THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Now we live and work in Essex we are looking for interesting people who grow cut flowers.
Because we love fresh, local flowers. And when you grow your own, or someone you know nearby is growing cut flowers, you will normally be able to get a more exciting variety.
It was only when we started growing our own flowers for the vase that we realised how much better they are than the ones you get in the supermarket. Call us a snob (you’re a snob!) but now, when we see men taking out of season roses home on Valentine’s Day, we cringe… perfect roses in February are not a romantic gesture, they are at odds with the seasons.
Talking of seasons, we visited Japan last Autumn to learn about their gardens. We saw examples of Ikebana (The Way of Flowers) like this arrangement in a temple in Kyoto. Note the choice of plants used – all in season. Believe us, these plants matched the skies outside, and grounded us quite definitely in the time of year. (Do check out this short post we wrote about Japanese gardens, as it includes the most incredible picture of a Chrysanthemum – mind-blowing!)
But rather than use this post to tell you how to grow cut flowers, we wanted to see what we could grow as cut flowers here in Essex. It is, after all, a hot dry county and presents different conditions to the cut flower grower than Hampshire did.
(If you want to know more detail on how to grow cut flowers, then go to the doyen of all that is ‘grow-your-own’ Sarah Raven. Her website has lots of advice. Louise Curley has also written a very useful book on growing cut flowers. You can find it on Amazon here: The Cut Flower Patch: Grow your own cut flowers all year round.)
We like to be frugal with water. So growing cut flowers in Essex may be difficult unless we adapt to the conditions. To us, this means growing…
Grasses like Stipa gigantea
Are you starting to see a trend here? Lots of Meditteranean plants? Lots of foliage?
Foliage is one of the ideas we wrote about as good to grow if you have a Cut Flower Business. We provided a lot of beech, which at this time of year has great character and provides an interesting texture to an arrangement.
If growing cut flowers, in Essex or anywhere else, do plant beech as a hedge around your cut flower patch!
There has been a boom in growing your own food in the last few years. We hope this continues. But don’t forget that flowers, grown purely to make your heart leap, are every bit as important. As Arkad said in The Richest Man in Babylon…
“No man’s family can fully enjoy life unless they do have a plot of ground wherein children can play in the clean earth and where the wife may raise not only blossoms but good rich herbs to feed her family.”
We like that…
Good luck with your flower growing, and we hope these plants, that we would be using if we were to grow cut flowers in Essex, are a useful guiding point for you!
Guanock House needs a trainee topiary artist! Some of you may know it as the first home and garden of designer Arne Maynard, but is now owned and maintained by Michael Coleman and his wife Michelle. They offer meditation workshops and retreats there and it is as beautiful a house and garden as you could wish to visit. They called me in last Autumn to help shape up some of the topiary as it was all getting out of hand, but what it really needs is someone with a steady hand and lots of patience to take over the clipping …
Here are some photos of work I have been doing at the garden of Charlotte Molesworth in Kent. Snow and ice brings out the depth of the different planes and angles carved into the boxwood. A garden has to look beautiful in winter – and topiary (green architecture) helps do that! For more topiary pictures, click here.
How To Use Topiary In The Garden is my new talk, which I first gave last year via Zoom for the European Boxwood And Topiary Society. Returning to Zoom again, there are two dates available to see and hear the talk: March 16th – Book your ticket here April 6th – Book your ticket here The talk is great fun, perfect for keen gardeners or people who want to know how to improve their garden with hedges and architectural plants. How To Use Topiary In The Garden looks at how to move away from the idea topiary is twee or old-fashioned, …