THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Oct14

10 Ideas for Environment Friendly Gardening

Verbena bonariensis

Worried about the environment? Here are ten ideas to help you think about your gardening footprint and what you can do to help the planet!

1) Grow your own food and flowers. Asparagus, sweetcorn, peas… they all taste amazing when you can nibble them straight away. By choosing well, you can also have varieties that are far tastier than anything the supermarkets sell. Don’t be worried about the work involved either – by growing perennial vegetables and lots of fruit you don’t have to work as hard for a big bounty, as it will come back every year!

2) Don’t irrigate. We are writing this as the rain hammers down, just like it has all week. We now have a garden design business in Essex, which is a notoriously dry area of the UK – but we still don’t think you need to irrigate your plants. Let them finish flowering sooner than they would with a few good soaks, they will come back next year. As will the green in your lawn…

3) Right plant right place. This will help with the no irrigation idea – get your rosemary on the exposed, hot, shadeless bank then leave it alone. It will love those conditions and not grow as leggy and odd as it would in ‘better’ conditions.

4) Plant small. From seed (or seedball) if you can. Learn to be patient and let your garden mature the way it wants to – there really is somethign beautiful about turning a blank canvas into a heartwarming garden step by step by step…

5) Use the materials you already have. If you find some old metal in your garden, or bits of wood – why not use them as sculpture, or frames to grow your favourite plants up? No need to send them to landfill (it may feel like you’re making it someone else’s problem, but it won’t be eventually when there is knowhere to send it… or worse (!!!) taxes rise to cover the cost of recycling it….)

6) Buy less plants. Garden centres, like supermarkets, generally only give you what travels well and what looks great for the few weeks it is in flower. We know why this is – who wants to go to a shop on a Saturday afternoon and come home with something that is just a stick. But use a little imagination, have a little trust, and support those independent nurseries out there who can offer you something unusual (or at least, like idea 3, the right plant for you) so that it doesn’t finish flowering and then die that winter. You also don’t end up with thousands of plastic pots that no-one wants or knows what to do with…

7) Have a weedy lawn. What is wrong with a daisy or two? Or even a meadow…?

8) Compost. Not cooked food, but all of your other green waste. It will provide a wonderful environment for the bugs to live, and this then encourages birds who can come there to feed. Plus, you can never have enough compost, whether it is a rich manure for your vegetable patch or a leaf mould/sandy mix for your seeds.

9) Use less chemicals. Take a look in your shed – are all those boxes and tins necessary? You can even reduce the amount of chemicals you put on your lawn.

10) Plant trees. Because it is such a satisfying job. From the physicality of digging the hole to the moment, ten years down the line, when you look around and think – blimey, where has all the light gone from the garden! We love planting trees. Go, do it!

We hope this helps you with your efforts to be more in tune with your environment. Happy gardening!

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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