THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jun11

Azara – Another Great Shrub For Bees

We had never heard of nor come across Azara until this week, when we were asked to prune one that had turned into a small tree.

Not an elegant shrub, even when pruned hard it still looked as if it wasn’t sure what size it was really supposed to be – large shrub or a small tree…?  Unsure why it had been planted until told, with no doubts whatsoever, it happens to have flowers that the bees ABSOLUTELY ADORE!

Aah, so then…. Azara is a plant worth planting.

Because of its slight lack of grace, perhaps substitute it in place of a Forsythia in the garden – tucked away somewhere down the bottom, in a corner. It will be better value for the honeybee, have a better leaf too, and instead of being looked down upon by garden snobs the way Forsythia is, you can say to them – “oh, don’t you know this shrub? Really? You don’t know this one? Oh dear….”

Azara at the bottom of your garden will give you the gardening bragging rights amongst your neighbours or fellow garden club members, because they may well not know it either. (Sadly though, being that patronising to someone will make you look like a pleb too….)

Planting Azara will also get you in with your local beekeepers, who will appreciate what you are doing for the honeybee. Getting in with a beekeeper is recommended, as pots of honey may end up coming your way for being such a lovely, bee friendly gardener.

That is not to be sniffed at!

Ursula Buchan tells us how to grow Azara here. It is dead easy.

We have a few other shrubs you might like to try in your garden, that will definitely help the bees – escallonia is one, phillyrea another.

Cotoneaster is one more shrub that is very good at looking after itself, and adored by the bees….

Finally, have some ground elder that is flowering at the moment? We have spotted honeybees on this pernicious weed. So maybe it is not all bad?

Jul29

Organic Bulbs – A Simple Way To Help The Honeybee

This is the third year we have been selling Organic Bulbs here at Modern Mint.   We have always been a fan of using daffodils, tulips and crocus to provide colour to the garden early in the year, but it was only upon reading research done by the ‘Earth Friendly Gardener’ John Walker that we realised we may have been causing problems. Organic Bulbs Are Better For Bees It turns out that bulbs grown with chemicals can store the poison in the heart of the bulb. When the variety you have chosen pushes its stem up through the cold, spring …

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Jul21

Making & Maintaining Topiary

Topiary Service Modern Mint now offers a topiary service. So if you get stuck with an old tree or hedge that you aren’t sure what to do with – but know you don’t want to cut it down – then contact us and we will give you a helping hand.   This bay tree use to be an overgrown mess, with no real presence. It felt unloved, unnecessary and out of place, taking up space right by the path as you enter the back garden. We lifted the bottom branches to show off the trunks, reduced the height and width and …

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Jul17

Ivo Graham

Ivo Graham is a comedian. We met him, and some of his family, last year at a Christmas Fair. He bought a gift for his father (a log gobbler, which he thought his dad would find funny….) and in the process of buying it also supported the charity the Christmas Fair was raising money for. He was a lovely chap and laughed a lot. We like that in our customers….! Then lo and behold, here he is, providing 30 minutes of funny on the BBC – check it out: Ivo Graham – Live from the BBC He will also be …

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