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 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 …
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 …
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 …