Our Garden Citizens
Nature is diverse! It hosts a range of species and non-living elements, each one of them with specific characteristics and tasks. On their own, they are stunning but together they create a beautiful mind-boggling system that far exceeds the sum of its parts, that is an ecosystem and that should be the premise of how we produce our food! Scroll down and get an amazing insight into citizens who make out our small productive and perennial ecosystem. And psst, we have a beatiful anual garden as well, please visit us to check that out!
Apples / Äpple
We have 7 different apple trees, Huvitus, Transparente Blanche, Katja, Ångerö, Alice, Amorosa and Aroma E. Together they provide fruit from August to November keeping the students happy throughout the entire fall. Apples are a delicious and healthy crowd-pleaser that serve as the backbone of our small forest ecosystem.
Elderflower / Fläder
When you drink a glass of Elderflower juice at the darkest day of winter your mind automatically travels to early summer, where oceans of green is towered by the magical sight and scent of the mighty elderflower! For us there could be no midsummer without the sound of people taking a sip and mumble...mmm Fläder... And boy are the other plants happy to have the elderflower around, as an accelerator plant, the elderflower speeds up the transformation from a lawn to a forest soil ecosystem. WOW!
Plums / Plommon
Plums are a valuable addition to a suitable permaculture plot, as their fruit can be eaten fresh, are ideal for baking and plum trees typically provide a bountiful harvest so some of the fruit can be utilized for preserving in jams and jellies. Plums are also a very good supplement for refined sugar.
Walnut / Valnöt
There are few plants that intrigue the forest gardener as much as the walnut. Spread across the globe it comes in many different shapes and with different qualities. Although it is possible to grow basically every type in our climate, some plants are still hard to acquire. Juglans nigra can in full age produce 100 kg of healthy delicious nuts each year! Beneath the mighty crown though the tree has a reputation of being a bit of a bully towards other plants by releasing toxic into the soil to favour itself. However, it is possible to create a fully functioning ecosystem with wild leeks, onions, Jerusalem artichokes and chervil to cover the ground!
Pear / Päron
We have had pears around for 3000 years,first imported from Asia. Back then it was considered as a symbol for immortality and now it’s one of our most loved fruits. It is good to almost anything. In the garden there will be no less than three different sorts, that is of course a drop in the ocean compared to the 3000 different sorts we have in the world but it’s a 300% increase at Ultuna. That is a good start.
Mulberry / Mullbär
.This is a shrubbery packed with antioxidants in such a concentration that the army used them to keep their soldiers healthy back in World war I. What we think is so fantastic about this little fella is that it is also equally tasty and you can eat both the berries and the leaves, although the leaves are more commonly used for tea. It’s openingen signifies the wrapping up of the summer.
Cherries / Körsbär
We love birds! They are our friends, singing the most beautiful tunes from the top of our trees but when it comes to cherries we are also friendly competitors. If you want to grab a handful of these delicious and super healthy berries then speed is your best asset because the birds will want to get there first. Cue the race!
Sea Buckthorn / Havtorn
The Sea Buckthorn is without a doubt one of the most important plants in the garden! Collaborating with bacteria in the soil it fixates nitrogen from the air into the ground speeding up the transformation from lawn into forest. As long as people are around trimming the plant to collect it's tasty and insanely healthy berries it will stay in check and keep boosting all the other citizens with the nutrients they need! Without asking for much it feeds its neighbours and and ourselves, incredible!
Turkish Hazelnut / Turkisk Hassel
This tree is nuts! The Turkish hazelnut grows fast and up to 25 meters high. It tolerates drought and its pyramid-shaped lush top provides our garden with leafy shadow and a light green shine. The hazelnuts are completely edible and delicious...if you can make it before the animals. More good news is that the nutshell is thicker than regular hazelnut which gives the pests a harder time. I'm telling you, it will drive everyone nuts...
Rasberry / Hallon
Oh you lovely thorny bush whose berries define the summer with their scent and shine. I wish I could give you a massive bear hug for providing lovely healthy berries and for providing winter shelter for bees. However, you're so thorny that thanks will do this time!
