THE MODERN MINT BLOG
The final part of Dan Pearson’s list, to inspire you to hopefully plant a tree or two… we have so far seen his views on bulbs, perennials and grasses, but now we come to what he recommends we plant in the woodier genre!
I would love to plant some of these and use them as topiary, my own favourite style of gardening – which you can see more of here in The Guardian. The Laurus nobles he recommends planting is of course a brilliant plant for topiary and pruning, mostly because it reflects the light and grows back when pruned.
As for the trees he recommends, I love Stewartia, a much too rare plant for our gardens as it can be kept small and offers fantastic leaf colour in the Autumn. And of course, Malus hupehbensis is one of the great blossom trees for anywhere – garden or the wild.
Just for your information, if you don’t have space to plant a tree in your garden, don’t despair – we are planting trees in the Highlands, and you can add to our grove. Go here and donate £6 for a tree!
And do also check out this review of Dan Pearson’s excellent book ‘Spirit’.
Now then, onto the trees and shrubs!
Camellia sasanqua ‘Narumigata’
Chimonanthus praecox ‘Grandiflorus’
Hamamelis x Intermedia ‘Jelena’
Hydrangea aspera Kawakamii Group
Ilex x Koehneana ‘Chestnut Leaf’
Indigofera ‘Claret Cascade’
Laurus nobilis f. angustifolia
Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’
Sarcococca ruscifolia var. chinensis ‘Dragon Gate’
Salix purpurea ‘Nancy Saunders’
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’
Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’
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 …