THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Jul22

Cut Flower Garden

Cut Flowers

If you don’t want to grow veg, grow flowers. A cut flower garden is a brilliant way to use your bit of the world.

This is not a post about how to set it up – to do that, read these books…

The Cutting Garden: Growing and Arranging Garden Flowers

The Cut Flower Patch: Grow your own cut flowers all year round

Cut Flower Garden

Nor is this a rant about the cut flower industry (no need to rant, just read this book by Amy Stewart Gilding the Lily: Inside the Cut Flower Industry it is a well-researched, readable and informative book that asks questions and then leaves you to answer them…)

This is a blog about using the land you have in a way that might just thrill you.

(For those of you just starting out and in need of tools and plants, the advert below takes you to the best source for beginners – the Sarah Raven website. They also normally have a sale on, so make use of it!)

Like this client cut flower garden,  growing your own blooms is a beautiful job.

What makes it beautiful is that it is not easy. You are required to think logically (if I plant this now, here, I can harvest then, and replace it with this…) and creatively (I don’t have the space for that much stock, unless… unless I grow them in gutters pinned to the wall…) and, as with anything rewarding, you must be able to balance the two extremes.

Going gung-ho is fine, but nuance, subtlety and thinking smart will lead you to inspiration.

It’s not just mental but physical too. A great benefit of growing your own flowers is that you get exercise. This is not exercise for competition (who can be faster, stronger, bendier, tougher.) This is not shoddy, ‘I’m running on a treadmill with the aircon on’ exercise, but legitimate and worthwhile movement that stretches and strengthens your muscles.

It is exercising for health.

The final great reason for having a cut flower garden is that you become a creator. You are weaving together a number of different materials and turning them into somethng even more valuable. That is a fantastic way to spend your time.

Think more widely (nationally, at least) and imagine if every household in the country had a cut flower garden. That a view of the UK from the sky would be a picture of highly productive, intensely flower packed gardens. A bee haven and a butterfly paradise? Of course.

It is a job that makes you an artist, a maker of gifts.

You may not get rich from working your own cut flower garden (well, you might if you try these 9 ideas), but you will be the richer for it.

(Don’t forget, check out the books above for more advice on the actual doing, or visit the Sarah Raven website by clicking the logo below for step by step guides…!)

Apr28

Phillyrea From 1682

Worlidge Phillyrea

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 …

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Apr27

Kites And Strings Podcast – Topiary In The Garden

kites and strings podcast

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 …

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Apr27

Robinia – Pruning A Beautiful Tree For Small Gardens

topiary Robinia

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 …

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