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…
Brought By Bike is an excellent website I found last month, where businesses offer their services by (of course) bicycle. Modern Mint and my topiary work is now live on the site offering my topiary services, via bike, to the following two postcodes – CM1 CM2 Now I can imagine I will need to borrow a ladder should anyone have a larger shrub, but most town gardens in the Chelmsford area have a need not just for privacy but to let light into the house… so a balance must be struck when shaping hedges and shrubs to cover both needs. …
Transforming Topiary – a video made for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society by Charlotte Molesworth and I, in her garden. We take a dog topiary and work out how to update it, turning it into a bird. Worth a watch I think, and hopefully useful to you! You can see more of my clipping on the topiary page. Or read my Spring 2021 Topiary Provocation here.
Phillyrea is one of my favourite plants for topiary. I have been using it for quite a few years as a specimen shrub, mostly due to the fact it clips well and has a tough habit – all good characteristics for a topiary plant. It also has a reputation for being an excellent nectar source for bees… Read more about Phillyrea here. Mentioning this to Malcolm Thicke, a market garden historian and writer, he sent me a some photos of topiary and phillyrea mentioned by John Worlidge in Systema Horticulturae from 1682…. incredible! He also mentioned to me that in …