The woody Rosaceae and their uses

Part 1; the woody plants in the rose family

The blossom of our Hawthorn is a beautiful site and is an important member of the Rose family.

The Rosaceae or Rose family is a large and important family containing trees, shrubs, sub-shrubs and herbs. Although occurring worldwide, the greatest numbers of species are being found in the North Temperate region. This post will tell more about the uses of our native members of the Rosaceae.

In Stace it is family 48, so relative early in the evolution of the Flowering plants. It has 36 genera but several genera + species are introduced garden plants and of course are easily spread by the seeds in their fruits which are attractive as a food for birds in particular, spreading the plants far and wide into natural areas.

As this blog is not about ornamental plants but is about our useful ‘weeds’ I will use the order of genera mentioned in ‘The Wild Flower Key. This has less of those ornamental genera and species as mentioned in Stace. It has also lumped all the trees and shrubs together followed by the herbs.

This week we’ll start with all the native trees and shrubs in the Rose family.

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Foraging plants and their uses; an easy guide by Mike Poulton

Nettle tops can be used as long as they look like this!

Foraging has been done for centuries but is hopefully getting a bit of a revival!

People like to have a connection with nature again, especially with their daily exercise in lockdown situation and what a better way to do this then to go out there and forage!

So today I would like to introduce you to a document received from fellow botanist Mike Poulton, who used to do training sessions on foraging for wild plants.  It is a good, quick reference to the more useful wild plants for food!

The edible parts of the native plants are listed with their common names and categorized in 5 sections: leaves and shoots (1), herbs (2), edible flowers (3), fruits and seeds (4) and roots (5).

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My dream for an Ethnobotanical Garden!

Ethnobotanical Gardens what are they?

This is an earlier blog which became lost somehow so will reinstall it using the neat Gotenberg editing of WordPress.

The whole idea of starting an Ethnobotanical garden came about after volunteering for 2 months at ‘Jardin Etnobotanico de Oaxaca’ in 2008!

So what is an Ethnobotanical garden? Hope to explain all about this on the next page and why I feel it is important to have one in this day and age of global warming and pandemics!

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The Rodbaston Salvias!

Salvia ‘Rodbaston Rosy Cheeks’

In the first chapter about  the salvias  I told the story how I became hooked to them and this time I would like to introduce you to all of the Rodbaston ones!

There are 6 ‘survivors’ of the original 7 which is much better than I had hoped a few months ago!

Fortunately for me was that the  owners and present Head Gardener of Wollerton Old Hall had still kept the varieties after they got them from me for the RHS trials from 2012-2014  of what I call the ‘Shrubby salvias’ (Salvia microphylla, S. greggii, S. x jamensis and varieties + cultivars/hybrids).

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The Salvia: Chapter 1

Welcome to my new venture:

Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ is an unusual ‘fun’ salvia with white, red or, when it behaves: two-toned flowers!

This year I would like to start a whole new ‘New World Salvia collection’!

First this will be virtual on my blog, but hopefully I will soon be able to grow all these lovely plants into a fantastic collection in reality! I have used this signal red colour as many salvia flowers are of this colour.  Like the popular variety above, which has the funny bi-colour! But there are also many blue ones or violet and pink or do we call it maroon or purple (!) and yellow as well as all other colours in between!

They are beautiful: grown for their very vivid colours, mostly flowering en masse, for long periods on end and they are easy to fit into any area of your garden or grown into a container on your patio.

Another less known fact is that the foliage often has a delicious fruity fragrance.

I like to tell you all about them….

My love affair with the Salvias began in the last century; in  1998 to be precise!

This is since I became Head Gardener at Rodbaston College, which is now after amalgamation with 3 other colleges in the County, known as South Staffordshire College, Rodbaston Campus near Stafford in the U.K.

The collection had been started by the former Head Gardener,  with the then Head of Horticulture , who both thought it would be a good idea for the College to have a National Collection and they decided it should be the genus Salvia.

Salvia semiatrata is an unusual tender Salvia found in Oaxaca, Mexico

But when I started to get to know the genus and in particular the New World ones with all its different species, cultivars and hybrids I  slowly built it up to be ‘National Collection of New World Salvias’, which it gained official status in 2002.

Three expeditions to southern Mexico, mainly in the State of Oaxaca and the organisation of a Salvia Study Day at the College got me more and more hooked. I made several very influential friends in the Salvia world to which I still owe my gratitude.

My story below mentions several very influential people in the Salvia world and in particular in Britain. I have copied some information from several books about salvias, as these are often in better words then what I can write myself. You’ll find links for these books, so you can purchase them yourself  if you want! They are certainly worth it if you get hooked!

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