THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Struggling to find a gift that is actually decent, for the gardener or garden lover in your life?
Here are some ideas that, I hope, tap into what a gardener really will appreciate… rather than the tut you might get in M & S (I’m looking with angry, disappointed eyes at you, M & S copper plated trowel that you can purchase for not much money that looks good but lasts for no time and is a pile of dog mess to use…. to put it lightly….)
- Our tools – snips, secateurs, Diggy Diggy trowel, slug-repellant trowel, shears. Okay, okay – now we’ve got that over with. We sell stuff we stand by, that we use in the garden. We’re done now ok? You can carry on down the list and find something else that we don’t have a hand in on this website.
- Boots – got to have a good pair of boots in the garden. We wear these from Portuguese Treasures. The working boot. Soles are recycled from old car tyres. This wonderful nod towards recycling something useful to lower the carbon footprint is offset somewhat by the plane journey they send the boots on to reach you in the UK. But it is a start…. and the boots will last you.
- Books – Henk Gerritsen wrote ‘Essay On Gardening’ and it is a masterpiece. Tough to get hold of though, admittedly. We also love this one by Barn The Spoon, or this book about ‘Late Summer Flowers’ by the wonderful nurserywoman Marina Christopher. You can also try ‘Feral’ by George Monbiot.
- Rapanui shirts – organic cotton. Sustainable fashion is good for the planet, these shirts are thick and well-made. Perfect for the garden.
- Trees For Life – give the gift of a future.
- Truffle Hunting In Dorset – this one is a little bit special! Truffle hunting with dogs, here in the UK. Bit more expensive, but hey, make a weekend of it!
- Organic wine – we recommend… drinking. =)
- Riverford Organic Vegetable Box – if you don’t have time or space to grow all your own vegetables, then get a delivery every week. We love Riverford and we know that by eating organic food, we are also supporting a landscape that enhances life.
- Trip to a brilliant nursery – like this one, Marchant’s Hardy Plants, perhaps in the New Year when you can enjoy their Snowdrop Day.
- Bokashi – oh? You don’t know Bokashi? Me either, at least, I’ve never tried it yet. But I do know people who love to Bokashi their food waste and it all looks good. You basically pickle your leftover dinner and unused vegetables, then chuck it on the garden where it helps improve the soil. Something that will be massive in years to come. We hope.
So there you go, ten ideas for Christmas presents for the gardener in your life. (And as a bonus, try this if you know a beekeeper…. Hive Tool for Beekeepers.)
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 …
Kites and Strings is a podcast about creativity, hosted by US-based Stephen Ploum and Catherine Chinnock. Back in March they asked me to come onto their podcast and talk about topiary, my past writing plays, the stand-up I did and how creativity can fit into your life. The Kites and Strings podcast was great fun and Stephen and Catherine are fantastic hosts. Listening back today I am surprised by some of the ideas I talked about (somehow I even started to describe a future where I run a ‘School of Creativity’ by the sea…. where did that come from?!) but it …
Robinia is often forgotten – by me, actually! – when thinking of plants for topiary. But when I work on it I do love it, brittle and soft as the wood is if you climb into it. But that danger of snapping a branch with a heavy step and falling out of the tree aside, I love it for the dappled light it allows into the garden space. Robinia Near The Sea Below is a Robinia I have gently clipped over the last few years, down near Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. The tree was large when I arrived, although it is …