Tag Archive: nuts


koelreutia pan fastig fruit Koelreuteria is a genus of three species of flowering trees; K. paniculata, K. bipinnata and K. elegans

Common name:  Common names include Golden Rain Tree, Pride of India, China tree, or varnish tree

Native areas: The tree is Native to China and southern and eastern Asia.

Koelreutia elegans subsp. formosa

Koelreutia elegans subsp. formosa

Historical notes: It’s discovery is credited to Pierre d’Incarville, a Jesuit missionary; who sent first seed from China to Russia in 1747. It was classified by Russian botanist Erich Laxmann who named it after Joseph Gottlieb Kolreuter,  from Karlsruhe, Germany, a contemporary and professor of natural history. It was later grown in Europe (by 1753) and reached America in 1811. The variety K. paniculata ‘Fastigiata’ was raised by Kew Gardens from seeds received in 1888 from Shanghai.

Koelreutia bipinnata

Koelreutia bipinnata

Features: Koelreuteria are medium-sized deciduous trees growing to 10–20 m (33–66 ft) tall, with spirally arranged pinnate or bipinnate leaves. Leaves are pinkish in spring, turning yellow in autumn. The flowers are small and yellow, produced in large branched panicles 20–50 cm (8–20 in) long. The fruit is a three-lobed inflated papery capsule or ‘bladder’ 3–6 cm long, containing several hard nut-like seeds 5–10 mm diameter. In some areas, notably parts of eastern North America, they have become invasive. the variety K. paniculata ‘Fastigiata’ tends to be shorter than the species (5-10 metres tall) and has a narrow columnar shape.

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Uses: Koelreuteria are popularly grown as ornamental trees in temperate regions all across the world because of the aesthetic appeal of their flowers, leaves and seed pods. Koelreuteria are commonly used as focal points in landscape design.  Several cultivars have been selected for garden planting, including ‘Fastigiata’ with a narrow crown, and ‘September Gold’,  flowering in late summer. The seeds are edible when roasted, but are not commonly consumed. The variety K. paniculata ‘Fastigiata’ is a good choice for restricted spaces and excellent as a specimen tree in a park. The clusters of small yellow flowers which it produces in July and August are popular with bees and are followed by lantern-shaped fruits in the autumn.

Koelreutia paniculata 'Fastigiata' growing at Barcham Trees

Koelreutia paniculata ‘Fastigiata’ growing at Barcham Trees

 Growing conditions:  Koelreuteria grow in nutritionally poor soil including: clay, sand, well drained, alkaline, loam; they require full sun but not a lot of watering, with a moderate aerosol salt tolerance. They tolerate wind, air pollution, salt, heat, and drought and grow at a moderate rate, but are sometimes fast growers. Koelreuteria produce seeds that are blown away and get germinated and this might result in the growing of more trees next to the original one.’Fastigiata’ does best in dry, calcareous soils and in a reasonably sheltered position, such as an urban courtyard garden.

Fruit and flowers of K. paniculata

Fruit and flowers of K. paniculata

Further information:

Wikipedia- Koelreuteria

Wikipedia- Koelreuteria paniculata

Wikipedia- Kolreuteria bipinnata

RHS- Koelreuteria paniculata

Barcham Trees Directory- Koelreuteria paniculata

Barcham trees directory-  Koelreuteria paniculata ‘Fastigiata’

Old School Gardener

walnut tree in gardenThe Walnut tree genus (juglans) has 21 species, but there are two main species in common garden or landscape use; the Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) and English (or Common or Persian)Walnut (Juglans regia). I’ve recently written about the poison they both contain and what this means for growing other plants underneath or nearby.

Common name: ‘Walnut’  or Black/English/Common/Persian Walnut. The word walnut derives from the Germanic wal– and Old English wealhhnutu, literally “foreign nut”, wealh meaning “foreign”. The genus name “Juglans” comes from Latin jūglans, meaning ‘walnut, walnut tree’; jūglans in turn is a contraction of Jōvis glans, ‘nut of [the god] Jupiter’

1280px-WalnutsNative areas: The English Walnut (J. regia) originated in Persia, and the Black Walnut (J. nigra) is native to eastern North America.

Historical notes: The Black Walnut was introduced to Europe in 1629 from north America, whereas the English Walnut is thought to have been grown in Britian since Roman times. The worldwide production of walnuts has been increasing rapidly in recent years, with the largest increase coming from Asia. The husks of the black walnut Juglans nigra are used to make an ink for writing and drawing. Walnut ink has good archival properties, and was used by several great artists including Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt. Walnut husks are used as a brown dye for fabric. Walnut dyes were used in classical Rome and in medieval  Europe for dyeing hair. The U.S. Army used ground walnut shells for the cleaning of aviation parts because it was inexpensive and non-abrasive. However, an investigation of a fatal helicopter crash in 1982 (in Mannheim, Germany) revealed that walnut grit clogged an oil port, leading to the accident and to the discontinuation of walnut shells as a cleaning agent.

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Features: The Black Walnut is of high flavour, but due to its hard shell and poor hulling characteristics it is not grown commercially for nut production. The commercially produced walnut varieties are nearly all hybrids of the English Walnut.  Walnuts are late to grow leaves, typically not until more than halfway through the spring. The blossoms also normally appear in spring. The male cylindrical catkins are developed from leafless shoots from the past year; they are about 10 cm (3.9 in) in length and have a large number of little flowers. Female flowers appear in a cluster at the peak of the current year’s leafy shoots. Both main species contain a chemical called “juglone” which can be poisonous (or allelopathic) to other plants. This can be a particular issue for growing other plants underneath a Black Walnut.