Haskap berry / Blåbärstry
Is this just a big blueberry? Answer: No! This is a special type of berry that with its sweet-sour taste reminds of raspberries, blackcurrants and blueberries altogether! The beautiful yellow-white flowers produce a lot of nectar which becomes a real sugar-feast for hungry bees and bumblebees! This berry is nicknamed ”superfruit” because of its real high amounts of vitamins, calcium and antioxidants. It grows well even in cold weather which makes it perfect for a northern country like Sweden!
Currant / Vinbär
The second most cultivated berry in Sweden which is also loved by bees because of its early flowering in the spring! Yes, currants with their many color varieties are very popular in Sweden. Black, red, and white are the most common ones but even green, pink, yellow and brown currants can be found. A vitamin bomb that can be eaten raw or be used for juice, jam and jelly for hot summer days or cold winter nights, either way, it will DELIGHT you! Don’t forget, however, to show your plants some extra love by watering them and giving them the proper nutrition during June as it’s the key to gigantic, sweet and tasty currants!
Blackberry / Björnbär
These lovely berries with oh so thorny bushes are enjoyed by many! Polinating insects for example, are very happy since the flowers on the blackberry bush are filled to the brim with sweet nectar. A thiving blackberry bush can live and produce berries for 20 years or more. And since the blackberry has an uneven ripening, you can enjoy the berries for quite a long period, though mainly in august and september.
Goose Berry / Krusbär
These crispy berries are a classical touch in gardens all around Europe. They have a texture like cherry tomatoes, sweetness as tropical fruits and subtle sourness as lemons. What is special about them is that they are naturally high in pectin which means that you dont need jam-sugar when making jam, all you need is equal amount of sugar and berries!
Jerusalem artichoke / Jordärtskocka
This is one of the key species in our food forest! Its outstandingly delicious roots are super healthy and spread easily in the garden allowing us to harvest plenty of it! Above ground it fills the important role of providing food for insects and accelerating the transformation from lawn into forest soil with its capacity to grow a lot of green stems and leaves! This plant could and should tower the streets of the city!
Rhubarb / Rabarber
Believe it or not but your favourite pie-ingredient is actually a vegetable!! In the 1800-century it was eaten with lamb or raw with salt and peppar. Luckily we are not crazy like that so we use it to make delicious creams, juices and of course pies! On rainy days the big leafs can be used as umbrellas, that way a win-win situation arises when you get to pick your rhubarb without getting wet!
Grapes / Vindruvor
This heavenly fruit (botanically speaking; berries) that can be eaten raw, baked with or used in wine production has been around for 65 million years. It was first cultivated in Georgia roughly 8000 years ago. There are 90 species and 8000 varieties of grapes throughout the world. In our garden, they are great partners to nutrition-fixing elder trees. Planting and growing grapes means no wastes: the seeds are edible and are full of antioxidants, the leaves make up the main ingredient of Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and even naturally dried grapes, left in sunlight, gives us these sweet fruits, known as raisins. Can it get better than that?
Alder tree / Al
Why use metal sticks in your vineyard? After all, a metal stick only provides one service, namely stability. In the case of the vineyard, however, the Alder tree provides, not only stability but it fixes nitrogen which nourishes the soil and allows the grapes to access more vital nutrients. We just adore this love-story!
Horse radish / Pepparrot
Mmm, Horse radish, the wasabi of the Nordic countries.With its peppery and mustardlike taste, it is considered a great delicacy. It is rich in vitamin C and was in medieval times sometimes used to treat fevers. Also, it can counteract mold formation, which is very handy! Though remember! Horse radish can be rather tricky to get rid of once established in a garden, since it spreads very easily. So if you don't want an invasion in your garden, you better keep an eye on that horse(radish).
Salsify / Svartrot
Want a combo of artichoke, asparagus, and potato all in one? The answer is salsify, a root veggie that was planted by poor farmers as an alternative for asparagus, during the 18:th century! This delicate root vegetable gives off an enchanting and murky first expression with its black peel. But don’t let yourself be fooled by the looks! It is actually quite a nutty but neutral and versatile vegetable that can be combined with pretty much every meal, handled quite similar to a potato!
Hysop / Isop
Lovage / Libbsticka
People from the 16th century used this lovely herb to balance and strengthen their stomach, as a calming herb as well as for beauty reasons. Maybe you want to try that? Otherwise, you can just enjoy its amazing rampancy or lovely flavour which goes amazing with root veggies. A true favourite in the kitchen and an easy-going friend in the garden that doesn't need the best and most sunny spot you've got in order to thrive.
