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Arche Noah Anniversary

August 26, 2010

I’ve written about the Arche Noah, a society for the preservation of heirloom vegetables, before, back in May when I went to the yearly plant market.

This past Sunday was the ‘Garden Party of Diversity’, apparently a yearly event, too, but this year also celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Arche Noah society.

The visitors’ garden is always pretty in late Summer, early Autumn (I’ve been there around this time for the past two years), and to make it even more lovely, there were stalls with plants and vegetables, and music, and music and food…

Coming into the garden, you are greeted by cheerful beds of vegetables mixed with flowers:

Chard (Beta vulgaris) and annual Larkspur (Consolida ajacis). At the back, sunflowers (Helianthus annuus)

And the ‘playground’ – a tree to climb on, some sand to dig in, some water to splash around with, and not a parent in sight who screams, ‘don’t get dirty! Don’t get wet! Don’t fall off the tree!’ (I wish more playgrounds had trees to climb on – but I suppose that’s not allowed, since trees don’t conform to EU security rules…)

Outside the shop was a sales area for herbs, where you could find just about any ordinary and extraordinary plant that could be used as a spice, tea herb, medicinally, or just for its nice smell.

I at once grabbed a new Bog Sage, but forgot to take pictures of the herbs themselves, except for this tiny thyme:

Thymus praecox ssp. arcticus 'Minor', Creeping Thyme

Displays had been arranged in the garden:

bean varieties

root vegetables

calabash/bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) as bottles, rattles, string instruments...

All these plants are also grown in the garden, right next to the displays.

I seem to have a lot of pictures of plants from the Nightshade family (Solanaceae):

Kangaroo Apple (Solanum aviculare)

I have no idea... or no ID, whatever. There was no tag.

Litchi Tomato (Solanum sisymbriifolium)

Litchi Tomato (Solanum sisymbriifolium)

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Many beds were edged with flowers:

You can still see that the corn cobs in the background were wrapped with paper to prevent cross-pollination – most plants in the garden are planted so seed can be collected.

Some beds were covered with fleece, also to prevent cross-pollination:

Taller plants have fleece tunnels – this one contained one variety of corn and one variety of peppers, and some (I think) bumblebees as pollinators.

A corner of the garden is dedicated to an attempt to breed a new¬† tomato variety – ‘Blue Zebra’. I’d read about attempts to breed a ‘blue’ tomato before (here – now if only I could remember how I stumbled on that post!), and as I understand it, they’re crossing it with Green Zebra.

Some areas, on the other hand, are purely ornamental, such as the flower bed at the centre of the garden:

Looking down at the garden:

And continuing on into the orchard, where stalls have been set up, selling more plants – of all kinds this time, from houseplants all the way to trees – vegetables, food, drinks (we had lots of grape juice that day, being non-drinkers travelling in wine country) and … uh… all sorts of stuff I don’t remember.

I bought a Passiflora edulis, and found out why Solanum melongena is called ‘eggplant':

Aubergines/Eggplants (Solanum melongena)

I also learned where the Austrian German (originally Italian) name ‘Melanzani’ for eggplant comes from – according to a sighn, it is derived from ‘mela insana’, meaning something like ‘insanity apple’ (I’m doing a double translation here, Italian to German to English, so I hope I’ll be forgiven if it isn’t quite right), because people used to think plants in the Nightshade family induced madness (not so wrong, since it contains many poisonous/hallucinogenic plants).

… and now, I seem to have run out of interesting pictures, so I’ll finish up with one that’s simply pretty:

Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 29, 2010 21:56

    I think I like the name insanity apple best.

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