THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Aug15

Have You Tried A Cycling Gardener?

The idea of a cycling gardener keeps cropping up in our thinking here at Modern Mint, as we would like to explore more ‘green’ avenues in the landscape industry. Is this a better way to get to work than driving around in a van – especially in a city?

Cycling Shorts
Perfect for cycling, too hot for gardening?

If you google ‘cycling gardener’ there are a number of people out there who are already doing it. They all seem pretty happy too! We even found a courier company in Brighton who do all of their work on bikes, and in London you can find a florist who brings people flowers on two wheels, with her dog alongside her.

Other than the positives of reducing your carbon footprint and getting exceptionally fit, being a cycling gardener also means you have got to do the best job you possibly can, everyday. You really do have to care for your work, because being so local word will quickly spread if you don’t care about your job. We love this enforced restriction – that it is hard to fly by night when all you have is pedal power.

What else is unique about being a cycling gardener?

1) You will probably only work within 3 miles.

2) Power tools are likely to be out. So, with no breaking down there is no having to stop to fix things… and you don’t need ear defenders, hurray!

3) Organic is probably the way to go.

4) Minimal tools. Or even use a clients?

5) You will develop a garden over a long time.

6) You will likely supply seeds and nurture them to grow, rather than mature plants.

7) You will have to compost waste on-site.

8) You’ll source other products locally too?

9) You will probably want to stay in a garden longer as time and energy taken between jobs may be longer – at least 4 hours, if not a full day?

10) You can leverage other businesses to deliver for you or pick things up – say, a compost delivery?

The Brighton Cycling Gardener has a useful website and lists his kit on there. But briefly he uses a trailer base and hitch from Carry Freedom. A storage trunk of L 97 x W 50 x H 51cm – make it waterproof. Hand tools, spade, fork, shears, pruning saw, secateurs, a trug, leaf rake, patio brush and scraper, folding ladder and even a lawnmower…

We would probably substitute a hessian cloth for the trug (though the trug would be useful for watering) and an Azada instead of fork and spade.

Or, if we were close to a client already, we could of course just get a really nice wheelbarrow?

Please do contact us if you are or have ever used a cycling gardener. We love the idea and hope to test some ‘green’ ideas like this soon!

Jun10

Brought By Bike – Topiary Making

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. …

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May10

Transforming Topiary

topiary transforming

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.

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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