THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Bring on spring, we hear you cry! As the light of the day lessens and we head, inexorably, unto the darkness of autumn and winter….
What a dramatic cry!
Garden Work in the Autumn
But we do worry, at this time of year, because the days get so much shorter and working outside becomes a race against the clock. Often the work is harder at this time of year, because we are digging up and dividing perennials for replanting in a better position, digging up and tracing the roots of brambles or bindweed, digging up and harvesting the subterranean vegetables – so much digging to do!
Then for a break, we stand up straight and rake leaves into piles. Then bend again, to pick them up and take them to the compost….
The work is almost a rage against the dying of the light, a sweaty maelstrom of preparation for… winter? No. It is not a preparation for winter. It is a preparation for spring.
So goes the life of the garden lover….
How Else Can You Prepare for Spring?
There is yet one more job that is important to do – and that is bulb planting.
If you don’t get your spring bulbs in the ground (to the correct depth, of course) then how can you expect to have a light and wonderful garden come March and April? Yes, there are other plants in the garden that can thrill, those lovely woodland plants like primroses for example, but to make the garden really special it will need daffodils, snowdrops, crocus and tulips. For us, especially tulips….
Don’t be stingy when you buy bulbs, any bulbs. Advice we stole from the wonderful garden designer Dan Pearson is to add a zero to the number you think you need. Yes, that might make it sound scary. Understood. But can you imagine how the garden will sing when spring arrives with that many tulips poking their stems up from the borders and pots?
Tulips are divas, for sure, and probably won’t flower as well again the next year. With that in mind, when they have finished flowering you can just pull them out and plant them in a bit of ground you don’t do much with, a wild patch at the bottom of the garden.
That way, if they do come up and flower, you get a little bonus of colour.
Which tulips you ask? Now, that really is easy to answer….
Organically grown bulbs is a must, to start with. You know why they should be organically grown already, I’m sure – we have written about bee friendly bulbs for a couple of years now.
But for which tulips you can light up your garden with next spring, our catalogue of bulbs should give you plenty to inspire you…
I compiled a list of books using Bookshop, a new online shop to rival Amazon. I like it because it is supporting independent bookshops, helping them out by giving them an audience whilst their own physical premises are closed. The books I’ve listed are not all about gardening, but worth a look through and an order anyway as they are wonderful and have seen me through lockdown – and I hope they bring you some joy too! Check out the books I recommend here.
Hedge laying is something I’ve been meaning to try for a long time, a type of pruning that can bring huge benefits to wildlife as well as looking amazing. So last year I went down to Dorset/the edge of Devon, to spend a day learning to lay a hedge. Hedge laying is a way of building a stock proof fence. It does take time, and some practical and physical skill, but once you get the hang of it I would think developing your instinct about what to prune and where to lay the branches is where the true proficiency arises… …
Fernando Caruncho is a garden designer from Madrid. I am always inspired by his work – his clean lines, ‘green architecture’, sense of proportion, balance and minimal plant palette. This seems to bring out the atmosphere of the garden, the space, intensifying its… spirit. I have written about him a lot – here, for example… and here. But recently I have discovered a few more interviews with him, so thought I would link to his words as he always has something interesting to say, the opposite of prosaic. This first interview from the Society of Garden Designers will give you …