Good King Henry / Lungrot
A herbaceous perennial with many names, functions and historical records! The name Good King Henry was coined to distinguish the plant from another poisonous plant named Bad Henry (Mercurialis perennis)! English mercury, Lincolnshire spinach, all-good, poor-man’s asparagus and perennial goosefoot are the other names of this amazing plant! All parts besides the roots are edible and the roots have medicinal use. Some might say that this herb, together with the nettle, is the most nutritious vegetable we can grow in our climate! The small black seeds have the same use as quinoa, but to harvest those you need to skip eating the inflorescence, which is a bit of a challenge! Are you ready for a challenge?!!
Savory herb / Kyndel
Do you want to make a love potion? Treat a bee sting? Or maybe you have ran out of black pepper? Either way, this is the plant for you! It was called ”herb of love” by the Ancient Romans for its supposedly ”aphrodisiacic” properties and it is a characteristic ingredient of herbs de Provence. It has been used for centuries all over the world and so we could not resist having it here with us in the garden!
Mint / Mynta
Mint is that cool person that everyone loves in every gathering! I know, it’s usually frustrating, like, why mint? In fact, the menthol in mint has healing, cooling, anti-inflammatory, and even numbing properties hence the very broad usage of this herb. The ancient Greeks even bathed in mint, so before being jealous, think about how far you could go to be cooler than mint...Also, in the garden, mint is the herb that spreads the easiest through its quite aggressive root system (of course). It can create magical carpets of aroma, oh and it grows back every year. Take that!
Aralia Cordata Sun King / Sallatsaralia
Edible AND beautiful? Yes please! This perennial is mostly grown for its lovely lime-green foliage that shimmers in the evening sun but it is actually a real delicacy in Japan! The whole plant is edible, the shoots resemble the taste of asparagus and the fleshy roots are eaten as parsnip. This plant works wonders in woks and sallads!
Campanula Rapunculus / Rapunkelklocka
Spanish Chervil / Spansk körvel
Along with the jerusalem artichoke this amazing herb gives true volume to the food forest and is very iportant to transform the soil of the lawn into a living forest soil! It is also one of the earliest olants to flower, giving valuable food for hungry insect in spring. Oh and by the way, rhe whole plant is edible and truly delicious!
Lemon Balm / Citronmeliss
Few plants smell as lovely as this one! It is a great herb for the floor of the food forest not only for its tasty leaves but also because it realy wants to grow, which means it is great for covering the soil! Luckily the scent of the lemon balm triggers emotions of happiness and tranquility. So just pick a leaf and take sniff…
Sorrel / Ängssyra
Yet another wonderful perennial herb with tangy, citrusy flavor, Sorrel! This one with its oxalic acid has the power to protect itself from snails! However, despite the fact that we aren’t massive bi-pedal slogs, this compound can be toxic in large doses, eater be warned! In the past, people used it to preserve milk in Nordic countries, the root was used in creating a popular yellow dye and bread was made from the dried roots and seeds. Nowadays, it’s maybe easier to just eat it in a salad or combine it with other veggies for a delicious soup or sauce! AND do you also love to be able to harvest your plants for long periods of time? Then cut the outer leaves while harvesting the plant, in this way the plant continues to grow, easy peasy!
Stringy stonecrop / Löparfetblad
Stringy stonecrop, our adorable little perennial vegetable! This hidden gem is alive and thriving all year round, meaning you can harvest and eat it endlessly! It establishes itself easily, spreads nicely, and performs as a groundcover with adorable yellow flowers so it will leave both your garden and your tummy happy! Stringy stonecrop is mainly used in east-Asian cuisine for salads and kimchis, also delicious on a sandwich or just as is!
Sweetscented bedstraw / Myskmadra
We want to share a little secret with you… A Michelin star chef knows it and we know it… That this plant can be used as a sauce thickener!! Magic or not but we love it! Bees love it too but not because they are overly interested in sauces but because of the lovely strongly scented flowers! When the bees are happy we are happy!
Pale-leaf woodland sunflower / Strävsolros
Skirret / Sockerrot
A forgotten vegetable that tastes like carrot and parsnip but at the same time has its very own unique taste? Wow, how could it be forgotten?!!! We’re here to present to you, the sweetest of all roots, SKIRRET (or as we say in swedish, SOCKERROT!)
