The office allotment has made me much more aware to the possibilities of plants regarded as exotic in the UK. And this has, I admit, been boosted by my Noni germination success. I say success, but mean fluke. The other day I found a site that explained how to germinate Noni (or Morinda citrifolia) . If I had read it before I’d tried to grow the seed then there’s no-way I’d have bothered.

My awareness of the plant was sparked by mention of it on a cookery programme and because of the same source I’m looking into growing various members of the ginger family like Galangal and Turmeric.

Consequently, these days, I tend to fall on food programmes and articles on distant lands, and so was a bit disappointed by Allegra McEverdy’s article in last Saturday’s paper about “China’s tastiest region”. Not only was it rather flat and uninspiring, but it didn’t give me any hot leads for exotic edibles I might think about growing. In truth it did mention Taro root (Colcasia) which is something I had recently put on the list of potential additions to the OA.

Incidentally, I’ve found that food programmes on the remoter satellite channels such as Travel & Living and Travel Channel are a good source (no pun intended) of potential plants. There was a good one last weekend from Brazil which included Caju fruit, Acerola fruit, Vinagriera (Red Sorrel) and Cariru (waterleaf). Not only that –  they tend to be more about the food and much less about the presenter than the UK variety.

In a similar vein I bought a book this week in the local Oxfam bookshop “Uncommon fruits for every garden”. It’s published by Timber Press who put out great books. As expected there were all sorts of new & interesting things, like the Raisin tree, Shipova, Jujube, Kaki and Che, but I was a little open-mouthed at a section on currants in the middle! And then there was the bit on gooseberries!

But then I guess just as Shatkura are unusual and exciting to me there must be parts of the globe where they’ve never come across a goosegog.

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