THE MODERN MINT BLOG
For those of you asking where we buy our seed, we have put together a list of seed houses for you – so you too can sow a meadow.
At Modern Mint we are finding more and more that instead of supplying our clients with mature plants they want us to put in something smaller, or even grow from seed. Perhaps it is a design trend? Or maybe a cost saver – after all, when you grow from seed you are not paying the nurserywoman for years of her time…
It does have its pitfalls though – seeds must be irrigated so they germinate, seedbeds must be sterile or the plants you want may be crowded out by those you don’t, and cats and foxes tend to scratch around in the soil you have just sown.
But if you can bypass these potential hazards growing plants from seed will give you a buzz – almost daily you will watch your plant get bigger and marvel at how it got to that size (and strength – sowing plants in situ certainly seems to make plants tougher than ones that are taken from a pot and added into the border!)
For a fun way of getting children to garden, or just a low-maintenance option for you, try this product from our shop known as Seedballs…
They are a mix of seeds and compost (with a little bit of chilli powder to stop the birds pecking the seeds) and can just be cast onto bare soil and left alone. The ball gives the seeds inside a safe place to germinate, meaning you can do away with all the seed trays and pots for pricking out normally associated with growing from seed. The idea for Seedballs was made popular by Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka in The One-Straw Revolution (New York Review Books Classics).
You can find a recipe for your own seedballs in Josie Jeffery’s short little book Seedbombs…
Our Favourite Places To Get Seeds
Sarah Raven (for growing cut flowers especially!)
Real Seeds (for all things vegetable…)
The Big Four UK Seed Houses
Thompson & Morgan
Essex Based Seed Companies
English Sweet Peas
Popular Places To Get Seeds
Special Plant Nursery
Heritage Seed Library
Other Seed Houses and Suppliers (including those in the USA)
Eagle Sweet Peas
Territorial Seed Company
Seeds of Italy
For lovely things to store all the seeds in you are about to buy, try Garden Trading – have a good look around their website too as they often have a sale on.
We hope you are inspired to try growing seed from one of these fantastic suppliers, it really is worth doing! And for more help and advice on how to grow from seed, we have put together a list of useful books below, all available from Amazon…
Making a new topiary out of the large, dull facade of a Taxus blob… My work was to change it up from a ‘jelly drop’ shape and give it texture, open it out and let the light through, and make it a sculptural feature in the background of the garden in summer… yet a major part of the garden in winter. A few more years before it becomes something special, but there was far more leaf and growth inside the plant than I thought and so it will not take too long for it to gain in character and become …
Two weeks ago I was invited to teach topiary at the garden of Griselda Kerr, the author of The Apprehensive Gardener. I love teaching and sharing skills, but I was placed on the spot in the afternoon and asked to show how I would make a new topiary from an existing shrub. So below is a speeded-up video of me creating a cloud-pruned topiary from an old boxwood tree. I particularly love the ending when the class get involved….! See the video here. One hour was all it took, and though it needed a little tidying-up, it was made by …
Charlotte Molesworth, my topiary mentor, and I are running our popular topiary workshop again in 2022. You can email me for details – or go here for information, your ticket and to find out about dates. Book A Spot On A Topiary Workshop, September 2022