An easy-to-grow plant that likes sunny, somewhat-moist and porous soil and can be harvested in late autumn from plants that are older than two years. It is also easy to propagate, break off a root and plant in a new place, done!
The skirret as the main ingredient, in pies and grilled vegetable dishes is something you should try, and recently I was wondering if the skirret burger could be the new hit?
Sage / Salvia
Holy S..age! Many of us could swear by this amazing herb, once you have it, you won’t go back. Sage is called "Salvia officinalis" in Latin, which means recognized healing medicinal plant. This is partly because sage has many bactericidal substances! It has a powerful and strong taste and can, for example, be drunk as a refreshing tea or be used in cooking. BUT all the boring facts aside, have you ever felt frustrated and tried rubbing a sage bush and then smelling your hand? No? Yeah, It shows. Now relax your face muscles and go plant a sage. (PS. Also, we guarantee that your camera roll will be full of frosty sage bushes when winter comes around. DS.)
Comfrey Uplandicum / Uppländsk Vallört
Elm tree / Alm
A tree, which according to Old Norse mythology, the first woman, Embla, was created out of! Elm for us is a sad story with a happy ending, as our gigantic elm tree that provided us with shadow, spatial qualities and delicious seed capsules had to be taken down because of the elm disease. It was a tough period! But then a new resistant one arrived to bring us joy and a new home to insects and birds, our garden's residents! Once again we can sprinkle our salads with these nutty and tasty elm seeds! Elm seeds go especially great together with tomatoes! RECOMMENDED!
Marsh-mallow / Läkemalva
Not only is this plant beautiful and great for pollinators, every part of the plant from flower to root is edible! The roots are said to be especially tasty and if you wonder about the name… Itś true you can actually make marshmallows out of this Marshmallow! Do we need to say anything else?
Siberian chives / Sibirisk kantlök
Chives / Gräslök
Ah yes, the chives. Have not we all been there keeping one straw of chives sticking out of our mouth, slowly chewing it shorter and shorter? No? Well, anyway…Chives are one of the most widespread members of the onion family in the world. That might be because they are extremely easy to grow. Did you know by the way that chives contain a lot of nice minerals like iron, calcium and iodine? Well, then you now know a great way to boost your next meal!
Sand leek / Skogslök
Ahhh onion breath! Here’s a plant that will give you all sorts of onion breaths in one, yay! Sand leek is a wild leek, which is most apparent in the taste of the leaves of the plant. The onion (root) tastes like garlic, and the black sprouts in the inflorescence taste like a mix of all three! MiNd bLOwN. The plant is very decorative, like floating purple balls, that peek out quite early in the spring. Sand leek is delicious in soups and herb butters to mention a few.
Tree onion / Luftlök
Isn't onion one of the vegetables we use the most and in almost every food? So what could be better than a plant that produces more than one bulb at a time, both at the base of the plant and on the stems, and in addition to that, it can be harvested from early spring to late autumn? Tree onion is the plant I'm talking about! Such a genius plant as well, it self-propagates by folding its stem to the ground so that the bulbils get the chance to plant themselves. A perfect plant for our climate as well! Wow!
Wild garlic / Ramslök
If you have been lucky enough to find a spot where this spring beauty grows wild you can live like a king, feasting every night for a few weeks when it grows! Few things remind us more that wealth is not about money in an account or a stack of gold in castle, but rather about a deep understanding of the natural world and its beauty! This is why we plant the wild garlic, we all need to be reminded about true welth once in awhile…
Perennial Fennel / Bronsfänkål
OK, fennel is one of the plants that can divide families..groups….NATIONS! It raises the existential question: “Do you like licorice?” If no, please leave and don’t come back, promise we won’t come looking for you. This amazing aromatic plant grows pretty tall and flowy and tastes a mixture between licorice and aniseed. The leaves can be harvested all season, the stems are delicious in a barbeque and the seeds are a flavor bomb for any dish! In fact, fennel seeds are so fresh that they are served as candied after a meal in India, as a sweet but also a breath freshener! Fennel also has a medicinal history and can for instance be used as an expectorant. So you gotta’ pick sides and it’s obvious which the winning one is...