In his book, The Flowerpot Forager, author Stuart Ovenden’s introduces the topic of growing wild plants in pots for culinary use and then gives plant profiles and recipes for 30 suitable plants available in England. In his introduction, he points out that foraging is becoming more popular and the demand for such produce by restaurants is increasing as people’s palettes become sensitive to new and interesting textures and flavors. Unfortunately, says Ovenden, many people are restricted in their foraging by geographic considerations but growing the plants in pots in one’s own garden can overcome this problem. In addition, the wild plants attract wildlife which increases the biodiversity of the area and thereby promotes a healthier environment.

The plant profiles with their recipes form the bulk of the text and include plants from common elder to marsh samphire and lesser burdock. Each entry includes a picture of the plant, its common name, usually its Botanic name, a brief description, directions for planting and growing, culinary uses, wildlife benefits, and cautions regarding consumption. One or more recipes follow with list of ingredients, servings, and step by step directions. Some of the most interesting recipes are meadowsweet custard tart, water mint mojito, and pigeon and chickweed tagliata.

The idea of growing wild plants in pots in the garden for culinary use is intriguing and Ovenden ‘s book is a good place for potential pot foragers to start, The text is very readable and the author shares his knowledge as well as his experiences about flowerpot foraging. My one concern is the absence of botanic names for some of the plants since common names are notoriously misleading so can lead to confusion. In addition, the author is English and probably does not use the same common names for some plants as Americans do, thus acerbating the problem even more. Ovenden’s idea of flowerpot foraging, however, is good and many of his suggestions could be used for growing many wild plants in the US.

To buy The Flowerpot Forager from Amazon, click here.

By Karen