed or made in to hash browns.  

Less surprising was the use of ornamental plants for pharmacological purposes.  But how many of knew that  the 'spir' in aspirin comes from Spiraea, the old name for Filipendula, from which salicylic acid was originally extracted (it now mainly comes from Salix bark).

All in all, it was a fascinating and informative afternoon and a welcome relief from the torrential rain.  


Conserving the diversity of garden plants

eg: plant genus, common name, county, collection holder name.