THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar16

From Bee Magnet To Babe Magnet

Yep, lovely Modern Minters, we are going to make this call – right now, in 2017, if you have a garden that helps the bees then that makes you sexy.

But how does that work? Can you really become a babe magnet just by encouraging bees to your garden?

Yes. Yes you can. As you probably know, we need bees.

They pollinate our tastiest food – think tomatoes, strawberries, apples… and there is a growing body of evidence that suggests bee pollinated food is healthier, tastier (because it has a better sugar to acid ratio) and keeps longer, meaning you get less waste when moving the food from field to plate.

Thinking this through, it may be that if we lose all the bees (and colonies have been in decline, suffering from the use of pesticides in the fields that grow our food and the loss of habitats for forage) then all may not be lost – sure we won’t have the tastiest of food, but we may be able to stimulate the economy with all the new jobs created hand pollinating our crops.

No-one will be out of work again!

Meadow for Bees
Forage for Bees

But as lovely as a job painting pollen onto flowers sounds (it isn’t when doing it on a huge scale, all day, every day) we don’t think that is really what the Government has in mind for stimulating the UK job market.

What they really need is to do all they can to encourage the bees so that our food is as healthy and easy to grow as possible.

Encouraging organic growing would be the best place to start, as would a reintroduction of wildflower meadows.

But as that isn’t likely to happen, what simple actions can you take to make your garden a magnet for bees?

Make Your Garden A Magnet For Bees

First of all, refrain from using insecticides, herbicides or pesticides. They all sound a lot like genocide, and that is exactly the affect they have on our bee population.

Secondly, plant a wide range of flowers for bees. The best ones have been researched by Rosi Rollings, of Rosy Bee. This photo below is of one of her star plant performers, Echium, photographed by Rosi herself in winter.

Yes, it looks like a weed, but it grows into a magnificent flower and is a total bee magnet.

Echium - a bee magnet

Other great plants for bees include the lovely daisy Helenium, the easy to grow Sedum and the fun Teucrium, which is an alternative to boxwood (if you suffer from box blight.)

Thirdly, plant these bee friendly flowers in blocks – it means the bees waste less energy going from nectar source to nectar source. The bees will also see this block of flowers far quicker, making it truly magnetic!

But what do we mean by planting flowers in blocks?

We mean planting something like this, a border designed by Piet Oudolf…

blocks become bee magnets

Vast numbers of flowers!

Lastly, plant organic bulbs. They are bee friendly!

By making these simple changes to your garden, you can provide a piece of land that is an absolute magnet for bees.

And in our eyes, someone who can attract the bees and help arrest their decline is attractive in far more ways – they show they have empathy for other creatures, are intelligent enough to know a bit about the world, they get out of their seats and actually do something and, of course, they grow so many flowers the world looks a better place.

If that isn’t attractive, if those aren’t values that we can admire in someone, then we don’t know what is.

Good luck with turning your garden into a bee magnet – and yourselves into a babe magnet!

Nov13

Learn To Clip Topiary Workshop 2020

topiary artists

I am running a topiary workshop in 2020 with the wonderful topiary artist Charlotte Molesworth at her spectacular topiary garden in Kent. This is a topiary workshop where you will learn to clip, so be prepared to do some cutting. We start with a tour of the garden, which Charlotte and her husband Donald have been cultivating for 34 years. It is organic, full of wildlife and has the most extraordinary pruned shapes made from yew and boxwood. You can see more photos of the garden in an article in the Guardian here: Topiary Garden In Kent What Else Will …

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Oct09

Hardy Plant Society Middlesex Talk Notes

On Monday night I gave a talk to the Hardy Plant Society Middlesex. Below are a few links for further information based on some of the ideas discussed in the talk: Real Seeds – a fantastic supplier of fruit and vegetable seeds for growers. Boxwood Caterpillar Advice – from the European Boxwood & Topiary Society. I will also write a little companion piece this winter with more information and some topiary techniques, so watch out for that on this website. Boxwood Lure & Nematodes – my preferred option for dealing with the caterpillar. Discount code for 10% off is EBTSBOX29GBZ …

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