Juglans_regia_-_Köhler–s_Medizinal-Pflanzen-081Uses: As garden trees, Walnuts have some drawbacks, in particular the falling nuts and the release of Juglone.However, they are grown and both species make a stately subject for parkland and avenue plantings, or as specimen trees where space allows. The English Walnut develops a broad crown at maturity (and a height of 15- 20 metres). It also has delightfully aromatic young foliage, from which a wine can be made, followed by a crop of delicious nuts. It is smooth barked when young. Both species are also grown for their timber. The Black Walnut is fast growing and was awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 2002. It can  reach 20 metres or more in height and makes a large tree with a pyramidal crown. It produces an abundance of nuts over a long period, but they are rather difficult to extract from their very hard shells. It is rough barked from a young age.

 Growing conditions: Walnuts are light-demanding species that benefit from protection from wind. Walnuts are also very hardy against drought. Walnuts grow on most soils but the English Walnut does not favour water logged conditions. The Black Walnut favours deep loam. Walnut trees are easily propagated from the nuts. Seedlings grow rapidly on good soils.

Further information:

Wikipedia- Walnut

Wikipedia – Juglans

GQT: Underneath the Walnut Tree- what to plant.

Barcham trees directory-  Juglans regia

Old School Gardener

Keeping the bees happy is one aspect of planting a wildlife garden

Keeping the bees happy is one aspect of planting a wildlife garden

The latest round of RHS Garden Shows winds it’s way around the country – Hampton Court is next up and opens 0n 8th July. I’ve been to this show twice before and I reckon that most if not all of the show gardens (and this is probably true of the other shows too), tend towards what you might call the ‘middle ground’ of design (perhaps considered a ‘safe bet’?) What I mean is that they usually combine that tried and tested formula of ‘formal structure, informal planting’ – what you might call the classic Arts and Crafts/ English Country House style.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a style I love myself and is what I’m trying to create here at the Old School Garden. But every now and then its refreshing to see something at one of the ‘design extremes’- the sort of creation that pushes you into thinking again about structural features or particular planting choices and combinations in your own garden, or even more fundamentally, what you expect your garden to do.

At this year’s Hampton Court Show one garden looks set to do this and at the same time get across some important messages about the potential food value of gardens- and in particular the wide range of good quality food that nature puts on the menu.  ‘The Jordans Wildlife Garden’ has been created to reflect a long-term commitment from Jordans to the British countryside. With a colourful variety of features from edible wild flowers, trees and hedges to oats, fruit and nuts – all of which can be foraged from the countryside – the garden provides a natural ‘larder’ to share as a shelter for birds, bees and butterflies. Its unveiling celebrates the belief that great tasting food comes from working closely with nature, as well as aiming to inspire gardeners everywhere to support British wildlife.

The Jordans Wildlife Garden Design

The Jordans Wildlife Garden Design

This Garden is set to showcase the importance of sustainability and protecting the British countryside to RHS visitors from across the country. Oat fields, inspired by Jordans’ farms, outline the sides of the garden, moving through to mown paths of species rich meadow, which curve through the space. Swathes of meadow alongside the paths give a close connection to nature. The garden is surrounded by a cut log wall and grassy banks, which form a wildlife friendly edge to the garden and a habitat for wildlife. A nut terrace that provides an edible treat for both people and wildlife surrounds the elegant, reflective pool in the centre of the garden. There are also sculpted straw benches, created by willow sculptor Spencer Jenkins, that provide a place to rest and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. Mixed native hedgerow and fruit and nut trees will surround one side of the garden, providing more edible treats for people and animals.

The Garden features have been designed to support local wildlife, including thatched insect hotels, birdhouses and feeding stations. These were all custom crafted for the Garden and add a unique beauty to the space. Design elements such as cut wood stepping-stones, created by chainsaw artist Ella Fielding, will provide further material for animals to make their homes in, whilst the meadow flowers themselves house a beehive – a core feature of any wildlife garden.

All the sustainable elements of the Garden also represent a commitment by Jordans to The Prince’s Countryside Fund, which works to support the people that take care of our countryside and ensures a sustainable future for British farmers and rural communities. And it just shows the ease with which these elements can be brought into compact garden spaces, whilst still supporting local wildlife.

Selina Botham, a passionate wildlife and garden enthusiast, designed the Garden. She has won numerous awards for her beautiful and considered approach to gardening, from Gold Medal to Best In Show for her first ever garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. And as part of its British countryside celebrations this July, Jordans has enlisted the taste expertise of Great British Bake Off winner, Edd Kimber, to create a series of foraged food recipes inspired by The Jordans Wildlife Garden.

Selina Botham
Selina Botham

Long-term supporters of wildlife habitats and increased biodiversity, Jordans’ cereal farmers devote at least 10% of their farmed areas to supporting wildlife. These sustainable practices are at the centre of the company’s ethos and their pioneering work in this area helps to create a more diverse countryside by encouraging up to five times more wildlife in agricultural spaces.

As a daily consumer of their fruity Muesli, it’s nice to know that they promote sustainable farming practices!

Links for further information:

Jordans Cereals and the Wildlife Garden

Up to date coverage of the Jordan’s Wildlife Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show – on Facebook and Twitter

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