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…
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 …