The A to Z of TV Gardening – Letter G: Carol Kirkwood takes an alphabetical journey through the world of gardening, getting inspiration and advice from some of the BBC’s most popular garden presenters and programmes.
In this episode, she is exploring subjects that all begin with the letter G: Garlic, Gooseberries, Geraniums.
The A to Z of TV Gardening – Letter G
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and Chinese onion. Garlic is native to Central Asia and northeastern Iran, and has long been a common seasoning worldwide, with a history of several thousand years of human consumption and use. It was known to ancient Egyptians, and has been used both as a food flavoring and as a traditional medicine. In Ancient Rome, it was “much used for food among the poor”. China produces some 80% of the world’s supply of garlic.
Allium sativum grows in the wild in areas where it has become naturalized. The “wild garlic”, “crow garlic”, and “field garlic” of Britain are members of the species Allium ursinum, Allium vineale, and Allium oleraceum, respectively. Identification of the wild progenitor of common garlic is difficult, due to the sterility of its many cultivars which may all be descended from the species Allium longicuspis, which grows wild in central and southwestern Asia. There are at least 120 cultivars originating from Central Asia, making it the main center of garlic biodiversity.
The gooseberry, with scientific names Ribes uva-crispa (and syn. Ribes grossularia), is a species of Ribes (which also includes the currants). It is native to Europe, the Caucasus and northern Africa. The species is also sparingly naturalized in scattered locations in North America. Gooseberry bushes produce an edible fruit and are grown on both a commercial and domestic basis. Its native distribution is unclear, since it may have escaped from cultivation and become naturalized. For example, in Britain, some sources consider it to be a native, others to be an introduction.
Geranium is a genus of 422 species of flowering annual, biennial, and perennial plants that are commonly known as the cranesbills. They are found throughout the temperate regions of the world and the mountains of the tropics, but mostly in the eastern part of the Mediterranean region.