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?

Mar15

Topiary Provocation For Garden Designers

snow topiary

I am running a ‘Topiary Provocation’ for garden designers, via Zoom, over the next few weeks. Dates are: Tuesday 23rd March, 10am Wednesday 24th March 7.30pm Thursday 8th April, 7.30pm The ‘provocation’ is for garden designers anywhere in the world, is free to join and will last about 45 minutes. Places are limited to 12 per session, as I want to make sure we can share ideas about topiary and how it can be used (and managed) in a modern garden – especially if skill level and maintenance time is low. I hope that I can provoke a discussion around …

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Mar15

Talk By The Team At Waltham Place

waltham place

A talk by the team at Waltham Place is being given on April 14th 2021, at 2.15pm. Tickets are free and it is via Zoom. Get Your Free Ticket I am hosting, the talk is set up by the European Boxwood & Topiary Society and it promises to be an extraordinary hour looking at one of my absolute favourite gardens of all time. (Designed by one of my favourite garden writer’s….) Brilliant topiary and a philosophy of gardening that puts wildlife first, I absolutely cannot wait for this talk… do join in and book your free ticket. Get A Waltham …

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Mar15

Alternatives To Boxwood For Hedges

organic topiary blob

Alternatives to boxwood are hard to come by – nothing has the small, easy to clip, reflective leaf of a boxwood shrub. But as we reach April and the boxwood caterpillar begins to wake up, hungry to defoliate our boxwood topiaries and hedges, you may wonder what plant you can use as a replacement in the garden should the worst happen – and the caterpillar destroys all! (For more information on the boxwood caterpillar, visit the European Boxwood & Topiary Society website. Their research and hard work has meant all is not lost in the fight to rid the UK …

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